How Long After A Personal Injury Can I Claim Compensation?
Posted on 27th May 2020
As you maybe aware a personal injury claim is a legal claim for compensation following personal injury, harm, illness or condition. Although before considering whether a personal injury claim will be successful, your Personal Injury Solicitor should explain the limitation period.
What is a limitation period?
The time limit for making a claim is usually referred to as the “limitation period” this is a fixed period of time during which a legal claim should be brought before the Court. The limitation periods for personal injury are set out within the S.11 of the Limitation Act 1980 generally if a claim is not started within the limitation period prescribed by the Act then the claim cannot be actioned.
What is a limitation period?
Limitation periods are useful public guidelines which assist in providing certainty to the potential parties involved in the claim.
Usually, after a personal injury you will have three years to bring a personal injury claim. So, you will often hear our Personal Injury Solicitors in Preston saying that the limitation period is three years. The essentially means that claims must be commenced in the courts within three years from the date on which the injuries were caused or three years from the date of knowledge. In most instances you will know if you have suffered a personal injury, for example, usually you would know if you were involved in a Road Traffic Accident however what if you did not know you were injured?
What is the “date of knowledge”?
It is possible for a person not to know that they have suffered an injury, for example, if you were a builder who was subjected to working with asbestos and years later you discover that you have developed mesothelioma and asbestosis as a result of that work.
According to the Limitation Act, the date of knowledge is the actual date that the claimant became aware of the following:
- The fact that the injury in question is significant
- The fact that the injury is directly attributable to the negligent acts or omissions, or breach of duty of the other part and
- The identity of the defendant
You will need to take medical advice as to what may have caused your condition and when. The Courts will consider your case on its own merits and therefore they will look at any information that you may reasonably have been expected to discover or determine. The Courts will be looking for you to show when you first had knowledge of the act or omission which you believe has caused the injury or condition.
Are there any exceptions to the limitation period?
Where children have suffered harm or personal injury, the limitation period will not start until a child’s eighteenth birthday so even if you suffered an injury whilst you were being born, you have until the age of 21 to claim compensation. The reason for this exception is crucial in allowing time for the true extent of an injury to a child be known, for example a personal injury during child birth could take several years to manifest or indeed take many years before a child is fully recovered.
Individuals being treated under the Mental Health Act 1983
Those who are rendered of unsound mind as a result of the accident or incidence have an extended time in which to bring their claim. Indeed, the limitation period will not start to run until they have recovered from their mental disability or regained their mental capacity.
Can you claim if the individual has died following an accident?
Yes, and if the individual passes within the three-year limitation period, then the period is extended to allow the claimant’s estate to claim on their behalf.
The recent appeal case of Gregory v HK Haynes Ltd 2020 saw the successful appeal of case which requested the Courts to exercise discretion. Section 33 of the Limitation Act allows the Courts to consider exercising discretion to extend the three year limitation period, whilst this is rare, if the Court is satisfied that there is very good reason to do so they will extend the period.
In practice best to claim as early as possible whilst the evidence is still fresh. To discuss you claim contact our Personal Injury Solicitors by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01995 602 129.
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