Limitation In The Time Of Covid-19
Posted on 27th March 2020
With the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lock down intensifying, people have been finding it more difficult to access their solicitors and, with working from home now common across the board, delays are less of a problem than missing of key deadlines such as Limitation dates. MG Legal, your solicitors in Garstang, have been watching this with keen interest as we want to ensure our clients have peace of mind knowing that their claim is safe, regardless of the disruption likely to continue for some time to come.
What is Limitation?
The Limitation Act 1980 covers pretty much all Civil Claims in England and Wales. Personal Injury claims must be concluded or brought into the Court process within three years and all non-Personal Injury claims have a six-year limit. There are a few exceptions which have shorter Limitation periods, such as under the Athens Convention For Injury At Sea which is capped at two years.
If your claim is settled, as most are, within three years, then all’s well and the claim is done and dusted. If not, it is vital that the Court is in receipt of a properly completed N1 Claim Form and the appropriate Issue Fee before the third anniversary of the date of negligence or, if it is later, the date of knowledge of the negligence giving rise to the claim.
The reason this limit was set was to ensure claims were brought within a reasonable time frame and to stop claims being brought to the surface years and sometimes decades later, when verifying both sides versions of events was so much more difficult.
What happens if Limitation is missed?
In most cases, this means that your claim automatically fails. You can make an Application to the Court to have the claim reinstated, which will cost money you will likely not see again. To convince a District Judge that your claim should be allowed and reinstated, you will need to have a very good reason for having missed the date of Limitation. The Court will not accept any excuse and so it would take some kind of significant life-changing event to stand a good chance of being successful.
This is why it is absolutely vital that the date is not missed and that you do not put off seeing a solicitor, like MG Legal, your solicitors in Garstang, about your claim. It takes time to take instruction from a client, look into a claim and ideally, to have the claim presented to the fault party and receive their response before the Court process commences.
What has been agreed?
Currently, an agreement has been reached that all Limitation dates have been frozen, with the agreement being balanced by the Claimant’s side working “constructively” with any requested by Defendant firm for an extension to file a Defence later in the case.
This agreement is set to last for four weeks, with a review in the final week to extend it further, which in truth appears likely given the lockdown is only just beginning. It does, however, appear that this agreement is going to protect everyone who has a Limitation date impending and so, there is no danger of your claim being Statute Barred during the COVID-19 lockdown.
If I have any doubt about my claim, or a potential claim?
Get in touch with MG Legal, your personal injury solicitors in Garstang, we are still working, with all but key worker staff working remotely and so we can continue to provide our usual high level of service to clients. We are contactable by phone, email and web-contact form and so, if you are in doubt about an existing case or want to discuss making a new claim, please get in touch.
We aim to accept all personal injury cases on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) basis to ensure you have the access to representation when you need it most. We have offices in Garstang, Lancaster and Longridge for your convenience and so, if in doubt, get in touch and we will deal with your query to set your mind at ease and for any new claims, get the ball rolling straight away.
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