What is the date of knowledge?
As medical negligence solicitors, the term, ‘date of knowledge’ is a phrase that we use on a daily basis, so appears second nature. However, our experts like to know that our injured clients know exactly what we mean when we are advising them. With this in mind, the term, date of knowledge’ can be explained as follows. There are often times, when an injury, or illness, that is a result of negligent medical treatment, does not manifest, or show itself straight away- unlike, for example, if you were injured at work, with the result that you lost a finger in a straw chopping machine. In medical negligence cases, it might not always be clear that the injury, or illness has occurred as a result of negligent medical treatment. For example, damage may be caused by a surgeon, during an operation which is unknown until a much later date when an injured person presents with further symptoms, and undergoes further medical exploration which then ultimately finds the cause. The date upon which the injured person becomes aware that the cause of the illness or injury is as a result of the surgeon’s negligence, is knows as the ‘date of knowledge’.
The Limitation Act, the law governing the time limits to pursue a claim for medical negligence compensation, clarifies the date of knowledge as being the date that the injured patient first has knowledge of the following:
That the injury, or illness, is attributable to the act or omission which is alleged to constitute negligence, nuisance or breach of duty;
The identity of the Defendant; and
The identity of that person and any relevant additional facts, if it is alleged that the injury was caused by someone other than the Defendant.
Just to complicate matters, the ‘date of knowledge’ can be construed as any time that an injured person, through their own investigation, or from the advice of a medical practitioner, might ‘reasonably’ have been expected to discover that the injury or illness that they are suffering from, is as a result of medical negligence. If this is indeed the case then the 3 years within which to pursue a claim for medical negligence compensation, will start. This is the case even if the Court is satisfied that the person reasonably could and should have discovered the information, even if this is before they actually had knowledge of this information.
What our personal injury solicitors advise, is that if you have any questions or queries about pursuing a claim for medical negligence compensation, then please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team of personal injury solicitors, for a no fee, no obligation chat.