What Is The Limitation Period When Someone Has Died?
In some unfortunate cases, those pursuing a claim for medical negligence compensation may die prior to the conclusion of the case, or the commencement of legal proceedings. The Limitation Act 1980 is the law that governs the time limits for bringing any claim for personal injury, including illness and injury arising out of the negligence of a medical practitioner.
If the injured person dies before the expiration of the 3 year limitation period, then the action is preserved for their Estate under Section 1 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. The limitation period is then extended to three years from the date of death or the date of the Personal Representative’s knowledge, whichever is the later.
What our solicitors specialising in medical negligence claims will advise is that a fatal accidents claim cannot be made if the Deceased’s own claim was statute barred before their death. Notwithstanding any arguments pertaining to the date of knowledge, as stated above, if the cause of the Deceased’s death was poor medical treatment that happened more than 3 years before their death, and the limitation period to start a claim has expired, a fatal accidents claim would probably be defended by the negligent medical practitioner, on grounds that the claim for compensation, arising out of medical negligence, whether this is indeed admitted, or not, is statute barred, subject to the Limitation Act 1980, and therefore cannot be pursued.
To clarify matters, think of this example.
Mr Smith received negligence medical treatment 2 years before he died. At the time of his death, the 3 year limitation period has not expired, and the claim will not be statute barred, meaning that if Mr Smith’s family or dependants wish to commence a claim for medical negligence, they will usually have a full 3 years from the date of the Deceased’s death or from the date when they should have reasonably had knowledge of poor treatment and the death to start a fatal accidents claim.
If your family member of loved one has passed away as a result of negligent medical treatment, and you have any questions or queries about pursuing a No Win No Fee claim for medical negligence compensation, then please do not hesitate to contact our solicitors that specialise in medical negligence compensation claims, for a no obligation, friendly chat. We will listen to what you have to say, and advise you accordingly. At MG Legal, our personal injury solicitors understand that many of our clients contact us when they are in a time of distress, so we offer no-nonsense, informative advice, that will assist you to pursue your claim for medical negligence compensation.