Did you know that there are time limits on making a personal injury claim?
If you miss the deadline, then your compensation claim will not succeed. It becomes 'time barred'. Finding out when the injury occurred is therefore really important - and specialist advice from a personal injury lawyer is essential.
As a general rule, the time limit for making a claim for personal injury or illness is three years from the date on which the accident occurred, or on which you were exposed to a harmful substance.
However, there are some exceptions:
• Date of knowledge - sometimes people do not realise that they have been injured until many years after the accident or exposure took place. This is often the case with industrial diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, where it may take 30 - 40 years for the symptoms to appear.
In such cases the three year personal injury time limit starts running on the date that you become aware that there is a link between the illness or injury you are suffering and an incident in the past.
• Injured children - children have special treatment under the law, because they depend on other people to fight their battles for them. This applies to personal injury compensation claims as well. The three year time limit does not start running for children who have suffered a personal injury until they reach the age of 16, although a parent or guardian can make an earlier claim on their behalf.
• Injuries to people with mental incapacity - as with children, the law protects people who are mentally incapable, by ensuring that the three year compensation time limit does not start running until they are mentally capable again.
• Fatal injury claims - if a person has died as a result of an accident or illness that was someone else's fault, then the Executor or a relative may be able to bring a claim for compensation. This has to be brought within three years of the date of death.
Sometimes court proceedings are already underway when the claimant dies. In this case the clock begins again, with the three year period running from the date of death.
It is a complicated area. If you need advice about making a claim, or whether your claim is time barred, our expert personal injury lawyers will be happy to advise you. Just give us a call on 0800 0891 331, or complete the form below.