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There are strict time limits for making personal injury compensation claims. You need to make a claim for compensation within 3 years of your accident (or within 3 years of discovering your injuries were linked to the accident).
Specialist personal injury solicitor Diane Reading, who has lots of experience helping people who have been seriously injured in accidents, explains more.
We often hear from people curious to know if it’s too late to claim compensation for serious injuries that happened several years ago.
The law is very clear on this. Section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980 states the time limit for a personal injury claim (called the limitation period) is 3 years. That’s why it is important to seek advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible.
The 3-year time limit for making claims
Generally speaking, the standard time limit for making a claim is 3 years. This means you have 3 years to issue your claim at court. This time limit usually applies from the date of the accident when you got injured.
However, in some cases, the time limit will apply from the date you first became aware your injury or illness was due to someone else’s mistake or negligence.
For example, you may not realise for a long time that your work-related illness was due to your employer’s failure to protect your health and safety. This is quite often the case with diseases caused by exposure to asbestos which may not develop until several decades afterwards.
Are there exceptions to the 3-year time limit?
It is important to know that there are some exceptions to the 3-year time limit. If you are making a compensation claim on behalf of a child or, they choose to make the claim themselves as an adult for injuries sustained when they were a child, the deadline to issue the claim at Court is their 21st birthday.
If you are making a claim for a loved one who lacks mental capacity and is unable to make decisions for themselves, there are no time limits.
There are other occasions when the time limit is shorter than 3 years. For example, claims for injuries outside of the UK vary depending on the country where the accident occurred.
Another exception is if you are looking to make a product liability medical negligence compensation claim. There may be a time limit based on when the defective product was first manufactured.
As you can see, the time limits for personal injury compensation claims can be complex and may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. If you think you might have a claim, it’s important to seek advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity, and not wait until the time limit you believe may apply is about to expire.
Your solicitor will be able to explain more about any time limits that apply to you and what you should be aware of before starting your personal injury compensation claim.