Time limits to make a claim for personal injury, which is known as limitation, have to be considered when making a claim for injury.
If you are thinking of making a claim you should contact our advisers at PICA who will be happy to advise for free, if you are within the time limits to make a claim for personal injury.
The limitation period for those over the age of eighteen years old is, for a vast majority of personal injury claims, three years from the date of the accident.
The same is also true not only for accident dates but for the date a diagnosis is given in relation to industrial diseases.
In circumstances where a child is injured the three year limitation period will commence from the date of their eighteenth birthday so they are able to claim up until their twenty-first birthday. Alternatively a parent or guardian is able to represent the child in the claim for compensation. The amount awarded is usually retained in an account which is accessible to the injured child upon reaching eighteen years of age.
The Limitation Act 1980 states:
“Special time limit for actions in respect of personal injuries.”
(1) This section applies to any action for damages for negligence, nuisance or breach of duty (whether the duty exists by virtue of a contract or of provision made by or under a statute or independently of any contract or any such provision) where the damages claimed by the plaintiff for the negligence, nuisance or breach of duty consist of or include damages in respect of personal injuries to the plaintiff or any other person.
(4) The period applicable is three years from—
(a) The date on which the cause of action accrued; or
(b) The date of knowledge (if later) of the person injured.
In our experience the sooner a claim for compensation is made the more likely it is to be resolved without complications and the claim for compensation will not become known as ‘statute barred’ meaning that no legal action is available.
Furthermore, personal injury claims, whether the result of an accident or otherwise, require medical evidence as a way of proving that you are entitled to claim compensation. If your injuries are healed and you did not see a doctor you may have difficulty making a claim. Without medical evidence you simply do not have a case.
Exceptions to Limitations
While it is not advisable to depend upon them, exceptions are in some circumstances available to those who wish to make a claim which would otherwise have expired. In particular those who suffer from industrial diseases and illnesses may only become aware of the harm done to them decades after the incident or exposure.
The ‘date of knowledge’ is then enforced. The limitation period begins once the person injured realises that there is a problem or has it diagnosed.
Unfortunately there are some circumstances in which the person afflicted will die before the three year limitation expires, in situations such as these the limitation period resets to begin from the date of death. This is of particular importance to people who need to make a claim for compensation on behalf of a lost loved one.
Additionally those who are held under the Mental Health Act 1983 are entitled to pursue a claim for compensation only upon no longer being listed as a patient of the act.
And finally, for those who are looking to claim for compensation in relation to an accident which took place on an aeroplane or ship then the limitation period is reduced to two years as opposed to the usual three years that a majority of other claims are subject to.
The Limitation Act 1980 Section 33
As a result of the complexity given to claims for compensation, time should be accounted for in the compiling of evidence and other such paperwork by your solicitor. It is therefore unrealistic to assume that a claim can be processed within one month before its expiration is enforced.
The courts, under section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980, is at its own discretion entitled to waiver the limitation expiration and apply a new date by which the case will expire. It is worth noting however those extensions are not commonplace and so only a claim for compensation with genuine cause and consequence will be accepted.
Still not sure if you are within the time limits to make a claim for personal injury?
The best way to find out if you are within the time limits to make a claim for personal injury is to call our friendly claims advisers at PICA. They will be able to answer any questions you have and will be able to give you an instant answer if you can still make a personal injury claim.