How long do I have to make a claim following an accident?
26 November 2019 by Rhian Lowe
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, an accident at work, a slip/trip accident, have been injured by a faulty product or have suffered due to clinical negligence, the law states that you have a limited period of time in which to bring a claim.
Generally, all the above accidents allow three years from the date of the accident or date of negligence in which to bring a claim under the Limitation Act 1980. Failure to bring a claim within this period may mean that your claim could become what is known as ‘statute-barred’. This means that you will have lost the right to bring a claim for the accident.
There are however some exceptions to the three year rule.
Limitation dates for injuries caused by criminal acts
One exception to the Limitation Act’s three year rule is where a person brings a claim for injuries suffered as a result of a criminal act, for example an assault. These claims are made against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). In these circumstances, you only have 2 years from the date of the criminal act in which to bring your claim.
Limitation dates for children
If someone is under the age of 18 they cannot bring a claim themselves and therefore require what is known as a ‘Litigation Friend’, usually a parent/guardian, to bring the claim on their behalf. The limitation period for people under 18 only begins from the date they turn 18. This essentially means that they have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 21 and suffered personal injury following an accident when you were a child, and your parent/guardian did not bring a claim, you may still be entitled to receive compensation.
Limitation dates where a person dies while making a claim
In the unfortunate instance where the injured person dies within the three year limitation period after they have commenced their claim, the limitation period is extended by three years from the date of the death. This then allows the deceased person’s estate to bring the claim on their behalf.
Limitation dates for accidents at sea
When a person is travelling on a vessel at sea which is used in navigation and suffers personal injury, there is a 2 year limitation period which begins from the date the accident occurs.
Limitation dates for injuries which arise after three years
In some cases, injuries may surface many years after the three year limitation period. A prime example of this is in asbestosis or work-related hearing loss cases. In these circumstances the three year limitation period starts to run from the ‘date of knowledge’, i.e. the date on which you were made aware of the injury and its cause.
The law surrounding limitation periods can be very complicated so if you have been involved in an accident and have suffered personal injury as a result, please contact Rhian Lowe for a no obligation assessment of your case – call 01206 700113 or email [email protected].