How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?
JOANNA BAILEY >
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Personal InjuryThu 2 December 2021
During these unpredictable times, some people, who for no fault of their own, have sustained an injury. They may think it is too late to investigate if they have a valid personal Injury claim. Joanna Bailey, Head of Personal Injury discusses Personal injury claims in England and Wales and how long you have to make a claim.
In most accident cases, the Limitation Act 1980 confirms that:
- you have 3 years from the date of your accident or knowledge of injury to bring a claim.
- You must show that you were owed a duty of care by another individual or organisation and that that duty was breached.
- You must also show that the breach directly led to the injury and financial loss you wish to claim.
This means that if you know when your actual accident occurred (which is likely if you were involved in a road traffic collision) then you have 3 years from that date to bring forward an injury claim.
If you were only aware of your injury much later on, then the 3-year time limit runs from then, or when you got the diagnosis. The injury must be significant, attributable in full or part to the breach of duty and you must know who it is that you wish to make the claim against. This scenario deals with situations where you have become unwell, and it transpires that you now suffer from a disease as a result of where you worked a long time ago.
What Exceptions Apply?
If you were younger than 18 when the accident occurred, then the limitation expires on your 21st birthday. This only applies if no one has previously made a claim on your behalf because of the particular accident.
If the injured person lacks mental capacity and are unable to either understand or commence a claim, then the 3-year time limit starts when their mental capacity is regained. If capacity is not regained, then another person can bring a claim on their behalf who are known as a ‘Litigation Friend’. Crucially, the original 3-year limitation is applicable if the injured person had capacity at the time of the accident but then loses it.
If your loved one had passed away in an accident, their personal representatives can take the matter forward on their behalf. If this has occurred, you will need to speak to one of our specialist’s about this scenario.
To keep the claim progressing, Court proceedings will need to be issued by the end of the relevant limitation. Otherwise, your claim will be statute barred and you will not be able to progress.
There is much work to do to prepare a claim to be ready to issue court proceedings. This is done with an emphasis under the Court rules to try and resolve your matter before the Court even becomes involved.
It is best to get advice early to give you and your legal team, time to prepare. As a Legal 500 Directory recognised Personal Injury team, 5 of whom are accredited Senior Litigators with the association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), we are ready to help you when you require. We remain committed as ever to our clients’ and their cases. We will continue to prepare to seek financial redress for the accidents our client’ have been involved in, on the road, at work, in public places and sometimes sadly those that cause death.
We recognise the need to talk to someone when an accident occurs. This ensures you receive clear advice in a straightforward way. Our team have many years of experience and work to secure you with a just outcome. We also have a wide network where we’ll be able to signpost you to other organisations which may be able to assist you – Small enough to care, big enough to make a difference!
If you would like to discuss your case, please contact Joanna Bailey at our London Bridge office on 020 7186 7108 or click the contact us box below. To read more about our Personal Injury services, click here.
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