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TIME LIMIT: How long do you have to make a personal injury claim?

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If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or malicious action, whether at work, in public, or under any other circumstances, you may be entitled to claim compensation. However, it is important to be aware that there are strict time limits for starting a claim and if you miss the window, you may be left unable to pursue compensation, no matter how justified your claim might be.

Time limits for personal injury claims

Under normal circumstances, you will usually need to start a claim within 3 years of the injury occurring. The claim must be with the Court within 3 years of the injury occuring therefore we recommend you contact a solicitor as soon as possible and before the 3-year limit. However, if you only became aware of the injury or how serious it is some time after it occurs, the 3-year time limit may be applied from the point you became aware, giving you longer to make a claim. Courts also have the power to extend the time limit where appropriate, although this is entirely dependent on the circumstances.

Time limits for personal injury claims for children

If the person injured was under 18 at the time the injury occurs, the 3-year time limit only applies from the time they turn 18. This means they (or anyone making a claim on their behalf) effectively have until the child’s 21st birthday to start a claim.

Time limits for people lacking capacity to bring a claim

If the person injured has been left without the capacity to bring a claim on their own behalf, e.g. they have been left in a coma due to a brain injury, there is no time limit for someone else to start a claim for them. The 3-year time limit will only come into effect if they ever regain the capacity to make a claim e.g. if they wake up from a coma. The time limit will then be applied from the moment they regain capacity. We would recommend the injured person or someone on their behalf contact a solicitor as soon as practicable.

Time limits for assault claims

If you are injured as the result of being assaulted, there is the option of making a personal injury claim against the attacker (see above time limit for personal injury claims) or might be able to lodge a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Agency (CICA) within 2 years of the assault taking place. You may still be able to make an application outside of the 2-year time limit, but there is no guarantee CICA will consider your claim outside this window. The CICA are usually strict with the 2-year time limit.

Time limits for fatal accident claims

If a loved one died as a result of an injury that was not their fault, the time limit will still usually apply from the time of the injury. The exception would be if the injury occurred years before their death, with the results of the injury only becoming apparent more recently.

A common example of this is with asbestos-related diseases, where the deceased was exposed to asbestos at work often decades before their death, but the harmful effects only became apparently when they became ill shortly before passing away. In these cases, the 3-year time limit only applies from the time it was established that the disease that caused your loved one’s death was the result of a workplace injury, sometimes known as 3-years from date of first knowledge.

Find out more about starting a personal injury claim now

Bird & Co Solicitors is a long-established law firm with a strong track history of success in personal injury claims for clients all over England and Wales, working from our 3 offices in the East Midlands.

For free, no obligation advice about starting a personal injury claim, speak to David our Head of Personal Injury today on 01476 372043  or out of hours on 07801 479758 or use our contact page to find details of your nearest office.