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Key FAQs: How Long Do I Have To Make A Personal Injury Claim?

Making a personal injury claim isn’t always as easy as picking up the phone on the day of your accident – there could be a whole manner of circumstances which lead to not being able to take action until months, years or even decades later. So when are you able to claim? How quickly do you have to act?

In our latest article here at Tranter Cleere, as part of a series on frequently asked questions surrounding the personal injury claim process, we look at the timescales of making a claim – including how long you’ve got before your case becomes ‘time barred’.

When Must I Submit A Claim After An Accident?

In most cases, you have three years to submit a claim after an accident or injury has occurred. The most common type of claim is usually negligence, which requires court proceedings to be issued within the three year time limit once you are aware that you have suffered an injury. Road accidents (e.g. car crashes), workplace accidents (e.g. injury from machinery) and slips, trips or falls (either at work or in public) all follow this rule – claims must be submitted three years from the accident.

Industrial diseases, medical negligence and criminal injury all follow slightly different timeframes – three years from disease diagnosis, three years after the cause of action and two years after the criminal act respectively.

Are The Rules Different If The Accident Involves A Child?

Yes – the ‘deadline period’ only begins when the child turns 18. What this effectively means is that if your child is injured, or you were involved in an accident while you were a child yourself which wasn’t your fault, then the three year time limit begins then (ie. you have until the child in question turns 21 to make a claim for compensation and for proceedings to begin).

Are There Any Special Circumstances?

There are a number of special circumstances where the three year limit does not immediately apply. Industrial diseases and medical negligence cases are two examples of this, where the three time limit period does not begin until there is knowledge of a disease, injury or negligence. The knowledge may be defined as something like a diagnosis of a disease or, in some cases, a cause of death determined by a post mortem.

This clause in effectively extending submission deadlines to knowledge of the incident is particularly important in cases involving exposure to asbestos. It’s possible that the exposure occurred several decades ago (the NHS estimates symptoms do not appear until 15 to 30 years after exposure), but the diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestosis may have only recently been made.

This gives you or family members three years from the date of diagnosis to make a claim and for proceedings to start – given the rapid rise in cases over the last 10 years (see HSE figures here), this is a vital clause for an increasing number of individuals and families.

Can Deadlines Be Extended?

In addition to these, it is worth noting that courts do handle injury claims on a case by case basis. In some circumstances, a court may decide to extend a time limit depending on the specific details of a case. We can help to advise you specifically on your case and what circumstances may apply, giving you a clearer picture of the proceedings.

Whether you need further information on the length of time you have to make a personal injury claim, would like to make a claim and start proceedings  or want to discuss any special circumstances which may be applicable to your case, do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Tranter Cleere Solicitors. We operate a 24 hour Freephone service, on 0800 6 12 11 13 – alternatively you can start you claim via our simple online form.