I suffered a personal injury a few years ago! Can I still claim?
If you, or someone you know, have suffered a personal injury, be it a road traffic accident, an injury at work, a slip or a trip abroad, you are certainly aware that that the recovery process can be a long, painful and stressful experience. This is made even harder if you're unable to work to finance your recovery.
We at Fonseca Law understand that the period immediately following an accident is stressful, and you might think that making a personal injury claim would only add to that stress, but, if you were not at fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation from the guilty party to ensure you are not left out of pocket. In most cases, this compensation is either used to cover a victim’s rehabilitation or any ongoing medical care that may be required – that’s why it is important to claim what is rightfully yours.
However, it is vital to remember that there are strict legal timeframes for making personal injury claims, and we strongly recommend you start a claim at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure the best outcome; if you leave it too long, you may find yourself unable to claim! But how long is too long? This is a common question, and the answer will depend on a number of factors such as the type of injury, your age and the location where the accident took place.
Personal injury claims for adults
Generally, if a claimant was over 18 at the time of the injury, the rule of thumb is that you have three years from the date of the accident or injury to bring a claim against the other party. If you are unable to settle the claim within three years, or if court proceedings have not been issued, the law states that you will be unable to make a claim.
If you’re claiming for an injury that was a result of an industrial accident, then the three year period doesn’t start until you were first made aware of your medical condition – typically when a doctor makes a confirmed diagnosis. Similarly, if your injury or illness was caused through clinical negligence the three year time frame will only start when it is proven that your injury was the result of negligence by your medical professional. In most cases, doctors will defend their treatment methods and therefore, proving liability can take a significant amount of time.
Personal injury claims for children
The rules surrounding personal injury claims for under 18s differ slightly compared to adult cases. While the three year time frame still applies to cases involving children, it doesn’t start from the date of the injury or accident. The law states that a child has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to make a claim as the law views this as the age of maturity, the point at which a child is able to make their own decision.
Parents or guardians are given two choices by the courts if their child has suffered a personal injury: the first option is to make a claim immediately following the injury and have any compensation that may be awarded to the child stored in a special court fund until they’re 18. The second option is to wait until the child turns 18 and allow them to make their own decision about whether to make a claim. However, it is important to know that if someone, no matter their age, is injured on an aircraft, the limitation period is two years from the date of the accident.
General time limits for personal injury cases
As stated above, if you have suffered a personal injury, you generally have three years from the date of the accident or injury to make a claim, with some exceptions such as the ones aforementioned. Here is a list of timing guidelines which you should be aware of for each type of claim:
- Road traffic accident - 3 years from the date of accident;
- Slip, trip or fall – 3 years from the date of accident;
- Accident at work – 3 years from the date of accident;
- Industrial disease – 3 years from the date of diagnosis;
- Clinical negligence – 3 years form the date of diagnosis;
- Criminal injury – 2 years from the date of criminal act.
Have you suffered a personal injury through no fault of your own? If so, don’t let your chance to claim compensation expire, contact our experienced team of solicitors today on 0800 156 0770, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our online claim form.