Personal injury claims time limits
Personal injury claims are at an all-time high in the UK but there is still a lot of confusion around key issues relating to these claims. Something that a lot of people are not aware of is the time limit for personal injury claims. Knowing personal injury claims time limits is extremely important as you or a family member could easily be affected by a personal injury at some point in the future.
In the UK, the time period for making a personal injury claim is within three years of the date of the accident or within three years of realising that the accident or exposure was the cause of an injury or illness. This provides ample time for you to make a personal injury claim and gather evidence to prove that the third party was at fault.
You might be wondering what the significance is of the personal injury limitation period being set at three years from the date of realising an accident or exposure led to an injury? The reason for this is to protect people who have been exposed to hazardous substances such as asbestos, who might not become aware that they have been affected until years or even decades later.
In the event of a fatality, the claims period would be within three years of the date of death or within three years of the death being linked to an accident. Often the claims process starts after the post-mortem has been carried out so there is evidence of the death being related to an accident or exposure.
In cases where a person dies whilst dealing with a personal injury claim, then the claims period would reset to three years from the date of their death. This gives the family time to start the claims process on their behalf.
Exceptions for children and people under the Mental Health Act 1983
There are exceptions to the three year rule, with children and those being treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 being exempt. For children, the three year rule only comes into effect after their 18th birthday. For those being treated under the Mental Health Act 1983, the three year deadline comes into effect once the patient has been discharged from care.
Another exception to the three year rule is for claims that are being dealt with by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) that relate to attacks or assaults. In this case the deadline is two years.
Claims outside the UK
If you or a family member is injured outside of the UK, then the rules for time limit for personal injury claims might be different. Each country has their own laws so if you have been injured outside the UK; you should seek out legal advice to find out exactly what the time limits for that particular country are.
The importance of acting swiftly
Whilst three years might seem like a generous amount of time to make a claim, it is still important to get a personal injury claim in motion as quickly as possible for a few different reasons.
Firstly, medical reports might be more difficult to find after a number of years have gone by. Secondly is that witnesses might not remember exactly what happened and important details of the event can be over-looked. This is why it is always important to take action at the earliest possible time.