There are strict time limits in personal injury claims within which you must have started court proceedings in your claim. However, these time limits vary and depend on a number of factors (not all of which are listed here) including the nature of your accident or injury, where the accident happened and who you intend to bring the claim against.
For these reasons it is important that you seek advice promptly from one of our specialist personal injury solicitors on the precise time limits that apply to your case.
Under English law, in most cases that time limit is 3 years from the date of accident or incident giving rise to your injury. This means that court proceedings must have commenced within:
- 3 years of the date of an accident, or
- if you have an illness caused by your work, 3 years from the date on which you became aware of your illness and that it might be related to your employment;
- if you have a medical negligence claim, 3 years from the date on which you became aware that you had suffered harm as a consequence of your medical treatment.
These time limits do not apply to children (who can proceed at any time before their 21st birthday) and people who are unable because of mental incapacity of managing their legal affairs (may differ for a defective product).
Also, there are different time limits if your accident or injury occurred outside England and Wales or during the course of international travel or if a defective product is involved.
Time limits and legal procedures vary from country to country. In many countries the time limits for taking action are much shorter than 3 years. Furthermore, for example, for many air accidents, marine accidents and criminal injury claims, the time limit is shorter and is often 2 years.
For defective products the time period is either:
- three years from the date that an injury or illness was caused by the product, or
- from the date you became aware of that injury or illness caused by the product, limited to a maximum of 10 years from the date of supply of the product concerned.
This includes products given as a result of medical care and applies to children and to people who are incapable of managing their legal affairs.
In some very limited circumstances the courts may allow a claim to continue beyond the time limit period but you should not assume that any discretion will be applied for your claim. However, even if you believe the time limit for bringing your claim may have expired it is worth seeking advice from a solicitor on whether the court may allow the claim to proceed.
When you contact Irwin Mitchell, we will give you clear advice about the time limits that apply to your claim. Contacting us promptly also enables us to begin our investigations into the circumstances of your injury or illness. This is crucial to securing the evidence and documents needed to give your claim the best chance of success.
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