In most circumstances, there is a limit on the amount of time available to you to claim personal injury. To confuse matters, this time frame can often be misinterpreted thanks to the plethora of ads asking if you’ve had an injury in the last six years.
The extended qualifying period to which the ads refer is different from the window you have for an accident and emergency claim in so much as special circumstances can apply to any claim.
However, in the UK, the accepted time limitation for making a personal injury claim is three years; beyond that, there has to be very good reason for the duration between accident and claim itself.
Again, let’s not confuse that statement. The case doesn’t have to be resolved within three years. You only need to have begun the personal injury process to avoid statute- or time-barred claims.
Other reasons for claiming personal injury within three years
Many claims begin at work and in a case where liability is not cut and dried, responsibility has to be ascertained. This is often supported by testimonials of co-workers.
In the fluid job market we see today, it’s prudent to strike whilst the iron’s hot and the events leading up to your accident are fresh in the mind of all concerned.
It would be disheartening if you left a claim so late that none of the employees you were counting on to back you up in court worked at the company any longer.
Furthermore, the whole personal injury claims procedure can take a long while, especially if the case is in depth and calls on many witnesses.
You want proceedings resolving sooner rather than later so that you and those involved can get on with their lives.
Another factor is, of course, the best personal injury lawyers don’t come cheap; not all personal injury solicitors offer no-win, no-fee guarantees..
Long cases can be energy-sapping, especially when the injuries suffered by the plaintiff are severe and have consequences greater than assessing a simple compensation payout for inconvenience.
Exceptions to the three year time limitation rule
There are exceptions to the rule and the three year time limitation for personal injury claims applies even if your diagnosis doesn’t come until much further down the road.
However, claims courts do appreciate that some symptoms may not materialise instantly.
Two typical examples spring to mind. Asbestos poisoning can take years to show itself as a symptom that could be linked back to a job that had mass exposure to the banned substance.
Deafness and skin conditions can also take time to progress to the extent that they’re classed as a personal injury.
In such cases, you have three years from the date of diagnosis rather than the cause or accident itself to begin the personal injury process.
What happens in the event of death or a criminal attack?
In the instance of death caused by personal injury, again, we have a similar qualifying period of three years.
However, these three years can last from either the date the claimant dies or when the condition is discovered in post mortem examinations.
If, on the other hand, a personal injury claim has already begun and the claimant passes away, the clock is set back to zero.
The family of the deceased then has three years to build a stronger case, the outcome obviously being much more traumatic than a common or garden accident at work.
For personal injury claims that are caused through malice, intent or as a result of an attack, the limit is a strict two years and would, in any case, be dealt with by CICA, not a regular personal injury claims court.
The last and simplest reason that you should start your personal injury claim today is this: the sooner your claim begins, the sooner you get your hands on the compensation to which you’re legally entitled.
Why not try out our current top ten personal injury solicitors who’ll tell you immediately whether you have a claim or not?