If you have sustained an injury resulting from an accident that was not your fault and you have clear proof that it occurred due to a third party’s negligence, you may be entitled to claim for compensation. However, in order to make the claim successful, you must follow a strict legal timeline. Failure to do so will result in a reduced level of compensation, if any at all. There is usually a three year rule from the date of the accident, although there are exceptions to this rule.
What is the three year rule?
The three year rule is the timeline from the date of the accident to the start of the legal process for any adult who wishes to make a claim. If, by the third anniversary of the incident, you have a claim that has either not been settled or has not made it to court, the law will prevent you from continuing. Being in breach of this regulation will result in you either receiving a much lower settlement from the negligent party or no compensation at all.
What are the exceptions?
There are some exceptions to the three year rule, but in order to meet them your case must fall within very strict guidelines.
The first exception applies if you are under the age of 18 when the accident occurred. If that is the case the law states that the three year rule will only apply from the date of your 18th birthday, the age of maturity. The time you have in which to make a claim is then three years plus the difference between your age at the time of the accident and the date of your 18th birthday. Therefore, the claim must be settled or have reached court by your 21st birthday. The reason behind this exception is to allow the victim or their parents/guardian, time to decide whether they wish to pursue a compensation claim. The only situation where this rule does not apply is if the injury is sustained while you are on an aircraft, in which case the time period is set at two years from the date of the incident.
The second exception occurs if, at the time of the accident, you are not aware you have sustained an injury. It may be that there are no signs of injury directly after the incident, but that at some point later, symptoms and issues begin to appear as a direct result of the accident. If you can prove that this is the case you will still be able to make a compensation claim as an exception to the three year rule. In such an event, the three year time period begins from the date of recognising the injury. This exception also applies if a medical professional misdiagnosed you at the time of the accident.
Whether your case falls into the two exceptions or not, our solicitors at Accident Advice Helpline are here to ensure that everything is properly documented. By doing so, even if a decision is made at a later date to pursue a claim or if the injuries are only discovered years later, your claim for compensation will be made a much simpler process.
Date Published: September 26, 2013
Author: David Brown