If you have been in an accident on the roads or in the workplace which was not your fault, you may well be entitled to seek compensation. However, there is a limited period of time before the claim expires. In general, the period of time for making a claim is three years. This is often referred to as the limitation period. If court action is not commenced during those three years, the claim becomes what is known as statute-barred, or time-barred.
This three-year period is typically said to start from the date on which the accident or injury occurred, although there are exceptions depending on what type of accident or injury is involved. Sometimes the circumstances of the injured party are taken into consideration. If exceptions apply, the three-year period will commence at some point after the accident or injury occurred. The limitation period is also relevant in terms of injuries suffered from exposure to harmful substances or industrial disease. An example of an industrial disease would be an asbestos-related condition.
When it comes to diseases, the three-year period is said to commence from the date that the patient knows, or is deemed to know, that symptoms have arisen. This can be the date on which the symptoms commenced, or it could be the date that the patient received a medical diagnosis, or the disease is suspected by medical professionals to exist.
A client seeking compensation should be aware that a court might be amenable to allowing a case to proceed outside of the general time limits. However, this is rarely the case and is something that cannot be easily predicted by legal advisers.
Another important thing to remember is what is referred to as the “date of knowledge,” in other words the date that the court will regard as the time at which you knew, or at least should have known, that you had an injury arising from wrongdoing by others. In terms of a straightforward accident, the date of knowledge is often easy to determine. However, in the case of some diseases and conditions, it may not be so easy to calculate. In such an instance, the date can be deemed to be that on which symptoms first appeared.
In the event of an injury sustained from an accident, if an injury originally diagnosed as minor turns out to be more serious, the three-year period would commence from the original date of the symptoms or the date that the injury was connected to the accident. In the case of someone under 18 who is injured through the negligence of another, the three-year period does not begin until their 18th birthday and they have until their 21st birthday to launch proceedings.
The solicitors who work with Accident Advice Helpline will be able to discuss with clients any concerns they might have in respect of time limitations. Call us today on 0800 689 0500 in order to get started on making your compensation claim.
Date Published: October 8, 2013
Author: David Brown