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Are there time limits to make a personal injury claim?

If you’ve suffered from a personal injury that wasn’t your fault, then you’re entitled to seek a compensation payment, however there are time limits that you must act within, and these time limits may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury.

Personal injuries include; a physical injury to your body, or an illness, condition or disease.  A personal injury might also be psychological in nature.  Examples include an injury or illness caused by your work, an injury caused while driving, psychological stress caused by someone else, an injury caused by a faulty product, an injury or condition caused by a medical error, or an injury caused by someone breaking the law.

The important consideration when making any of the above injury claims is that they must have occurred as a result of someone else’s action or inaction.  Even if a person or an organisation was only partly responsible for your illness or injury then you may still seek to make a compensation claim.

However the normal time limit for making a personal injury claim is three years from the date of your accident.

If the accident causes a fatality, the three year time limit does not start running until the date of death rather than the date of the accident. This means that, in effect, if a person dies during a personal injury claim process, then that person’s family have another three years from the date of death to pursue the claim.

In work-related illness claims, or with claims in which it hasn’t been clear at first what caused the injury or illness, the three-year period will start from the date you knew or suspected that your illness was caused by your work.  An example of this would be an asbestos-related illness, which may not cause certain symptoms until years later.

In some circumstances it may be possible to make a claim outside the normal time limits.  For example personal injury claims involving children have different time limits. You can make a claim on behalf of your child up until they are 18 years old, or once they’re 18 they will have an additional three years to decide themselves whether to make a claim.

The time limits relating to a personal injury claim can occasionally be complex, so you should take legal advice to clarify how this might apply to you.

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