Throughout the dealing of your claim, your Solicitor may discuss Limitation. The Limitation Period is the time you have to bring a claim. For most serious injury claims that time period is 3 years from the date of the accident. This means that you are required to issue a claim at Court before the expiry of this date. If the claim is not issued, you will not be able to take the claim any further and the Defendant will have a defence to the claim by arguing that you are out of time to bring the claim. Applications can be made to ask the court to allow you to bring a claim out of time but these are not always successful and there has to be a good reason why there has been a delay. In practice therefore the 3-year time limit is usually strictly applied.
In a serious injury claim where liability is accepted Limitation is not usually an issue as a solicitor will usually be instructed at an early stage. This means that by the time the 3-year time limit approaches, your claim is likely to be well advanced. Where liability is agreed, the parties can also agree to extend the time limit to avoid issuing proceedings if this is likely to save any unnecessary costs. Your solicitor will always be mindful of Limitation and will ensure that this key date is not missed.
Sometimes a serious injury may result in injuries which affect a person’s mental capacity. If the person has been injured to such an extent that they are no longer thought to have capacity to deal with and understand the claims process, the 3-year period may not apply. Evidence will usually be obtained to assess capacity unless it is clear from medical diagnosis that the person no longer has capacity.
Occasionally, an injured party may not have realised they may have a claim but may find out later on that someone is at fault for their injuries. This can mean that the Limitation date starts not from the date of the accident but from the “date of knowledge”. This is often the case in medical negligence claims where it becomes apparent later on that there is a potential claim for something that may have happened several years earlier.
Your solicitor will be able to advise you on Limitation. If you do believe you have a case it is always advisable to seek advice early on so that crucial evidence can be retained to support the claim as with the passage of time this evidence can be lost.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident resulting in a serious injury, contact one of our experts at Maxwell Hodge Solicitors to see how we can help guide you through this difficult time.