There are time limits for bringing most claims. The time limit for a clinical/medical negligence claim is 3 years from the date of injury, or 3 years from the date of knowledge. The date of knowledge means the date you knew, or ought to have known, something has gone wrong and you have a potential claim.
The time limit means that, within that 3 year period, you must issue a claim at the Court to prevent your case being out of time. If you go beyond the 3 year period, without an agreement to extend this time limit, the Defendant to any potential claim could argue it is out of time. This is why it is important to investigate any potential claim quickly to avoid any problems with the time limit later on.
Often, clients come to us with little time left to make a claim because they have been having treatment or have not yet been able to come to terms with what has happened to them. Some clients are reluctant to involve a solicitor, and bring a claim, which involves NHS treatment. This is of course understandable.
Sometimes, things can happen during medical treatments or procedures, which may not necessarily mean the person treating you has done anything wrong. Perhaps this outcome was inevitable. However, it can sometimes be difficult for those involved to understand what has happened. This is where a Solicitor can help. Complaints and claims can firstly be investigated, to establish what has happened. If something has gone wrong, and it should not have done, a solicitor can help you with that investigation and, perhaps, also obtain compensation for your injuries. Compensation can be an important part of your recovery and is recognition of what has happened. An apology can also be sought. Occasionally, even an explanation can assist in coming to terms with what has happened and may prevent the same thing happening again.
At present, there is a lot of sympathy for the NHS and staff, which may be preventing people from bringing, or investigating, claims or complaints. However, the NHS tell us that they learn from these complaints. When responding, they confirm what steps they have taken to try to ensure that it does not happen again.
Any complaint should be made within the first year of the incident. If it is beyond that, the NHS may well refuse to deal with it. This is because staff change and any complaint can become difficult to investigate. A complaint can take perhaps a year to deal with before it can be established whether there may be a claim. This means that advice should be sought as soon as possible so that your solicitor has sufficient time to assist you and help you obtain any answers you need.
If you think you may have been the victim of a medical accident, or you may have a clinical negligence claim, contact our Team to discuss how we can help.