How long do I have to claim compensation for personal injury?

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Any type of claim has a limitation period. This is a period of time in which the Claimant should ‘bring’ their claim to court. If you are considering making personal injury claim, it’s important to be aware of the time limit for starting a claim so that you don’t miss your opportunity to get compensation for your pain, suffering or financial losses.

What is the time limit for bringing a personal injury claim?

Claims for personal injuries in England and Wales usually have to be brought within three years of the injury occurring. To prevent the claim from expiring, any documentation and fees must be filed at court by a set date.

As soon as you start to consider making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. They can ensure that the claim is kept on track and that deadlines are met in order to seek compensation.

However, there are some circumstances where the three year time period does not apply. These include:

Claims involving children

If the person injured was under 18 at the time the injury was sustained, the three year limit runs from the day that they reach 18 years of age, so until their 21st birthday.

Claims involving those who lack capacity

If the injured person lacks the mental capacity to understand what has happened or to bring a claim, the three year time limit will not start until they regain capacity. If they do not regain mental capacity, the claim can potentially be brought at any time by their representative.

It’s important, however, for the representative to seek advice from a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible whilst the memory and evidence is fresh in their mind.

If the injured person loses capacity after they were injured, the three year time limit still applies.

Claims involving assault

If the claimant is injured as a result of an assault, they may be able to submit a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The time limit for this is within two years of the incident.

Claims involving an injury sustained on a ship

If an accident occurs on a cruise ship operating in international waters, it is covered by the Athens Convention which has priority over UK law.

You can claim through English or Welsh courts, however, it must be done under the terms of this Convention. The time limit for bringing a claim for personal injury compensation under the Athens Convention is two years.

If the accident occurs on a passenger ship or boat in or around the British Isles, normal UK law applies.

Air accident claims

If you’ve been injured in an accident on board an aircraft or while embarking or disembarking a plane, you can claim compensation from the airline.

Under the Montreal Convention, an airline is liable to compensate an injured passenger up to £90,000. The Convention is a treaty which establishes rules for airlines to follow on international flights between members. It includes the European Union and 132 Member States of The International Civil Aviation Organization.

Aviation law is complex. It’s therefore essential to seek advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as you start considering making a claim.

Time limits for making a claim after an air accident vary. Under the Montreal Convention, you must bring a claim within two years of the date of the accident.

Claims where the injured person has died

Where death arises as a direct consequence of the accident, the three year time limit begins from the date of death, or the date that the death was linked to the accident. Whoever manages the deceased’s estate can bring a claim on the injured party’s behalf.

I want to start a personal injury claim, where do I start?

If you’ve been the victim of an accident or negligence that wasn’t your fault, our personal injury solicitors can help.

We offer a no obligation ‘no win, no fee’ consultation with a member of our specialist personal injury team. This enables us to talk about your options and how best to fund your claim.

To speak to our personal injury lawyers about starting a claim, call 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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