Time Limits & Limitation Act in Accident Claims
If you have an accident you must bring a claim within 3 years of the accident or the court has the power to refuse to allow you to claim for your injury.
The only exception to the 3 year rule is;
- If you were under 18 when the accident happened. In this case the 3 years only starts to run from when you are 18.
- At the time of the accident you did not know you had been injured or that your injury was caused by an accident, illness or disease, but you find out later. Even if this is years later, the three years may start to run from when you found out. Your solicitor will be able to tell you more.
In some types of accidents the three year limitation period may change. For example, the time limit for injuries involving defective products is two years or an accident caused by a plane, which is also two years.
You should try and see a solicitor as soon as possible after the accident, 3 years may seem a long time, but it isn't. This is because it can often take 3 years just to prepare the case for trial. This may be because you have to wait for operations to see if your condition can be made better.
If you or your solicitor have missed the time limits for making a claim it is possible to ask the courts permission to still proceed with your claim.
The court has a discretion to allow your claim to go ahead in special circumstances, but you will need to explain the reasons for the delay.
The court has to consider what disadvantage you will suffer and also what disadvantage your opponent will suffer.
The court will also look at:
- The length and reason for the delay in making a claim.
- Whether the delay weakens or affects any evidence, which might have been used in the case.
- The conduct of your opponent after the accident, including how quickly he supplied information etc.
- The length of any disability you might have been under due to your injury.
- Whether you acted quickly once you knew who was responsible for your accident.
- What steps were taken to obtain medical, legal and other expert advice.