How Long Do I Have To Make A Personal Injury Claim?

Under English Law people who have suffered damage, whether financial or otherwise, do not have an unending right to make a claim against the person who caused the damage – they must make their claim within a specific timeframe which the law clearly sets out. Anyone who fails to make a claim within this period loses the right to take legal action.
The law governing this area is set out in the Limitation Act 1980 which specifies timeframes or “limitation periods” for a variety of different claim types. Under the 1980 Act there is a three year limitation period for all personal injury claims, regardless of whether those claims are based on an allegation of negligence or of a breach of statutory or other legal duty. This three year time period runs from the later of:
1. The date at which the Delaware Mesothelioma Lawyer injury was caused
2. The date of “knowledge”
The act goes on to specify the “date of knowledge” as the point at which the claimant became aware of the severity of the injury, the fact that the injury was the fault of the defendant and the identity of the defendant. This takes into consideration the fact that in many cases someone may not be aware of this information and that it would not be reasonable to expect him to make a claim.
Extending the limitation period
The Limitation Act does give the court a wide-ranging discretion to waive the limitation period in personal injury cases where this would be just and equitable in the circumstances and where there is a good reason why the claimant did not make a claim within 3 years of the date of injury or date of knowledge.
For example, the House of Lords has ruled that in cases involving institutional sexual abuse in which the victims have suffered psychological damage, reasonable fear may prevent them from coming forward to make a claim for many years and that in these cases the limitation period should be extended to allow the claims.
Making a claim for Tort Demand Letter personal injury
If you think that you may have a personal injury claim then you should take action as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss the initial 3-year limitation period for taking legal action. Although it may be possible to extend this limitation period then you should always remember that this is entirely at the discretion of the court and you should never assume that limitation will be extended. Unless you can show that you have made every effort to bring the claim to court as quickly as possible, then the court may well refuse to extend the limitation period.
Limitation is a complicated legal issue, and if the events which caused the injury occurred over three years ago the court will usually need to conduct a preliminary hearing in which it will receive evidence and will consider what the actual date of knowledge was and whether the circumstances justify an extension of the limitation period. A specialist personal injury solicitor will have experience in this field and will be able to assist you in making legal submissions regarding limitation of the court.

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