The Statute of Limitations regarding personal injury


What is a ‘statute of limitations’?

In personal injury matters, the statute of limitations is the Act that states the time limits of how long a person has to make a claim for compensation.

In the UK, the statute of limitations in the Limitation Act 1980.

What does the statute of limitations say?

The statute of limitations sets out:

  • The time period in which a person can make a claim
  • From what incident or date that period commences
  • Exceptions

What is the statute of limitations regarding personal injury?

The statute of limitations regarding personal injury in the UK is the Limitation Act 1980.

The Limitation Act states that actions for personal injury must be commenced within three years of the accident, or within three years of the date that the person had knowledge of their injuries.

While this may seem odd, in some cases, particularly industrial diseases claims, the claimant does not become aware of their injuries until a long time after they were actually caused. For example, if the claimant works with coal or asbestos dust it may be years before the disease manifests itself and longer again until the claimant realises the cause of the disease.

It is therefore not unusual for a claimant to claim after the expiry of the three-year limitation period and rely on the relevant personal injury statute of limitations - the Limitation Act 1980, which contains the rules on later knowledge.

What are the exceptions under the statute of limitations regarding personal injury?

If a claimant tries to bring a claim outside the three-year period, either from the date of accident or the date of knowledge, the defendant will probably attempt to have the claim struck out on the grounds that it is ‘statute barred’.

However, there are some exceptions which allow a person to make a claim out of time. The claimant may make an application to the court to make the limitation period non-applicable.

Get legal advice – let us help

If you want to make personal injury claims out of time, it is highly advisable to contact a solicitor. A personal injury solicitor can assess whether your claim would likely be accepted.

Many personal injury solicitors offer their services on a no-win, no-fee basis. And, many are happy to give an initial consultation for free, to see if you have a case.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on personal injury or the statute of limitations, Caven can put you in touch with a local personal injury solicitor free of charge. Please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above and we’ll call you back.

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