Being injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault is always a frustrating experience, and there can be a lot of reasons for which you may not want to start a legal process right away. But what if you realise your injury has worsened, or the guilty person or company responsible refuses to take responsibility?
You may wonder if you’re still in time to make a compensation claim for your injury, loss of earnings, medical expenses and many more losses you have faced. Legally, there are limits to how long after an accident you can seek compensation, but there are also exemptions to the rules.
Having proper legal advice is fundamental in these cases, and a team of specialist personal injury solicitors in Manchester can help you get the best compensation if you live in the North West of England.
If you live in England or Wales, there is a standard limit to how long you can wait before starting legal proceedings. The law states that you have to present a compensation claim within 3 years from the accident.
Remember that this applies to starting actual court proceedings. If you’re considering this, it doesn’t matter that you have consulted a solicitor before 3 years, because you can still end up starting the claim after the time limit – which will invalidate it.
There are, however, some exemptions your case can qualify for which will extend your time limit to make your claim.
Normally, you will have 3 years from the date of the accident to start your claim, but the law outlines a few exemptions which could mean you have a bit more time.
- The victim of the injury is a child
If a child suffered a personal injury or because of an accident, they will have 3 years to make a claim starting from their 18th birthday. This means you’ll have time until their 21st birthday to start a claim for a child injury or accident.
- The injured doesn’t have legal mental capacity
For patients under the Mental Health Act 1983, the 3 years time limit won’t apply until they are granted mental capacity, and are removed as mental health patients.
- You suffered because of a criminal assault
Criminal assault cases have a 2 year limit, which doesn’t change for cases involving children. It’s their parents or guardians who must start the claim before the 2 years, regardless of the age of the child.
- The injury was fatal
If you’re looking to make a claim on behalf of a loved one who has died because of their injury, you will have 3 years from the date of their death. If a post-mortem identifies the cause of the death to be the injury in question, you’ll have 3 years from the day this is found.
- The accident happened on an aeroplane or ship
Accidents that happen on board a ship or aeroplane will usually have a shorter time limit of 2 years. However, many circumstances can change this.
Courts can decide to extend your time limit after assessing your case, although this is very rare.
Remember that the time limit doesn’t only apply to the date of the accident, but it can also be counted from the “date of knowledge”. This means that, if you find out your injury was caused by the accident, or the repercussions surface at a later date, you will have 3 years from the date that you’ve established the accident caused the injury.
It’s really important to find a good solicitor for your personal injury or accident claim. The law can be complex and easily confuse victims of accidents, keeping them from seeking justice and getting the compensation they deserve.