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Personal Injury Claim Time Limits

 

If you are considering making a personal injury claim, it is critical that you start proceedings within the legal time limits. 

Missing the time limits makes your claim more difficult and time-consuming, and you could lose the right to make a claim completely.  

Disclaimer: This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact specialist personal injury claim solicitor for guidance on your specific circumstances.

What Is The Time Limit To Claim For Personal Injury?

The time limit to claim for a personal injury is 3 years. Time starts running from the date you first became aware of your injury. It stops when you file your personal injury claim with the court. If you miss the time limit, you may lose your right to claim.

Big fat zero.

That could be how much you get for your personal injury, if you miss the time limits!  

You can’t just make a personal injury claim whenever you want. There are time limits. And unless there are exceptional circumstances, the court is strict about enforcing them.

You have to make your claim within three years of:

  • the date of your accident, or
  • the date you became aware of your injuries.

How do you know which one applies? Well, it depends on when you became aware of your injuries. The following examples will explain how it works:

Say you are a pedestrian walking across the road at a zebra crossing. A car fails to stop and knocks you down, breaking your arm. A broken arm is immediately obvious, right? When you have one, you know all about it!

So in that case, the time limit for making your personal injury claim will be three years from the date of the accident.

Say you are a joiner. You were working on house 20 years ago. You didn’t know it at the time, but there was asbestos in the roof. You’ve now been told that you have asbestosis in your lungs. The effects of asbestosis aren’t obvious until many years after exposure. So it was impossible to know about your injury when it happened.  

In that case, the time limit for making your claim will be three years from the date you first became aware of your injuries.

The clock runs until the day you lodge your claim with the court.

(The time limits for claims involving minors are slightly different. You can read more here.)

So what does all this mean?

Well, if it’s been a while since you’ve had your accident, or noticed your injuries, you need to act fast.

Don’t dither. If the deadline slips past, you might not have a valid claim at all anymore. You could be letting thousands of pounds slip through your fingers.

What should you do if you think time is running out?

You should speak to a personal injury solicitor. They’ll be able to advise you what to do. Even if you think the time limit has expired for your claim, you should still see a solicitor. In certain situations, the time limits can be extended.

Read on, because in the next section, you’ll find out how to pick the best personal injury solicitor for your case.

The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.

If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team @ Lightlaw

Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.