• For most adults, the time limit for bringing a claim (known as the Limitation Period) is three years from the date of the accident or incident that was the cause of your injuries or illness.
  • The three-year period for children under eighteen does not start until they reach their eighteenth birthday and ends on their twenty-first birthday. So, if a child has an accident at the age of five, they don’t need to start their claim until they are eighteen. (In reality, their parents or guardian are likely to start a claim on their behalf whilst the child is still a minor).
  • For protected persons who lack mental capacity, their time limit for claiming for personal injury only starts when they regain capacity. However, they will have guardians or attorneys appointed by the Court of Protection or a Power of Attorney who can bring a claim on their behalf.
  • If the protected person never regains mental capacity, their time for making a claim will never end, meaning a claim could be made on their behalf at any time during their life.

In some accident or injury circumstances, it would be unfair if the time limit for claiming commenced on the date of the incident causing the injury or illness. In cases of medical negligence or asbestos claims, it is often impossible to pinpoint when the negligence took place

Asbestos-related illnesses are only diagnosed many years after the victim was exposed to asbestos, and the period between exposure and diagnosis can be between ten to sixty years.

An asbestos victim can’t start an asbestos claim until diagnosed with asbestos disease. Even then, it’s impossible to know the precise date or dates of the exposure that was the cause of their condition.

The same applies to medical negligence. A health care professional‘s negligence caused that physical or mental harm may only come to light at a much later date than when the negligence occurred. It may not be possible to pinpoint when the negligent act occurred.

For these reasons, the time limit for bringing a claim for medical negligence or asbestos disease ( and in some personal injury cases) will be three years from the Claimant’s date of knowledge, with ‘date of knowledge’ being defined as the date the Claimant became aware:

  1. That the injury or illness was a significant one.
  2. That the injury or illness was attributable in whole or in part to the act or omission alleged to constitute negligence or breach of duty.
  3. Of the identity of the proposed Defendant in the claim