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How Long Do I Have To Claim For Medical Negligence?

How Long Do I Have To Claim For Medical Negligence?

There are time limits imposed upon medical negligence claims, so it is important not to delay in seeking expert legal advice.

Time limits for medical negligence claims

When making a medical negligence claim, you must bring the claim before the courts within three years of the negligent event.

For example, if you suffered a perineal tear while giving birth and this was not recognised, you will have three years to bring a claim, starting from the date you gave birth.

Or if you attended hospital for a suspected broken bone but the fracture was not diagnosed, you will have three years to bring a claim, starting from the date you initially attended hospital.

Exceptions to the rule

There are some exceptions to this three year rule:-

If the Claimant was under the age of 18 when the negligence occurred, he/she will have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim (i.e. three years starting from their 18th birthday).

If there is a gap between the negligence occurring and the Claimant becoming aware of the negligence, the three years will begin from the date of knowledge (i.e. the date the Claimant suspected there has been a case of negligence). For example, if a woman has a failed sterilisation, she will not become aware of it until she falls pregnant. In such cases, the three years will begin from the date she discovered she was pregnant.

If the Claimant does not have mental capacity, there will be no time limit whatsoever.

What if I miss the time limit?

Unless the aforementioned exceptions apply, you will not be able to make a claim after the three year time limit has expired.

When you contact a solicitor to make an initial enquiry, you will be asked about the dates of the negligence and the date of knowledge.

If the date of limitation is approaching, it is unlikely you will find someone to take your case on. This is because medical negligence claims can take a number of years to complete. Therefore a solicitor will not be able to run a case that is nearing the date of limitation.

During the course of a claim, a solicitor may apply for an extension of time, meaning the claim may continue beyond the date of limitation. However, this will not always be granted and cannot be relied upon.

Start your claim today

Because of the time restrictions in place, it is best not to delay when speaking to a solicitor about a medical negligence claim.

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

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