There are time limits imposed on making a personal injury claim, and if you exceed these, your compensation will be lost. They are:
- 3 years from the incident for an accident that was not your fault
- 3 years from your diagnosis if your claim is for an industrial illness
- 3 years from the date of death for a fatal injury claim
- 2 years if your claim is for injuries sustained in a violent crime
- 2 years if the accident happened on board a ship or plane
- 21st birthday if your were under 18 at the time of an accident
- 20th birthday if you were under 18 at the time of a crime
There are very rare exceptions where a court can overturn these time limits, but there have to be exceptional circumstances why the claim was not made in time and usually it only happens in a mental injury case.
Providing your injuries were severe enough to need medical attention, if they were caused through the actions of someone else, and you are within the time limits, you would be entitled to compensation.
It is better not to wait
The time limits are there so that someone cannot claim for an accident many years later, but you do not have to wait till they are nearly over to make your claim. If fact you should do just the opposite and make your claim as soon as possible after the incident that caused your injuries.
It does appear that the claims that are made sooner have more chance of a successful outcome. This could be because the evidence is more easily remembered after a shorter period of time, so probably more accurate. Over time, memories can become more vague and this could contribute to your claim being lost.
Why wait anyway? It is inevitable that when you have been injured you will incur extra costs, and if you are employed you could need time off work to recover, so your income could drop dramatically.
At a time when you may not be feeling your best and could be traumatised because of the accident, additional worries about money are not going to help.
A compensation payment, plus the extra costs and losses being repaid to you, could give you financial stability and just let you concentrate on getting better.
You do not need to worry about the money to finance your claim either. Good law firms, who will tell you to claim today don’t delay, will also operate on a no win no fee basis. They will take the financial risk of your claim and will not ask you for any money to start your claim or if your claim is lost.
Since the no win no fee agreement was introduced for personal injury claims in April 2000, it has been the way most of them are financed as it does mean that making a claim is accessible to everyone, and their financial circumstances do not have to be considered.