- In general terms the time limit for making a claim for personal injury is three years from the date of the accident or illness which gives rise to the claim.
- In the case of a child, the three years does not start until the child’s 18th birthday – but the child does not have to wait until then to start a claim.
- If you did not know at the time that you had been injured, or that you had acquired an illness, then the three years might apply from the date you first realised that you were injured or ill.
- In the case of criminal injury (e.g. assault) claims, the time limit is two years.
- In the case of accidents abroad, separate (sometimes very short) time limits apply and professional advice should be sought as soon as possible.
Accident claims – the importance of early investigation
To achieve the best possible outcome for our clients, it is our job to gather together as much evidence as possible about how the accident happened, and to do this as quickly as possible. This is why it is important to contact a solicitor early to seek advise on making a claim.
The types of details we will research include witnesses to what happened, their names and addresses. Obviously their memories of the event will be fresher in the weeks following the incident and it’s important they are approached early for written statements which may support your case.
In the case of road or work place accidents, a road layout or factory machinery may be altered for example so it is important to take photographs or request reports soon after the incident.
In the case of slipping and tripping accidents, urgent photographic evidence is crucial in case the defect may be repaired so that it cannot subsequently be examined.
If you have personal injuries, keep a daily diary of your symptoms with notes about how the injuries have restricted/affected your everyday life. Colour photographs of your injuries taken soon after the accident can also be of great help, at a later stage, in substantiating the nature of your pain and suffering immediately post-accident.