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What are the medical negligence claims time limits?

Read time: 4 minutes

Carrie Tennick, November 05, 2019

No one wants to make a medical negligence claim. These claims are made after something has gone wrong and you have been harmed by treatment you received – treatment that was meant to help you overcome another condition.

A successful medical claim will allow you to claim the compensation that can help aid your recovery. That’s why it’s essential you’re aware of the medical negligence claims time limit. Missing the deadline will mean that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to make a claim.

What is the medical negligence claims time limit?

For most medical negligence claims, you’ll face a time limit of three years from the date the negligence took place. However, you may not actually be made aware of what happened for a long period. If this is the case, you will have three years to make a claim from the date of knowledge, which is when you discover what went wrong in your treatment.

If you’re making a medical negligence claim on behalf of a loved one who passed away, you will also typically have three years from the date of their death to make the claim.

It is rare that the courts will extend the time limit for a claim that doesn’t fit any of the established exceptions. You can try to bring a claim after the three-year limit, but the defendant will likely try to convince the court that your claim should be dismissed as it is past the usual deadline. This makes it important to start your claim as soon as you are able to.

Are there exceptions to the medical negligence claims time limit?

Yes, there are a few exceptions to the three-year time limit. For example, there are different rules for children who want to make a claim. They can do so at any point until their 18th birthday, after which they will then face a three-year time limit, meaning they are free to make a claim until their 21st birthday.

If you are claiming on behalf of someone without the mental capacity to make a claim for themselves, there is no time limit, unless they recover from their disability. This means you can make a medical claim on their behalf at any point.

There is also no time limit for claims that have already begun. Medical negligence claims don’t have to be wrapped up in any specific timeframe.

When should I begin a claim?

If you think you have grounds for a medical negligence claim, you should start the process as soon as you can. This will help ensure that you submit your claim within the time limit. These can be complex cases, so starting the claim early gives your legal team more time to investigate and try to reach the best resolution for you.

You will also likely find that the details of what happened are clearer in your memory the sooner you start a claim. This is also typically the case for any witnesses or anyone else involved in the case. It can also be more straightforward to access certain medical records, reports and other evidence if you begin a claim soon after realising what happened. In some cases, you will be unable to access medical records after a certain period, emphasising how important it is to begin the claim as soon as possible.

Another important benefit to beginning a claim quickly is financial. After beginning a medical negligence claim, you may be entitled to receive interim payments while your claim is ongoing. This can go a long way towards helping you pay for certain expenses related to your claim, including travel to and from medical appointments and any additional treatment.

This make it important to find legal help as soon as you can. Contact First4Lawyers to find out how our specialist medical negligence solicitors can help you claim the compensation you’re entitled to for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced.