How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

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Regardless of the type of injury, if you think you are able to prove that someone else was responsible for it, you’ll likely want to seek compensation. It is important to note that there are strict time limits attached to personal injury claims. If you fail to act in time, there is nothing that can be done and you will be unable to seek any compensation for your injury.

Although there are time limits in which you must have commenced court proceedings for your personal injury claim, there is much more leeway in the specific amount of time that you must wait before you can start your claim.

Generally for personal injury claims, you will have three years to complete your claim. If, on the third anniversary of your accident, you have not settled your claim, you will be barred from claiming any compensation for the event.

If, however, your claim resulted from an industrial accident or illness, the three year period does not start until the claimant first had ‘knowledge’ of the medical condition. This is usually determined as the date upon which a diagnosis was confirmed by a qualified physician.

The regulations which relate to children who have been injured or have become ill from an accident differ somewhat. The three year time frame still applies, but, instead of having three years from the date of the qualifying event in which to pursue a claim, instead the law states that a child has three years from the date of their 18th birthday in which to bring a claim. Their claim, consequently, must have been settled or court proceedings have been issued before the child (or adult, if the claimant has reached maturity) reaches his or her 21st birthday.

These provisions allow the parents or guardians of the affected child a choice at the time of the accident as to whether they are to claim straightaway—and have any related recompense awarded to the child placed in a court fund until the child reaches the age of 18—or to delay the claim until the affected child reaches the age of maturity. This allows them to make a decision to pursue their claim for compensation for injuries or illnesses they suffered as a child.

One anomaly to this rule: if an accident occurs on an aircraft, the limitation period is instead two years from the date of the accident.

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