What is the Time Limit for Medical Negligence Claims

What is the Time Limit for Medical Negligence Claims

For any dispute, whether it be between individuals or businesses, the law sets out time limits for disputes and claims to be made and resolved. There are specific time limits for making a medical negligence claim and although these may seem generous, it is sensible to seek advice at the earliest opportunity to prevent vital evidence, including the identification and recollection of eyewitnesses, being lost.

If you would like an initial, free, consultation on whether you may be able to make a successful medical negligence claim, call 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or use the enquiry form to request a call back.

How long do I have to make a medical negligence claim?

If a claim for compensation is to be made, then legal action must be commenced within three years of the event leading to the injury.

This time limit will run from either the date that the negligence occurred or the date that you became aware that the treatment you received was negligent.  This is referred to as the date of knowledge and for this you must be aware of three things:

  1. That the injury was significant;
  2. That the injury was attributable in whole or in part to medical negligence; and
  3. The identity of the responsible person or organisation, eg the hospital.

Are there any exceptions?

There are exceptions to this rule if the negligence relates to the treatment of a child or an adult who doesn’t have mental capacity.

In the case of a child, the limit begins to run on their 18th birthday.  This means that all claims relating to a child must be brought before the child turns 21 years old.

In relation to adults who lack capacity, there is no time limit.  The time limit will only apply if the adult regains mental capacity.  This will then apply in the usual way and the individual will have three years in which to bring a claim from the date they regain capacity.

If you bring a claim after the time limit has expired, you run the risk of the hospital, doctor or other health professional raising a time limit defence. If this time limit defence is successful, the claim will fail.  The Court does have the ability to extend the time period in limited circumstances, and the court must be satisfied that there is a very good reason for doing so.

Other medical negligence time limits

If your case has already started:

There is no time limit in which the claim must be concluded.  Once you have brought legal proceedings, the clock effectively stops.  It may be, therefore, be sensible to commence legal proceedings if you are nearing the time limit. Once legal proceedings have been started, negotiations can take place with the opponent, hospital or healthcare worker, to settle the claim.

Can I bring a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone who has died?

If a loved one has a potential claim and passes away it is still possible to bring a medical negligence claim on behalf of a deceased.

If they die during the three-year limitation period without bringing a claim, a new three year time limit begins to run from the date of the death.    

When can a child make a medical negligence claim?

There are special rules relating to children.

Time does not begin to run, against a child, until they reached their 18th birthday. At that point, they have three years in which to make a claim. Fortunately, they do not have to wait until their 18th birthday as a claim can be made on their behalf, by a family member.

Are there special time limits for vulnerable people to make a medical negligence claim?

There are no special rules for elderly, frail or vulnerable adults in making a medical negligence claim although if any adult lacks mental capacity to pursue a claim, someone can pursue that claim on their behalf. To determine if an individual lacks mental capacity, it is important to take early advice.  A family member can make an enquiry on their behalf as to whether a medical negligence claim can be pursued and if so, whether it can be made by them, on behalf of the vulnerable adult.

When Should I make a Medical Negligence Claim?

It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after the medical negligence to avoid valuable evidence being lost.   Not only may medical records go astray but it is most likely that over the passage of time memories will fade as to exactly what took place at the hospital, GP surgery, or elsewhere, where the medical negligence took place. Therefore, it can be imperative that once harm has been done and you believe there has been medical negligence, that you seek legal advice at the earliest stage possible. This may maximise your prospects of a successful claim.

If I make a Medical Negligence Claim will I have to go to Court?

It is most unlikely that you will have to attend a court, to make a successful medical negligence claim. The vast majority of cases are settled by negotiation.

Help with a Medical Negligence Claim

We offer a free initial consultation which allows you to explain your situation, so we can provide an assessment of whether we believe your have prospects of making a successful medical negligence claim and what the relevant time limits are.  For advice and help call 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or use the enquiry form to request a call back.

What type of Medical Negligence Claim can IBBClaims help with?

We have many years of experience, successfully winning compensation in a range of medical negligence compensation claims. Here are just a few examples of our expertise.

Is it necessary to make a Complaint before making a claim for Medical Negligence Compensation?

No. It is not necessary to make a complaint before making a medical negligence compensation claim. However, if you do make a complaint, ensure that you keep a copy of your letter or email (making the complaint) and the response received from the hospital, GP, Trust or other healthcare provider.

What information does a Medical Negligence Solicitor Need?

When you contact a medical negligence solicitor, they will ask you for a summary of what led to the medical negligence and harm suffered. In some circumstances a hospital, for example, may have already made an apology for what occurred and if they have, that letter should be available and ready to be passed onto the solicitor, so they may understand more of what led to the negligence and the outcome of the hospital enquiry.

Contact our Medical Negligence lawyers today

If you have experienced negligent medical treatment , you may be entitled to compensation. Contact IBB Claims' No Win - No Fee lawyers for a free initial consultation to discuss your circumstances. Contact us today on 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or complete our online form.  


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