How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?
As a general rule an accident compensation claim must be registered with The Injuries Board (and acknowledged) within two years of the accident date. There are exceptions. In particular, where the “date of knowledge” is some time after the accident date, then the two year limitation period only commences on the “date of knowledge”. The date of knowledge is defined as the date a person became aware that the injury occurred, that it was significant and that it was attributable to negligence or breach of duty, and knew the identity of the Defendant (Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act 1991 Section 2). A typical example of a case where the time limit may be extended under this section is where a claimant sustains a very minor or trivial injury in an accident but subsequently becomes aware that the injury was significantly more serious. The term “significant” is not defined in the Act and so the particular facts of each case must be examined.
- Child Claimants:
An important exception to the two year rule is the case of child Plaintiffs (persons under the age of 18 years). When a child is involved in an accident, the two year limitation period only commences on the child’s 18th birthday so the Next Friend (usually a parent) may commence the claim at any time up until the child’s 18th birthday. If a claim has not been commenced by such date, the child himself may bring the claim at any time up until the day prior to his 20th birthday.
- Defective Products:
The time limit for claiming compensation for damage caused by a defective product is three years from the date the damage occurred or “date of knowledge” (Defective Products Act 1991).
- Legal Advice:
There are various other exceptions and it is important to consult your Solicitor for expert advice in each case.
If you would like to find out more about time limitations
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