Is there a time limit to making a medical negligence claim?
In general, there is a three year time limit to make a claim after you become aware of the medical negligence. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule: if the victim of negligence is under 18 at the time, the three year limit starts on their 18th birthday, or, if the injured party is suffering from a mental illness, they have three years to make a claim upon their recovery from this illness.
Many of the issues dealt with when making a claim for medical negligence are more complicated than for other types of claim and the matter of how long you have to actually start the process is no exception. That’s just one more reason why anyone who feels they may have been affected by medical negligence should contact an injury lawyer before doing anything else. They’ll be able to listen to the details of your situation and give you a free and impartial judgement as to whether a claim is likely to be successful.
Precise time limits for starting medical negligence claims are laid out in legislation, albeit with a few exceptions being allowed. In simple terms, you have three years in which to make a claim, counted from the date upon which you first became aware that you had suffered injury as a result of medical negligence. It’s vital to note that this doesn’t mean three years since the treatment itself was actually undertaken, since some people may well experience a substantial delay until the symptoms of the medical negligence they’ve suffered begin to make themselves felt.
There are two major exceptions to this law, and those are cases which feature a patient who was a child at the time of the treatment, in which case the time limit doesn’t exist at all, and cases in which the patient was mentally ill when treated, the time limit for the latter being three years after they have recovered from mental illness.
As stated, however, there are exceptions to even these hard and fast rules – if a judge decides a claim merits it, then he or she may well waive the rules on time limits and allow the case to proceed anyway. This ambiguity is another reason why it’s vital to seek out expert help before embarking on such a claim. The best advice is that, if you feel you or a member of your family may have been the victim of medical negligence, you should start enquiring about making a claim for compensation as soon as possible.