In the United Kingdom there is a general rule that a personal injury claim must be brought within three years of the date the injury occurred or the date in which you realised that your injury was linked to a particular accident (this is particularly relevant in claims involving exposure to substances such as asbestos where the symptoms may develop many years after initial exposure to the substance).

In the case of children, the three year time limit begins from the date of their 18th birthday.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Three Year Time Limit?

There are exceptions to the three year time limit rule.  Some of these exceptions  include:

  • Cases where the accident happened abroad
  • Accidents involving aircrafts
  • Accidents involving animals
  • Harassment
  • Damage caused by vaccines

Does the Court Have the Discretion to Extend the Time Limit?

Yes, where it would be considered equitable to do so.  The court will take into consideration any prejudice granting or refusing to grant an extension would cause either party to the claim.  The following factors will be taken into account:

  •  the length of, and reasons for, delay
  •  the effect of the delay on the evidence to be produced by either party
  •  the extent to which the claimant acted promptly and reasonably once they knew that a cause of action had arisen