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Compensation Claim: The time period to start your claim for compensation following an injury in a UK accident

Cpompensation claim: The time period for starting your compensation claim can vary depending on the country in which you are making your claim - using England and Wales as an example find out what time period must be obeyed with several exceptions to the general rule.

What is a compensation claim for personal injury following an accident?

A "compensation claim" is a claim for money to compensate you for injuries you have suffered and financial loss you have sustained following an accident, medical negligence or industrial disease.

How long do you have to start a compensation claim?

In England and Wales you have three years from the date of an injury or the date of "knowledge of your injury" to start your claim at court failing which your claim will be "time barred".

Compensation claim

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"Time barred" is another way of saying that the law sets out three years as a sufficient amount of time for a normal individual to start a claim - after this time an otherwise strong claim will fail or be barred purely by the passage of time.

Are there any exceptions to the three year time period to start your compensation claim?

"Yes" - there are several exceptions to the three year time period to start your compensation claim including:

1. If you are under the age of 18 years at the time of your accident

If you are under 18 years of age you are considered a "minor" or a "child" and as such the three year time period only starts to run when you become an adult. In other words - you have until your 21st birthday to start your compensation claim.

2. Mental capacity

For the three year time period to run you must have sufficient mental capacity to deal with your own affairs. If you are suffering from certain recognised mental disorders at the time of your accident or as a result of your accident - the three year period will not start to run until you are better.

3. Date of knowledge

Sometimes you may not be aware you have suffered an injury.

A good example of such times this might happen is with industrial diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. Both of these diseases may initially show no symptoms or be mistaken for more innocent conditions such as flu.

It can be a number of years, sometimes 20 years for mesothelioma, before you show symptoms and are diagnosed with the condition.

In these cases you have three years from the date you knew that you had actually suffered an injury.

4. Court's discretion

If the relevant time period has passed your solicitor can apply to court to request that your compensation claim be started out of time - the court has a power to permit your claim to continue.

How do you start a compensation claim for the purpose of complying with time limits?

A compensation claim has to be started in court - your solicitor will send certain documents to the court and it is only when the court acknowledges receipt and date stamps your claim that the time period will stop running.

Compensation claim time periods summary

On this page I have explained what a compensation claim is, the time period to start a claim and how to stop the time period from running.

If you have suffered an accident and are considering making a compensation claim I recommend you:

Click compensation claim to find out about all types of accident and the process of making a compensation claim