Mar 5, 2013

Don't Let the Time Expire on Your Chance to Claim

Failing to adhere to the strict legal time limits for compensation claims could be a costly mistake. Seeking professional advice at the earliest opportunity is the best way to ensure you get everything you may be entitled to.

Accidents are an unfortunate fact of life but, partly as a result of changes in advertising legislation, the general public is becoming increasingly aware that, in cases where the accident was someone else's fault, they may be entitled to claim compensation.

At the time of the accident itself, such claims are often the last thing on the mind of the victim and their family but unless a personal injury compensation claim is made within the legal time limits, the injured party may lose out completely and have their claim barred.

According to the 1980 Limitation Act, compensation claims have to be made within three years from the date that the injury occurred, though there are a large number of exceptions which can both extend and reduce the time available.

If, for example, an injury has been caused as a result of physical assault rather than an accident, the time available drops to two years. A reduced time limit can also apply to injuries that are sustained aboard aircraft, depending on the circumstances.

In some cases it simply isn't possible for a claim to be made within three years. The symptoms of industrial illness caused by exposure to asbestos or other harmful materials may not manifest until many years later. In such cases, the compensation clock begins ticking from the moment the illness is discovered. Similarly, if an injury has occurred but gone unnoticed for some time, it may be possible to make a claim even though more than three years have elapsed.

When the injured person is a child, action can be started by parents or guardians acting on their behalf but they also have three years to make a compensation claim starting from the date of their 18th birthday, regardless of how old they were when the accident that led to the injury took place.


This additional time allowance can be crucial as, in some cases, it will not be possible to correctly diagnose the full severity of any injuries suffered by a child for many years. The law makes it possible for parents of guardians to delay proceedings until more information becomes available.

Although overall time limits are strict, there are many instances where they are subject to variation. Claims for work-related illness can be particularly complicated as the dates when symptoms first appear and when they are linked to the workplace may be very different, though either may be used to begin a claim.

Also, if a person dies part way through making a claim, the clock restarts allowing their family three years to pursue an injury compensation claim on their behalf. In all cases, the best course of action is to seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure potential claims never become invalid.

AUTHOR BIO : Diyana Hall writes regularly on consumer law topics such as how to make a personal injury compensation claim for a variety of legal blogs and websites. When not writing, Diyana enjoys golf, tennis and motor racing.

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