As a general rule, you must start your clinical negligence claim within 3 years of your knowledge of the negligence alleged.
If this time limit expires, you could be prevented from ever bringing a negligence claim in relation to it. However, this time limit can be altered by certain circumstances. One example would be if you only found out you had been the victim of negligence after the date on which it occurred. So if a negligent misdiagnosis occurred several years ago, and you have only now become aware that a serious medical condition was overlooked, the 3-year time limit will begin from the date when you found out about the negligence.
There are other rules which can affect the time limit.
- Children – if a child is the victim of clinical negligence the 3-year time limit does not start to run until the child’s 18th
- Death of claimant – If the claimant dies before their claim is brought or finished, the 3-year limit runs from the date of their death so long as their death occurs within 3 years of their date of knowledge of negligence.
- Capacity – if the claimant does not have the ability to understand that they have suffered negligent treatment. In this situation until they regain the capacity the 3-year rule does not apply.
If you are thinking of claiming compensation for clinical negligence, or if you are concerned it might be too late, contact us as soon as possible so that we can advise you.