If you are hoping to pursue a claim for a birth injury, you need to begin court proceedings within three years of the negligent event.
Time limits for medical negligence claims
Medical negligence claims (also called clinical negligence claims) are subject to a three year time limit. This means that your solicitor must begin court proceedings within three years the negligence occurring.
Thus if you sustained a fourth degree tear during childbirth on 1st January 2014 which was not repaired, you will have until 1st January 2017 to bring a claim.
Later date of knowledge
In some cases it will be possible to rely upon a later date of knowledge. This means that you did not initially know about the negligence, and a significant amount of time elapsed before you became aware of it.
For example, some women will sustain a fourth degree tear which is not diagnosed and repaired shortly after birth (which is negligent). It is possible that years pass before this injury is eventually detected.
In such cases, the three year time limit may commence on the date that knowledge was acquired. Your solicitor will be able to say whether or not you can rely upon a later date of knowledge.
Exceeding the date of limitation
The date by which you must bring a claim by is called ‘the date of limitation’. If you exceed the date of limitation – i.e. you have not brought a claim before the courts within three years – you will not be able to continue with your claim. If you have already started legal action, it is your solicitor’s responsibility to ensure you do not miss the date of limitation.
If, on the other hand, you have not already started legal action, it will be impossible for you to start a claim. A solicitor will not be able to start a claim if the date of limitation has already expired.
Even if you seek legal advice in the months, weeks or days preceding the date of limitation, you may find that a solicitor is unable to take your case on. Indeed, medical negligence claims take a number of years to complete, so a solicitor will need a certain amount of time to deal with your case.
Do not delay
Because of the strict time limits at play, it is very important that you do not hesitate when seeking expert legal advice. Contact us today to discuss claiming compensation for a birth injury.