As with all medical negligence claims, birth injury claims are subject to certain time limits. In this article we explore these times limits, explaining how long you have, the exceptions to the rule, and what will happen if you miss the deadline.
How long do I have to make a claim?
Medical negligence claims must be made within three years of the negligent act. Therefore if you sustained a third degree tear on 1st January 2014, and you are told you are entitled to pursue a claim, you will have until 1st January 2017 to bring a claim. This deadline is called the date of limitation, as set out under the Act of Limitation.
What if a miss the deadline?
Because of this three year time limit, it is important not to delay when seeking legal advice. If you miss the three year limitation date, you will not be able to pursue a claim, even if you have very strong grounds for a case. Even if you are approaching the date of limitation, a solicitor may not be able to take your case on, as there simply will not be enough time to complete the process.
This means that as soon as you suspect there has been an incident of medical negligence, you must contact a solicitor as soon as possible.
Exceptions to the rule
There are some exceptions to the three year limitation date:
1. Lack of mental capacity: if the claimant (i.e. the person making the claim) lacks mental capacity, there will be no time limit.
2. Under the age of 18: if the claimant was under the age of 18 when the negligence occurred, he/she will have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim. In other words, the three year time limit begins from their 18thbirthday.
3. Later date of knowledge: if the claimant was not aware of the negligence at the time it occurred, it may be possible to rely on a later date of knowledge. The three year limitation period will begin from the first time he/she could have known about the negligence.
Start a claim today
Because of the time limits at play, it is important you do not hesitate to seek medical advice. If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, please get in touch with us today. We will put you through to a solicitor who will be able to explain the options open to you.