In the United Kingdom, most personal injury claims must be made within three years of the Date of Knowledge, otherwise known as the Date of Limitation. This is the date that one’s injuries became clear. After three years, most personal injury claims are time-barred or statute barred so they have no legal bearing. So if you had an accident a few years ago, you can make a claim, as long as your Date of Limitation is no more than three years ago.
Making a no win no fee accident at work or for a road traffic accident therefore is possible if your injuries only became clear a year or so ago. If this is the case with you, then you should seek specialist legal advice immediately. The best place to get advice is from a law firm offering a claims advice service. Claims advisors can help you to ascertain your eligibility to make a claim and give you an estimate as to how much your claim might be worth.
Exceptions to the three year limit and further information
In fatal cases, the three year personal injury limit applies from the date of death or the date that the death was linked to an accident (whichever is soonest).
For example, at the date of death, it may not have been known that a person had died of a cancer or other illness linked to asbestos exposure and this may only have been ascertained during a post mortem examination. The publication date of the post mortem examination in this case would be the Date of Knowledge used by a solicitor when making a claim.
And on the subject of asbestos poisoning, in the case of some industrial diseases, the ordinary three year limit does not apply. The three year limit in certain cases applies from the date of illness discovery, or the date that the link between work and illness was ascertained. This rule applies, so that people who have been diagnosed with an industrial disease years after exposure can get access to justice and fair compensation. Like ordinary claims, industrial disease claims can be processed on a no win, no fee basis.
In cases where you had an accident abroad (outside the UK), then other time limits may apply to your case. The law of the land usually comes into effect here, meaning that your time limit may be shorter than the three year limit of the UK. If you have been injured in an accident abroad, you should speak with a UK-based lawyer specialising in such accidents as soon as possible to avoid the risk of your case becoming statute barred.