When the Clock Stops on Making a Claim


Last week a 50 year old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder PC Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot and killed aged 25 outside the Libyan Embassy in London. But, what's different about this case is that she died in 1984 – 3 decades ago.

Are you out of time?

With many of our enquiries comes the added caveat; "But, this happened 3 years ago – can I still make a claim." So we thought we would set out the different limitation periods that can prevent us from bringing a case forward if we leave it too late:

Criminal Injury Claims – 2 Years

For serious criminal cases involving murder, rape, or child abuse, the clock never stops on finding and prosecuting the offender. However, on the part of the victim or their family, there is a time limit on any claims for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a violent crime, you can claim compensation as long as you do so within 2 years of the incident taking place. In light of the recent successful claims brought about by the revelation of historical child abuse scandals across the UK, the fact there are some time limits might surprise you.

Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Claims – 3 Years

A personal injury can take place anywhere; it can be at work, in your home, on the road, or the result of a medical professional's mistake. If your injury is someone else's fault and you wish to make a claim, the limit is 3 years. In cases involving boats and planes, the time limit is only 2 years.

There are some exceptions here, for example, the time runs from when you are aware of the injury or negligence. This applies to victims of asbestos exposure who often only become aware of the exposure when they become ill many years later.

Lots of people aren't aware of the time restrictions and miss out. It's important to know the limits and, if you're nearing the end of the 3 years, to get the help of a solicitor that can progress your case quickly.

In claims involving children, they will have 3 years from their 18th birthday to bring a claim. So, if for example a 10 year old child has an accident, they would technically have 11 years to bring a claim.

Some flexibility has also been afforded in claims involving sexual abuse. Whilst the 3 year limit does still apply, recent high profile convictions have shown that the courts have been more lenient in giving claimants discretion to claim years later. This is because so many people were fearful of speaking out about the abuse when they were young.

Employment Tribunal Claims – As Little as 3 Months

The time limits for bringing an employment claim at the Employment Tribunal are much more restrictive. For unfair dismissal, discrimination, contract claims, and unlawful deduction from wages, you only have 3 months to bring a claim. For cases involving redundancy payment or equal pay, you have 6 months.

Other Time Limits Include…
  • Libel, slander or malicious falsehood – 1 year
  • Breach of Contract – 6 years

Be Aware of Time Limits

As you can see, the differences in limitation periods vary hugely depending on what your problem is. Many people put off making a claim, mistakenly believing they have all the time in the world to claim the money they're entitled to, only realising their mistake when it's too late.

It's important to seek advice quickly if you have suffered a personal injury. Even if you think you might be out of time, speaking to one of our solicitors could help. In some cases, choosing a solicitor that works quickly and efficiently can give you a chance of getting compensation.

Our solicitors are experts in handling personal injury claims and will provide you with the expert advice you need to receive the compensation you're entitled to.

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