How long do I have to bring a claim?
When bringing a claim, there are strict time limits in place that govern when you can and cannot bring a claim. These time limits are referred to as a limitation period. For personal injury and disease claims, you have three years to bring a claim from the date of your injury. This is straightforward for personal injury claims but more complicated for disease claims.
The rules for limitation are that you have three years to bring a claim, from:
i) The date you realise that your injury is significant, AND
ii) The date you realise that your injury has been caused by work.
Example 1 – Personal Injury- Claim a broken leg.
Arthur breaks his leg at work after falling from some faulty machinery. The date of Arthur’s accident was the 2nd January 2009. Arthur has until the 2nd January 2012 to issue his claim at court.
In this example it is clear that Arthur was aware that his injury was significant from the moment he fell from the faulty machinery. Arthur knew that this accident occurred whilst he was working on the 2nd January 2009.
Example 2- Industrial Disease- Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
John worked for British Steel between 1965 and 1980. In 2005, John noticed he was struggling to hear conversations in groups. In January 2009, John considered that his hearing was significantly worse than what it had been, previously. He was turning up the television and regularly asking people to repeat themselves. John assumed that the decline of his hearing was owing to him getting older.
However, it was only in January 2010 that John had a conversation with a friend who made him realise that working in a noisy environment may have damaged his hearing. This was the first time that this has ever occurred to John. John therefore has until January 2013 to issue his claim at court.
It is the combination of when John considered his injury to be significant and crucially; when he made the connection that his hearing had been made worse, by working in a noisy environment that the three year time limit, begins to run.
How long you have to make a claim can often be confusing and difficult to determine. If you would like further information or if you think you may have a claim and would simply like to discuss this in more detail; please do not hesitate to contact us for some free advice.