Injury Compensation Claims: Time Limit Traps to Watch

Statute of Limitations

The term Statue of Limitations refers to the law which states the length of time a person has to make a personal injury compensation claim following an accident.  If not made within the appropriate time, the claim is lost no matter how serious the injury may be.

In most personal injury claims, the period is two years from the date of the accident causing the injury. 

In certain limited circumstances, the period can be two years from the date the injured person had knowledge that the injury had occurred and that it was someone else’s fault.  However, this area of law is complex and legal advice is essential.

PIAB/Injuries Board

Most injury compensation claims must be commenced in The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).  The time limit again is a two year period.  One cannot bring a claim to Court with a PIAB Authorisation.  However, once the claim is acknowledged by PIAB, the time limit period stops and only starts again six months after the date of the PIAB authorisation.  Court proceedings must then be issued within that time.

However, there are dangers.  Certain claims are outside the scope of PIAB and then the ordinary time limits apply to these.  Furthermore, it is essential that the person or persons being claimed against are properly identified in the application to PIAB.  Time stops running only against the persons named.

Requirement to Notify the Person You Are Claiming Against

In 2004, the Courts Act brought in a provision that made it necessary for a person claiming compensation for injury to send a letter of claim to the person responsible within two months from the date of the accident.  If this was not done, a Court could, later, at the hearing of the case, penalise the claimant in costs.

New Time Limit

This has now been tightened up.  Hidden away under Section 13 of a little known Act, The Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018, the date for notifying the claim has been reduced to ONE month from the date of the accident.  Furthermore, the Court now must (not may, as previously) consider why a letter of claim was not sent and must consider making an Order for Costs against the claimant, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Be Wary

It is clear, therefore, that injured persons who intend to claim compensation should be extremely aware of the strict time limits involved and legal advice sought at the earliest opportunity.  All aspects of personal injury compensation litigation are being tightened up at present and there are minefields there for the unwary.