Deborah was caring with regard to my health and also prompt with any info for me.
Don't Delay Seeking Advice about a Claim
Mon 27th Feb 2012 Personal injury
The bringing of a personal injury claim is subject to a 3-year time limit. This normally begins when an accident happens and in most situations the date is fairly obvious.
There are occasions when the date
of an injury is not obvious. For example, when a progressive condition such as
Repetitive Strain Injury is involved it may not be easy to establish when the
condition actually started. Other conditions may have a delayed onset such as
Noise Induced Hearing Loss when the symptoms of hearing loss may not appear for
many years after the exposure to noise at work happened.
For straightforward situations where you have an accident at work or elsewhere and you suffer injury as a result, the time limit will almost always start on the day of the accident.
You may therefore feel that 3 years gives you plenty of time to pursue a claim. That is not a reason to delay seeking legal advice.
The main problem with delay is evidence. You often need photographs of whatever caused your accident and injuries and these need to show the state of any defects or equipment as they were when the accident occurred. If you trip over a defect in the pavement you need to prove the condition of the pavement at the time of your fall; not how it looks months or maybe one or two years afterwards.
You may need to rely upon eyewitness evidence and if you leave it until much later to make contact with them, their recollection may not be as good as when it first occurred. They may for example have moved house or changed their telephone number.
Another problem which can often arise is in relation to identifying a Defendant with adequate insurance to meet any claim. If it is a company, the company may have ceased trading in which case it may be removed from the Register of Companies. It takes time for the company to be restored to the register to enable Court action to be brought against it. Also, if an accident happens on private land it may be more difficult to establish the landowner or occupier of the land as the months and years tick by.
Put simply, if you leave it too late to present a claim, it will become very difficult for your solicitor to properly prepare and present the evidence obtained to support it, even though you might still be within the 3 year time limit.
I have this morning spoken to a lady who wanted to bring a claim against her employer in relation to an accident which happened in November 2009 when she slipped on some steps at work. She suffered an injury to her knee and took five months off work as a result.
She has been claiming Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and therefore thought that a personal injury claim would be successful. Unfortunately it is going to be very difficult to prove negligence or a breach of duty on the part of her employers because she is not able to prove the condition of the steps at the time of her fall. Had she sought legal advice nearer the time then the prospects may have been greater.
If you have had an accident that you believe is the fault of someone else you should speak to a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. That way you give yourself the best possible chance of obtaining the justice you deserve.
For further information or if you have been injured following an accident, please contact Julia Prior, a Senior Solicitor in our Personal Injury team, on 023 8085 7316 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please fill in our Contact form and we will call you back.
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