How long do I have to bring a claim for clinical negligence?

Posted by Gemma Osgood on

Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

The advice we give all of our clients is to contact a solicitor as soon as possible if you think you have a claim for clinical negligence. Clinical negligence cases take a considerable amount of time to investigate and therefore the sooner we can start to investigate your claim the better.

Clinical negligence claims are subject to the provisions contained in The Limitation Act 1980. Under this act, the limitation period for claims for personal injury or clinical negligence is three years. Therefore by this date the claim must either have been settled, or proceedings must have been issued at Court in respect of the claim.

There are exceptions to the three year rule, which are outlined below, but as a general rule, if the limitation period is exceeded then any opportunity to claim compensation can be lost and the claim can become statute barred.

When does the 3 year period start?

The starting date which the three years will run from is either the date of the negligence itself, or, if the Claimant did not know that negligence had occurred at that time, the earliest date upon which it was clear that negligence may have occurred. This effectively means that the three year limitation period will not start to run until the injured person finds out about the problem which can in some cases be many years after the medical treatment.

Exceptions To The 3 Year Rule

There are a number of exceptions to the three year rule which can stop or delay the limitation period. In addition the court also has a wide discretion to extend the limitation period, however such a power is rarely exercised.

Therefore the main exceptions to the general three year limitation period are:

Claims in respect of children - the three year period does not start to run for a child until they reach their 18th birthday. This means that the limitation period will expire on the eve of the 21st birthday

Claims in respect of people who do not have capacity. The three year period will not begin to run until a person gains or regains capacity, so in some cases the limitation period may never start to run.

Specialist Solicitors

Because of the complex nature of clinical negligence cases it is important that you instruct someone with the correct knowledge, skills and expertise. We are specialist solicitors operating throughout the United Kingdom with a wide range of clinical negligence expertise and many years experience.

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at

About the Author

Gemma is a Senior Associate in our Clinical Negligence team with extensive experience in all areas of medical negligence claims.

Gemma Osgood
Email Gemma
023 8085 7248

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