have you been mistreated medically?

time limit for pursuing a claim

If you have been left with an illness or injury as a result of medical negligence, it is important to be aware of the strict time limits surrounding clinical negligence claims.

Court proceedings, i.e. the issue of a claim form in the High Court or County Court, must begin no later than three years from either:

  1. The date of the negligent act, or if later
  1. The date when the injured person should have been aware of the following facts:

(a)    The identity of the potential defendant, be it your General Practitioner, A&E doctor, surgeon, nurse, etc

(b)   That they have suffered a significant injury

(c)    That this was caused by an act or omission on the part of the defendant

the importance of making a timely claim

Missing this three-year deadline is highly likely to spell the end of your claim, as it will be ‘statute barred’ and cannot be pursued through the Court except in exceptional circumstances.

The fact that you have a valid case will not automatically be regarded as an exceptional circumstance if the deadline is not met. It is essential to contact an experienced solicitor as soon as possible if you are thinking of making a claim, to avoid missing the deadline and the serious consequences of this.

Claimants should also be aware that there is a substantial amount of work that needs to be done prior to the issue of proceedings. In cases relating to death, it may be necessary to obtain a Grant of Representation of the Estate before a claim can be brought.

This emphasises the importance of claiming early – the three-year time limit does not mean that you have three years to decide whether or not to claim.

what about victims under the age of 18, or those who lack mental capacity?

The law says that minors cannot be deemed to have relevant knowledge for pursuing claims. Therefore, the earliest a minor can be deemed to have knowledge on their own behalf is their 18th birthday, meaning the limitation deadline expires on day they turn 21.

Victims of medical negligence who do not have mental capacity might be able to issue proceedings at any time, as the three year period is deemed not to have started. If they regain mental capacity, the three year period could start to run at that stage.

contact lees

If you are a victim of clinical negligence, you should contact an experienced solicitor without delay if you want to receive the compensation you are owed.

Our team is vastly experienced in successfully representing clients in these cases, and we will work hard to ensure you are fully compensated for your injury. Call us free on 0800 387 927 for further information.

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  • FAQs
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Do you think it is a good case?

It is hard to assess the merits of a case fully before we have seen the relevant medical records and, if necessary, seen the reports from independent experts.  Our usual procedure is to consider the facts given to us by the client and then decide whether we are able to take the enquiry any further.  We would then review it again once the medical records and any other documents or reports are to hand, and indeed, will keep the merits of the case under review throughout the case.

How long will it take?

Investigation of a case usually takes between 18m-2yrs, although more complex cases can take longer. Much depends on how quickly the hospitals etc provide the medical records and then on what the waiting list of the experts are like, and whether you need to be seen by more than 1 expert.

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What did you think of Lees Solicitors? 

I was kept constantly up to date as soon as information from the Defendant was received,  (rather than have to 'chase' and constantly ring up for news).Fiona Kempand her team treated me as a person and not just another client and it was always with courtesy, respect and friendliness. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Lees.

What did you think of Lees Solicitors?

You have been extremely kind and helpful and I've been very happy with the service that I have received all along.  Someone was always available to answer my calls, and if they could not answer my call they would get back to me the same day

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