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Time Limits for Medical Negligence Compensation Claims Explained

19th January 2017

For free legal advice call our Medical Negligence Solicitors on 0330 606 9673 or contact us online and we will help you.

By Medical Negligence Solicitor Daniel Comerford

In the UK there are time limits for bringing medical negligence claims for compensation. If you do not bring your claim within the relevant time limit you can be prevented from bringing your claim later, so it's important to know what time limit applies and to contact a Medical Negligence Solicitor as soon as possible to investigate your claim before the time limit expires.

Medical Negligence Claim Time Limits

In medical negligence claims the time limit is 3 years from the date of:

  • The negligence
  • The date the injured person knew the injury was linked to the negligence (the date of knowledge).

If the injured person dies within 3 years of the above, then their Estate can still bring a claim within 3 years of:

  • The date of death
  • The date of the personal representative’s knowledge.

The Date of Knowledge

This is normally when the following is first known:

a) That the injury was significant

b) That the injury was linked to the alleged negligent act

c) The identity of the defendant; and

Knowledge that any act did or did not involve negligence, is irrelevant.


Two key exceptions to the above time limits are:

  • If, at the time of the negligence, the injured person lacked mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings, the medical negligence claim may be brought within 3 years of the injured person regaining capacity or dying.
  • If the injured person is under 18, the time limit will expire on their 21st birthday.


The Courts do have a discretionary power to override these time limits but it uncommon for them to do so. If the Court does consider overriding the time limit they will look at, amongst other things: the length and reason for the delay, any effect the delay has had on the evidence, how the Defendant has responded in relation to the claim and any steps already taken.

Practical Considerations

Making a medical negligence claim is often a long process. Even a relatively simple claim involves a lot of work and can take around 2½ years from first contacting a Solicitor to conclude. It is a good idea to start the process as early as possible. This will allow the claim to be fully investigated whilst witnesses’ recollections are fresh and will avoid any issues relating to time limits.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness as a result of negligent clinical or medical treatment, it is essential to get expert legal advice on what to do next from a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor.

It is part of the Co-op’s ethos and values to provide help and support in enforcing legal rights so as to prevent injustice. We will always strive to secure the best possible compensation and rehabilitation support for our clients.

For free legal advice call our Medical Negligence Solicitors on 0330 606 9673 or contact us online and we will call you.

Free Consultation with

Daniel Comerford  - Clinical & Medical Negligence Solicitor
Daniel Comerford
Medical Negligence Solicitor

Daniel is passionate about securing compensation and rehabilitation support for victims of substandard medical care. 

He has specialised in clinical and medical negligence claims since 2008.

For a free consultation with Daniel call 0330 606 9673 or contact us to request a call.

Read Daniel's Bio

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