Claim for your personal injury three years from the date of diagnosis!

If you were hurt as a result of another person’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. However, it is critical to understand the time constraints for making such claims and any exceptions that may apply. Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you understand the legal process and create a solid case.

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KEY TAKEAWAY: What happens if you fail to file your personal injury claim within the time limit?

Personal injury claims have a strict time limit, usually 3 years, with some exceptions. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to compensation.

  • What is a personal injury claim?
  • How long do you have to file a personal injury claim?
  • Are there exceptions to the personal injury claim time limit?
  • Do you need a personal injury lawyer?

Learn about the time limits and exceptions to filing a personal injury claim below.

What is a personal injury claim?

A personal injury claim is a legal action to recover compensation for loss, disease, or injury caused by another person’s negligence. For you to win in the following personal injury claims, you must show that the other party was at fault and that their conduct directly caused your injuries: 

  • Physical injuries from accidents: a car crash with broken ribs, a slip and fall at a grocery store with a fractured wrist, or a bicycle accident caused by a pothole resulting in road rash and a dislocated shoulder.
  • Work-related injuries or illnesses: Carpal tunnel syndrome from repeated typing, back pain from inappropriate lifting techniques, or hearing loss from extended exposure to noisy machinery.
  • Medical negligence injuries: surgical error causing nerve injury, misdiagnosis leading to exacerbated disease, or medication error resulting in adverse drug reaction.
  • Psychological injuries or mental anguish: PTSD after a severe automobile accident, depression following a major bodily injury, or sexual harassment at work causing anxiety.
  • Diseases from toxic substance exposure: Mesothelioma from breathing asbestos fibres, leukaemia from long-term benzene exposure, or respiratory problems caused by mould in a rental house.
  • Injuries from defective products: a burn from a broken electric kettle, a laceration from a defective table saw, or a head injury from a collapsed ladder.
  • Criminal injuries from assault or abuse: Broken jaw from a physical assault, psychological trauma from domestic violence, or sexual abuse resulting in PTSD and desperation.

How long do you have to file a personal injury claim?

Personal injury claims typically have a three-year time restriction. This three-year term generally begins on the date of the incident that caused harm. However, there are some cases when the clock starts ticking at a different time. This is known as the “date of knowledge” or “date of discovery.”

  • If the injuries or their cause were not immediately apparent, such as in cases of medical negligence (e.g.   , a failure to diagnose a condition or a surgical error that resulted in complications that manifested later), the three-year limitation period begins on the date the individual became aware or should have reasonably become aware of the injuries and their connection to the incident.
  • In cases where the injured party is incapacitated or unable to pursue legal action immediately after the incident (e.g., due to a coma or severe mental disability), the three-year window begins from the date of recovery or regaining the capacity to initiate a claim.
While the statute of limitations mandates filing a personal injury claim within three years, complex circumstances or significant injuries may make it impossible to complete the procedure within that time period. However, as long as you properly commence legal actions by registering your complaint with the court before the three-year deadline, you can proceed without worrying about the time limit.

Exceptions to the time limit for personal injury claims

Certain exceptions to the three-year statutory time restriction apply, allowing claims to be lodged outside of this time frame. The following are some significant exceptions to the three-year limitation period:

  1. Claims on behalf of minors: Parents or legal guardians can submit a claim for their child before they reach 18. If not, they will have until their 21st birthday to make their own claim.
  2. Criminal injury claims: If you were harmed in a violent crime, you have two years to file a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
  3. Diminished mental capacity: There is no time limit for filing a claim on behalf of someone who does not have the mental capacity to handle their own case.
  4. Fatal claims: When a loved one passes away, you have three years from the date of death to file a claim. If a post-mortem examination indicates that the death was caused by a negligent act or omission, the three-year term begins on the day you became aware of this information.
  5. Accidents on board ships: For incidents on cruise ships or ferries, you typically have two years from the day you disembarked to file a claim. For cargo ship accidents, the two-year period begins on the date of your injury. 
  6. International flights: Claims for accidents on overseas flights must be made within two years after arriving at your ultimate destination. This includes occurrences that happened after passing through passport control.
  7. Domestic flights: Domestic flight claims are subject to a two-year time restriction from the date of landing.

Failure to submit a personal injury claim within the prescribed time frame may have serious consequences. In most situations, it hinders the claimant from pursuing legal action based on the specific occurrence and demanding compensation for the injuries sustained. 

Did you know that?
In exceptional cases, the court may extend the three-year time limit if there is an undisputed claim and justifiable delay, as determined by factors such as the parties’ conduct.

Do you need a personal injury lawyer?

Given the time-sensitive nature of personal injury claims and the multiple exceptions to the typical three-year limitation period, it is important to consult with an injury lawyer as soon as possible following an incident. They can help you understand the specific time limits that apply to your case and take prompt action to ensure that your claim is submitted within the appropriate deadline, enhancing your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Furthermore, a solicitor’s experience is important in proving the four critical factors required to show liability in a personal injury claim:

  1. Duty of care: Your lawyer will show that the defendant had a legal duty to ensure your safety in the given circumstances.
  2. Breach of duty: Your lawyer will gather evidence to demonstrate that the defendant did not meet the requisite level of care, resulting in your injuries.
  3. Causation: Your lawyer will establish that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries, tying their acts or omissions to the harm you suffered.
  4. Damages: Your solicitor will establish quantifiable damages, such as medical expenditures, lost wages, and emotional distress, to demonstrate the degree of your losses.

To establish a solid case, your attorney will collect and present evidence to support each of these components. This might entail gathering witness testimony, speaking with experts, and getting medical records. Connect with a personal injury lawyer in just a few clicks – no registration required.

To summarise, understanding the time restrictions and exceptions for personal injury claims is critical to protecting your rights and obtaining the compensation you deserve. By contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, you may ensure that your claim is submitted within the proper deadline. 


  • Personal injury claims generally have a strict 3-year time limit.
  • Missing the deadline may result in losing your right to seek compensation.
  • Exceptions to the 3-year limit include claims for minors, criminal injuries, diminished mental capacity, fatal incidents, accidents on ships, and flights.
  • Consulting a personal injury lawyer promptly is crucial to ensure your claim is filed within the applicable time limit.

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