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Deadlines in personal accident cases

Suffering an accident can impact every area of your life, with your physical and mental well-being being affected. It is common for that impact to reach your loved ones as well.

You may suffer a financial hit as well, as you may have time off work or have to pay for treatments and rehabilitation. It may be possible for you to make a compensation claim, but there are often deadlines you must adhere to.

What is a personal injury case?

Personal injury cases occur when there is a legal dispute after someone has had an accident due to negligence or intentional actions by a third party. In these legal challenges, a claim is formed to seek compensation for medical expenses incurred as well as any lost wages, pain and suffering or other damages that occurred as a result of the incident.

Typically, claims stem from incidents such as car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, or even a sporting injury that is down to negligence. There is no template for such a claim, so all claims will be considered on their own merit.

You may assume that compensation claims are expensive and complicated, meaning they may give up their chance for compensation. But, with the right team of solicitors on your side, the process can be made simple.

Why are deadlines important in these cases?

In the UK, the standard deadline for starting a personal injury claim for negligence is 3 years, although courts may make exceptions and extend the time limit depending on the circumstances.

These deadlines are important to help keep the justice system fair and lawful. With courts already suffering a backlog and delays, having personal injury cases drag on indefinitely would only worsen the issues. Having a 3-year deadline means that the court system can keep moving forward for everyone.

Similarly, it could be viewed as unfair to expect parties involved to be held accountable years after the fact. One of the tenets of the Human Rights Act 1998 is the right to a fair trial within a reasonable timeframe.

Evidence is often a crucial part of any legal case, but it can degrade or change as the years go by. By sticking to a 3-year deadline, evidence can be preserved and kept safe for both the accused and the accuser. Witnesses also play a part in a personal injury claim, but their memory can be affected over time. By taking their statements soon after the incident you are more likely to get an accurate timeline of events.

If you are thinking of starting the process for a personal injury claim, it is better to start sooner rather than later. Although 3 years may not seem like a long time, getting your claim started before the deadline ensures you will have all the evidence you need as well as the legal backing of the courts.

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