What Is The Time Limit For A Medical Negligence Claim?

By Danielle Newton. Last Updated 13th January 2022. This guide will look at the time limit for medical negligence claims. Before reading this guide, you may have questions like “can I sue my doctor for medical negligence?”.  If you are looking for answers and advice, then this guide could help you find out the information you need. 

Time limit for medical negligence

Time limit for medical negligence guide

We will cover what medical negligence is, the time limits that apply for medical negligence claims and how medical negligence solicitors can help you figure out if negligence occurred. In addition to this, we will look at how much you could receive in a compensation claim, as well as how settlements are calculated. 

When you seek medical care, whether it’s from an NHS facility or private healthcare provider, you’re entitled to a minimum standard of care. Providing this minimum standard of care and not causing unnecessary harm is a medical professional’s duty of care. 

If this standard of care is not met, this is an example of medical negligence. If medical negligence has caused you harm, then you could be entitled to claim compensation.  

The solicitors on our panel can work under a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that you pay nothing upfront for their services. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any solicitor’s fees. If you win your case, then a small, legally-capped percentage will be deducted from your compensation by your solicitor.

Please contact us through any of the below methods to speak with an advisor: 

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  1. Why Is There A Time Limit For Medical Negligence Claims?
  2. What Is The Time Limit For Making A Medical Negligence Claim
  3. Medical Negligence Claim Time Limit – What Else Do I Need To Know?
  4. Medical Negligence Time Limit – Are There Any Exceptions to This?
  5. Can You Check If The Time Limit Has Expired?
  6. Compensation For Medical Negligence
  7. Medical Negligence Claims – Talk To Us About Your Claim
  8. Find Out More About Medical Negligence Claims 

Why Is There A Time Limit For Medical Negligence Claims? 

There is a 3 year limitation period for medical negligence claims. Limitations periods in compensation claims exist to protect defendants. If claims are made a long time after the fact, then the evidence might not exist for the defendant to disprove the claim. 

For example, sometimes hospitals only have to hold medical notes for a few years. These notes are vital in defending against claims. It also is very important to take witness statements as near to the event that took place as possible so that they are as accurate as possible.

What Is The Time Limit For Making A Medical Negligence Claim

Medical negligence, as we have already covered, is when the standard of care you receive in a healthcare facility falls below an acceptable standard. In order to claim, you need to show that the medical negligence caused you harm that you would not have experienced if you’d received the right level of care. 

However, you cannot claim for any harm that you experience in a medical setting. Sometimes, a healthcare professional will cause you harm but still be adhering to the standards of their profession. 

For example, you may be involved in an accident where your hand is crushed and cannot be repaired. As a result, the medical staff may make a decision to amputate your hand. 

While this procedure will cause you harm, this harm is necessary for treating your condition. Therefore, you would be unable to claim.

For more information on what time limit for a medical negligence claim could apply in your circumstances, speak with a member of our team today.

Medical Negligence Claim Time Limit – What Else Do I Need To Know?

The time limit for medical negligence claims is typically three years from the date that the unnecessary harm happened.

However, the medical negligence claim time limit could also be three years from the date that the unnecessary harm was connected to negligence. For example, if you were misdiagnosed with a sprain due to a doctor misreading your x-ray and it resulted in your bones healing in the wrong position, the limitation period for negligence might be three years after negligence was connected to your bones being in the wrong position.

In addition, you will need to prove that you suffered harm that was unnecessary and caused by a breach in the duty of care owed to you. For example, you may have letters or emails from the hospital that show you were initially diagnosed with a sprain. You could submit these, along with letters or emails that show your correct diagnosis and the x-rays to support your claim. These could contain a date that proves when the injury occurred and when it was correctly diagnosed.

If you need any help gathering evidence, our advisors are on hand to help 24/7. Our expert advice is free and, if it seems like you have a chance of a successful claim, they could connect you with our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors.

Medical Negligence Time Limit – Are There Any Exceptions to This?

You might wonder, ‘are there exceptions to the time limit for medical negligence claims?’. Under certain circumstances, the limitation period set out in the Limitation Act 1980 may be extended or suspended.

For example, you may discover at a later date that your injuries were caused as a result of medical negligence. The date you became aware of the negligence, or the date you were diagnosed by a medical professional, would be regarded as the date of knowledge and you could have three years from this point to begin a claim.

Additionally, the time limit for a medical negligence claim may be suspended or postponed if:

  • The claimant is under the age of 18 when they suffered harm from medical negligence. The limitation period begins from their 18th birthday.
  • The claimant does not have the mental capacity to pursue a claim. In this case, the time limit is suspended indefinitely unless they were to regain mental capacity.

A litigation friend may claim on behalf of a child or someone who lacks the mental capacity during the suspended period.

Speak to our advisors for any additional queries you may have. They are able to answer questions including, ‘is the time limit for NHS negligence claims different?’.

Can You Check If The Time Limit Has Expired?

You can contact us anytime to discuss your situation and check if you are still within the time limit for starting a medical negligence claim. You may also be wondering how long a medical negligence claim could take; we can provide you with guidance on this too.

It is important that compensation claims are made within the appropriate time limit. If this time limit passes, then the claim could become statute-barred. This means that compensation can no longer be pursued through a claim. 

You may be unsure whether or not you’re within the time limit for claiming. This may be the case particularly if any of the exceptional circumstances that we have already mentioned apply in your case. 

If you’re unsure, a solicitor can help. They can listen to you about the details of your case and let you know what time limit applies to your circumstances and whether this has passed. 

If you get in touch with a member of our team, not only will you be able to receive free legal advice, but you could be connected with a solicitor from our panel provided that your claim is valid. 

A solicitor from our panel will then take time to listen to your issues and gather all the information relevant to building your claim. You can explain the suffering you have been through and let them help you fight for the compensation owed to you, provided you’re within the time limit for a medical negligence claim. 

Compensation For Medical Negligence

If you have grounds to start a claim, then you may have questions about what sort of payout for medical negligence is usually offered. Some people may seek out a medical negligence compensation calculator to get answers. If you hire a solicitor to support you, then they can assist with calculating the value of your claim.

For your solicitor to be able to calculate the amount of compensation you should receive there are many factors to take into account. Some of the factors that will be considered include the severity of your injury and how much it’s impacted your quality of life. 

When you make a claim, you could receive two different “heads” of claim. These are general and special damages. General damages compensate you for your injuries and special damages compensate you for any financial losses that your injuries cause you to incur. 

Below, we have included a table of injuries and their relevant compensation brackets. As well as physical injuries, you could also be compensated for psychological damage caused by medical negligence. 

These figures are taken from the Judicial College. This is a publication used to help value claims.

Injury Type/Category Addition Details Compensation Bracket
Brain Damage – Very Severe Where the injured person will have little or no meaningful interaction with their environment £282,010 to £403,990
Kidneys (a) Serious and permanent damage to or loss of both kidneys. £169,400 to £210,400
Kidneys (c) Loss of kidney where the other has not been damaged. £30,770 to £44,880
Reproductive System: Female Infertility that happens because of a failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy £114,900 to £170,280
Reproductive System: Female Where there has been a failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy but there has been no impact on fertility. £3,390 to £20,430
Reproductive System: Female Sterilisation that has not been successful leading to unwanted pregnancy; however, no depression or serious psychological impact will result In the region of £10,200
Lung disease – (a) Where a young person is seriously disabled and the illness will probably progress leading to premature death £100,670 to £135,920
Lung disease – (b) Lung cancer that causes severe pain and impaired function and quality of life. £70,030 to £97,330
Lung disease – (c) A disease that results in worsening of lung function and impaired breathing. £54,830 to £70,030
Spleen – (a) Loss of spleen where internal infection is a continuing risk £20,800 to £26,290

In order to see how much your claim is worth, you may also be invited to a medical assessment. Here, an independent expert will create a report based on your injuries; this will be used to value your claim.

Special damages is the part of your claim that compensates you for the financial impact of your injuries. For example, you could claim a loss of earnings if your symptoms cause you to take time off work or for the cost of private medical treatment if this was not available on the NHS. 

In order to claim special damages, it’s a good idea to have evidence to show the losses you have incurred. For example, this could include invoices or payslips.

For more information on what could be included in a claim, or to find out whether you’re within the time limit for medical negligence compensation.

Medical Negligence Claims – Talk To Us About Your Claim

We hope that this guide has answered any questions that you may have had about medical negligence claims and the time limit to start such claims. If you have any further queries, you can contact our advisors at any time.

If you would like to have your claim valued or to learn more about the medical negligence time limit, then please reach out to one of our advisers now by:

Find Out More About Medical Negligence Claims

Below, we have included some internal and external links that you may find useful:

This page includes NHS Key Statistics 

The NHS Annual Report outlines statistics relating to the action taken against the NHS. 

The General Medical Council outlines the duties of a doctor.

Find out whether you need to work with medical negligence solicitors near you.

This guide explains the claims process for a child being starved for oxygen at birth

Our guide on claiming for medical negligence leading to sepsis.

This article covers everything you need in regards to medical negligence claims involving pressure sores.

If you or a loved one have suffered harm as a result of a leukaemia misdiagnosis, you could be entitled to make a clinical negligence claim. This guide explains the process and what evidence you may need.

If you would like to speak to an advisor after reading our guide explaining the time limit for medical negligence claims, we are happy to help. You can get in touch with our advisors either online or on the phone by using the contact details found above.

Article by AA

Publisher ET