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Medical Negligence Solicitors

Is There A Time Limit On Medical Negligence Claims?

As with many compensation claims, medical negligence claims have a time limit. Learn more about how time limitations may affect your claim.

Is There A Time Limit On Medical Negligence Claims?

If you have suffered as a result of a medical mistake, you might be considering making a medical negligence claim. These claims can be complex and often require a lot of information in order to be assessed properly, so it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

As with many compensation claims, medical negligence claims have a time limit. At Been Let Down, we have a team of specialist solicitors who are well versed in dealing with these types of cases, and we want to help you while we still can.

Get in touch with us for advice on whether you have a valid claim by making an enquiry online or by speaking to us directly.

What is the time limit for medical negligence claims?

For adults who have capacity, the time limit for medical negligence claims is three years from date the negligence occurred, or the date you became aware of it. That is because symptoms or related illnesses can sometimes take time to present themselves.

Are there exceptions to time limits on medical negligence claims?

As these types of cases can be complex in nature, and the effects can vary widely from one example to the next, there are exceptions to the standard three-year medical negligence claim time limit.


Children under the age of 18 have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to bring a claim forward. This exception has been designed so that once legally an adult, the individual can pursue the claim themselves.

However, if a parent has made a claim on behalf of a child before they turn 18, the child cannot make a claim for the same case of medical negligence once they are an adult.

Additionally, if an individual suffered medical negligence as a child, but then are deemed to lack the mental capacity to make a claim as an adult, there is no stated time limit for medical negligence claims.

Victims with diminished mental capacity

If the claimant is a protected party, usually an individual with a diagnosed mental impairment, or they lack the mental capacity to understand the claim, there is no immediate time limit for their medical negligence claim. This also applies if the negligence they suffered resulted in diminished mental capacity or brain damage. This decision is arrived at by the solicitor with the aid of medical experts.

However, if they are fortunate in recovering from their mental illness and deemed capable of handling their medical negligence claim, they will have three years from the date of their recovery. If they then lose mental capacity again, the clock on limitation continues to tick.


If the victim of medical negligence has passed away, the family of the deceased have three years from the date of death to bring a claim forward on behalf of the victim’s estate, so long as the limitation has not already expired. If the negligence is undetected until the victim dies, the three-year time limit for medical negligence claims applies from the date of death or discovery, whichever is later.

Should a claimant pass away during the process of making a claim, the personal representative (usually a family member) will have three years from the date of death to continue with their claim, as it may need to be reviewed or restarted.

How will I know if the time limit has expired for my medical negligence claim?

Generally speaking, you will already know the date your medical negligence occurred or when you became aware of it. If three years have passed, your claim will likely be barred by the court.

It is important to make your medical negligence claim as soon as you can, to prevent it from becoming time-barred.

However, it is always worth obtaining legal advice to check exactly when your time limit ended as there are some limited circumstances in which a court may allow you to bring your claim outside of the usual deadline.

What can I do if I am approaching the time limit to make my medical negligence claim?

Medical negligence cases can be complex and the faster you start the process, the more likely it is that you will have all the necessary evidence to achieve a quick, easy and successful claim.

At Been Let Down, our team will never pursue claims that are likely to be dismissed or barred from court due to the time limit expiring. Once you contact us, our experienced medical negligence specialists will be able to advise you on deadlines and the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Why is there a time limit on medical negligence claims?

You may be wondering why there should be a time limit for medical negligence claims. Given their serious nature and potential long-term effects, many claimants don’t understand why such a deadline is in place.

Due to legal requirements, there are several valid reasons that the medical negligence claims time limit has been set at three years. They include:

  • Witnesses may forget what happened over time. Our memory of events can fade and medical negligence claims require a huge amount of accurate detail for their success.
  • Medical notes may be lost or destroyed. Hospitals are only required to hold records for a certain number of years. The sooner a medical negligence claim can be made, the easier it should be to obtain these documents for your claim.

The earlier you make your claim, the more likely it is that you will be able to get all the evidence you need for a successful outcome.

When should I make my medical negligence claim?

You should make your claim as close to the date of negligence or your date of knowledge as possible. The medical negligence claims time limit refers to the time you have to issue a formal claim to the court, so it is important that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible. When you contact us, our team of expert solicitors will assess whether or not you still have enough time to make your claim.

How long does compensation take after medical negligence?

If you win your case and a settlement is agreed with the other party, you should not have to wait too long to receive your compensation. Sometimes, that can happen in as little as a few days, but typically it will take somewhere between two and four weeks. This can be paid straight into your bank account to speed up the process.

Unsure about your medical negligence claim and its time limit? Contact us today

If you think you have suffered medical negligence or want to find out if your claim is still within the time limit, get in touch with us as soon as possible. You can make an online enquiry or request a call back at a time that is convenient for you.

Alternatively, give us a call on 0800 234 3234. Our team of friendly and knowledgeable legal experts are waiting to help.

Contact us today

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