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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.

Time Limitations For Making A Medical Negligence Claim

If you have suffered as a result of a medical mistake you might be considering making a medical negligence claim. Medical negligence claims can be complex and often require a lot of information for your claim to be assessed properly. Therefore, 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 medical negligence solicitors who are well versed in the varying time limits for medical negligence claims.

We are ready to help you with the particular circumstances of your claim.  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 the time limit for medical negligence claims is three years from the date of knowledge. This would usually be the date the negligence occurred, provided you were aware of the negligence immediately.

However, as medical negligence symptoms or related illnesses can take time to present themselves, some claims can be made within three years of the date you became aware or should have been aware of the negligence, this is called your ‘date of knowledge’

Are there exceptions to time limits on medical negligence claims?

As Medical Negligence can be complex in nature, and the effects of which can vary from case to case, there are exceptions to the standard three-year medical negligence claim time limit.


Children under the age of 18 who have suffered from medical negligence have three years from the date of their eighteenth 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 medical negligence 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, as you can only recover for the same injury once.

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 medical 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.  However, if they then lose mental capacity again the clock on limitation continues to tick.


In the event the victim of medical negligence has died, 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 limitation had 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 started again.

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 has 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 time limits.

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

Medical Negligence claims can be complex and the faster you the claims 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 we will be able to advise you on time limits and the likelihood of success for your claim.

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 the time limitation.

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 medical notes for a certain number of years. The sooner a medical negligence claim can be made, the easier it should be to obtain these records 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 claim.

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 medical negligence legal experts will assess whether or not you still have enough time to make your claim.

Contact us today

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

Call us on 0800 234 3234. Our team of friendly and knowledgeable medical negligence legal experts are waiting to help.

Contact us today

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