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Can I Claim for Medical Negligence After 20 Years?

When making a medical negligence claim, there is a time limit, as with every type of claim. However, there are exceptions to the rule. The usual time limit to start your claim in Court is three years, but there may be an exception if you were a child at the time of the alleged negligence, or lacked mental capacity.

You may still be able to claim for medical negligence after 20 years, but this depends on the details of your case. You should speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor to find out whether you have reached the time limit for your case.

Can I claim for medical negligence after 20 years in any circumstances?

It can be difficult to answer this question without knowing the personal circumstances of your medical negligence case. Generally, the time limit for medical negligence is three years, which is called the “limitation period”. There are two important dates when calculating the time limit for a case of medical negligence:

  • Three years from the date medical negligence occurred, or;
  • Three years from the date you discovered that the injury or harm was due to medical negligence, in cases where the injury is not apparent straight away or has worsened over time.

There are exceptions to this rule that could mean you can still claim even after 20 years. The special rules for claiming after the three-year limit are either because you were a child when the injury occurred or you or the injured party lacked mental capacity. In these situations, you may still be able to make a claim, so it is recommended you seek legal advice. 

The best way to find out where you can claim for medical negligence even after 20 years is by speaking to a solicitor. They can look at your case and let you know if you have reached the time limit for making a claim. A solicitor will do what they can to make a case for you.

What are the exceptions to the time limits for medical negligence claims?

Even if it has been longer than three years since you suffered medical negligence, you may still be able to claim. This may even be possible after 20 years in certain cases. The first exception to the three-year rule is for someone who lacks mental capacity.

Mental capacity

If the injured party does not have the mental capacity to make a claim, it may be possible for someone to do this on their behalf. There is no time limit to make a claim for someone who does not have the mental capacity. However, should the injured party regain capacity, the limitation period will start from that date. 

Children

The second exception to the medical negligence claim time limit is if the victim was a child at the time. This means if you suffered medical negligence as a young child, it might be possible for you to claim 20 years later. This only applies if it has not been three years since you turned 18. The three-year time limit starts when you become an adult.

Can a solicitor help me make a medical negligence claim after 20 years?

Yes, a solicitor can help claim medical negligence after 20 years. They can look at your specific situation and make sure you have the right to make a valid claim. Sometimes you may not be aware of the negligence or injury until years after it happened.

If this can be proven, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim despite it being longer than three years. A solicitor can also check if you meet any of the exceptions listed above. If your medical negligence case follows any of these exceptions, you might be able to claim after 20 years or more.

The best way to find out about any medical negligence cases and time limits is to seek legal advice. Each case is assessed on its individual merits, meaning it can be difficult to answer the question without knowing more information. Once you have started a medical negligence case, the time limit does not apply.

Speak to medical negligence solicitors

You may be able to make medical negligence cases after 20 years, but this depends on when you found out about the negligence. If you were a child or if the person lacked mental capacity, the time limits may change.

Speak to the medical negligence solicitors at Potter Rees Dolan, and we can help you find out whether you have reached the time limit to make a medical negligence case, and advise you on whether you can make a claim.

Contact us on 0800 027 2557, or email one of our specialist clinical negligence team to find out more.