How long do I have to make a claim for personal injury?

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Personal injury compensation is a means of restoring any past, current, and future financial expenditure that has resulted from a non-fault personal injury - the payout is also designed to compensate the individual for any pain or suffering. This means that if you have had to pay for medical treatment or rehabilitation, and if you have suffered lost earnings and been impacted by other factors such as child care, personal injury compensation will attempt to restore the balance. The only issue is that some people do not think they may be eligible to bring a claim because they think that their own actions in the lead up to their injury may have played a significant role in their accident. However, what is important to remember is that a duty of care exists, and where more could have reasonably been done to prevent your injury, you may have a claim. 

You must act within three years (typically speaking)

Depending on where you are in the world, the typical time frame within which you must begin a claim for personal injury compensation is three years from the date of your injury (see: how long do I have to file a product liability case in Florida?).  There are a couple of questions that usually stem from this fact, so let’s address them one by one. First, your claim does not have to be completed within three years from the date of your injury, merely started (claims can often take several months to reach a conclusion). Second, you can claim beyond this point if you did not know that your injury was linked to third party negligence and you have only recently found out. For example, in the case of mesothelioma, symptoms can take many years to manifest. When you discover that you may have a claim, you must act within three years of this so-called ‘date of knowledge’. 

What about if you suffered a childhood injury?

Children cannot represent themselves in a case for personal injury compensation. If you were injured as a child, and if a parent or legal guardian did not file a claim on your behalf, you have two options. First, you must file a claim within three years of the date of your 18th birthday. Second, much like the above rule stating that you have three years from the date of knowledge, you have three years from the date upon which you discovered that an adult injury or medical condition is linked to a childhood event to begin your claim.

Ultimately, if you are unsure, speak to a personal injury lawyer - your initial consultation over the phone is usually free, meaning you could find out whether you have a claim without even having to leave your own home.   

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