How long have I got to make a claim

I had quite a bad accident in May 2015 caused by a big spill of diesel on a roundabout. I was in and out of hospital for many months and have still not fully recovered – from not only physical injuries but I have been very emotionally affected also which is not like me at all. I recently found out that I could have claimed compensation for my accident but when I tried to do so I was told that I have missed the deadline for claiming. This seems unfair as I had no idea I could claim. Any assistance you could offer would be gratefully received.
Stuart Ritchie, by email

Answer

In England and Wales the usual time limit to bring a claim for injuries and financial losses is 3 years (Limitation Act 1980). There are some exceptions e.g. cases involving children. This time limit also applies to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Section 33 of the Limitation Act allows a discretion for the court (or MIB) to do away with the 3 year limit in certain circumstances.

The test to apply is largely based around prejudice to the parties if a claim is allowed to proceed beyond the 3 year time limit. If the Defendant (or the MIB) is not prejudiced as a result of the delay – e.g. where all the evidence still exists – then the discretion may be applied. The right to a fair trial and proportionality also come into play.

Therefore if I were you I would contact a specialist lawyer and submit your claim.

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