Statute of Limitations Date of Knowledge Rule

Could you explain what the Statute of Limitations and Date of Knowledge are? I have seen those terms frequently mentioned on this site and would like to know how they could affect my personal injury compensation claim.

The Statute of Limitations and Date of Knowledge go hand in hand in most cases of personal injury compensation claims. The Statute of Limitations refers to the limited time a person has to pursue a claim (in most cases, two years) and the Date of Knowledge is the date from when that two-year period commences.

For example, “Anne” suffers an injury at work on the 14th of December 2012, immediately seeks medical attention and has the injury recorded in her medical history and contacts a solicitor as soon as she is deemed well enough to do so. As a result, the Date of Knowledge for her injury would be the 14th of December 2012. Therefore, the two-year time limit of the Statute of Limitations would start on the same date.

However, there are exceptions to the Statute of Limitations and Date of Knowledge. In the cases of children for example, where the Date of Knowledge would not begin until the date of his or her eighteenth birthday, or with asbestos- and acquired-injury cases — where the date of knowledge would be the date the disease or condition was diagnosed (in cases such as these, that date could be years after the initial cause as it takes some time for symptoms to manifest).

Similarly, there are exceptions to the general Statute of Limitations and Date of Knowledge rules in some cases involving medical negligence — the misdiagnosis of an illness, for example, where the Date of Knowledge would be the date the correct diagnosis was made — or in cases where a medical instrument was left inside the patient during surgery, resulting in a loss, injury or exacerbation of an existing illness.

Exceptions are also made as regard the Statute of Limitations and Date of Knowledge, for victims of accidents who are acknowledged as being mentally impaired or those who suffer traumatic injuries which prevent them from lodging a personal injury claim. In these situations, the victim has two years from the date on which they are considered “capable” — if ever —in which to claim for compensation and special exceptions have been made after application to the courts once the usual Statute of Limitations would have expired.

Remember that exceptions apply to the Statute of Limitations and Date of Knowledge, and so it would still be worth your while to contact an experienced solicitor, familiar with all dates relating to the Statute of Limitations and personal injury claims, who can review your particular case.