I recently suffered an injury and I was considering making a claim, but then a friend warned me of the Statute of Limitations for hospital negligence – what is this?
The Statute of Limitations for hospital negligence places a time limit upon making a claim to compensation if you have sustained an injury. It should be remembered that although you may be entitled to make a claim for a hospital negligence accident, this must be done within the Statute of Limitations. If the time limit in which to make a claim passes and a claim is not initiated, you will unfortunately be unable to make a claim to compensation for hospital negligence for your injury. For this reason, you are advised to consult a personal injury* solicitor at the earliest opportunity following your injury from hospital negligence to ensure that your claim is not time-barred by the Statute of Limitations.
Generally the Statute of Limitations for hospital negligence in Ireland is two years from the date on which you were diagnosed with the injury or illness you sustained as a result of the careless actions – or inaction – of the hospital. The Statute of Limitations for a hospital negligence accident is in place to ensure that a claim is made within a reasonable space of time, but also to protect the negligent party from constant fear of litigation. It is also necessary as evidence of an injury from hospital negligence may disappear after a certain length of time and memories can fade. Therefore the Statute of Limitations encourages a claim to compensation for hospital negligence while evidence is still readily available and reliable.
However the Statute of Limitations for hospital negligence can differ in certain circumstances. For instance, a child who suffers a hospital negligence accident will be unable to make a claim until they turn eighteen, meaning they will have until their twentieth birthday to make a claim. However a parent or guardian can claim compensation for hospital negligence on their behalf at any stage between sustaining their injury and their eighteenth birthday – although it is recommended that a claim for a child is made sooner rather than later. It should also be noted that the Statute of Limitations may differ in other countries and if your injury from hospital negligence happens abroad, you may have a greater or lesser amount of time in which to make a claim.
While two years may seem like enough time to seek compensation for hospital negligence, it should be noted that a claim can take some time to prepare and for this reason a solicitor should be contacted at the earliest opportunity. A hospital negligence accident can also be more difficult as the testimony of a medical expert will be required to verify whether negligence had indeed taken place and whether you are entitled to compensation as a result. If liability is in doubt, or if it is decided that the hospital had taken all measures possible to prevent a further injury, your compensation for an injury from hospital negligence could be more difficult to pursue. For this reason it is important to heed the Statute of Limitations for hospital negligence and professional legal advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity following your accident.