According to the Courts and Civil Liability Act 2000, the Statue of Limitations in Ireland for personal injury* claims sets the time limit within which an injured party can instigate proceedings for their claim. Usually, the injured party who wishes to pursue a personal injury* claim has two years from the “date of knowledge” of their injury to begin proceedings. There are, however, a number of exceptions. Consequently, the Statute of Limitations in Ireland will often be the first step a solicitor needs to think about when assessing any personal injury* claims.
The Date of Knowledge
The date of knowledge is usually the date on which an injury was suffered in an accident. It is imperative that an injured party contact a solicitor at the earliest possible occasion following an accident or when a preventable illness has been diagnosed itself. Apart from specific exceptions, your opportunity to make a compensation claim is lost two years after the date of knowledge. Unfortunately, your solicitor will be unable to give help if your particular situation does not fall into one of the special categories which are discussed below.
Injuries to Children and Irelands Statute of Limitation
It is worth noting that in the case of a person aged under eighteen years (legally known as a “minor”), Irelands Statute of Limitations for personal injury* claims does not start until the minor reaches the age of eighteen (his or her “majority”). This means that the law regards the date of knowledge of an injury as the minor’s eighteenth birthday. When the minor victim reaches his or her majority, they have two years from the date of their eighteenth birthday to either submit an application for assessment to the Injuries Board Ireland or to issue proceedings in court.
As it is often impractical to wait until a child reaches their eighteenth birthday before making a personal injury* claim, there is a way for a minor to begin proceedings before they reach their majority. It is possible for a parent or guardian to stand in for them, and act as their “next friend”. If your child has been injured in an accident where another party was to blame, it is still in your child’s best interest that you contact a solicitor at the first possible opportunity. Not only will you have a longer time within the Statute of Limitations in Ireland to pursue your child’s claim, your solicitor will have a better chance at gathering evidence in support of it.
Asbestos and Claims for Acquired Injuries
Asbestos-related injury cases and other industrial diseases that are acquired over a period of time are other exceptions to standard personal injury* claims where the date of injury and the date of knowledge are the same. Those who have been exposed to asbestos may not be aware of their asbestos-related injuries. The two year Statute of Limitations in Ireland would begin, under such circumstances, from when the victim becomes aware that they had developed an asbestos-related injury such as mesothelioma.
Similarly, Irelands Statute of Limitations for personal injury* claims will start on the date on which the plaintiff is diagnosed with an injury which has derived from the negligence of another party whose care they were under. Examples of this kind of industrial injury include repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other Exceptions to the Statue of Limitations in Ireland
The misdiagnosis of an illness (where the Statue of Limitations in Ireland would not begin until the correct diagnosis has been made) and a situation where a medical instrument has been left inside a patient during surgery resulting in an injury, a loss or the deteriorations of a prior condition are two more examples of exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for personal injury* claims.
Potential plaintiffs who have a mental disability or those whose injuries prevent them from submitting a personal injury* claim, have two years from the date when they are considered “capable” to file for personal injury* compensation. Under these unique circumstances, exceptions have been made in Ireland after application to the courts and after the Statute of Limitations in Ireland would have expired under normal circumstances.
How the Statute of Limitations is Calculated
The Statute of Limitations for personal injury* claims in Ireland should not affect your entitlement to compensation, so long as you consult with a solicitor as soon as possible after your accident has occurred. An experienced legal professional will be fully aware of Irelands Statute of Limitations and will make sure that all relevant forms are filed with the Injuries Board Ireland within the appropriate time limit.
To calculate Irelands Statute of Limitations, the following dates are of utmost importance.
1) The Date of Knowledge or the date of the accident.
2) The date of expiration of the two-year period from the date of the accident or date of knowledge.
3) The date that “Form A” was filed with the Injuries Board.
4) The date of the “Section 50” acknowledgment letter which confirms receipt of your application.
5) “Authorisation” from the Injuries Board Ireland.
6) Six month date from the “Authorisation.
7) Balance of the two-year time limit for the commencement of court proceedings.
To explain, let’s assume “Tom” was involved in an accident on July 1st 2011. After seeking medical attention, Tom made contact with his solicitor who then filed an application to the Injuries Board Ireland which was acknowledged as being received and complete on October 1st 2011 – three months after the date of the accident and when the Section 50 letter of acknowledgment was sent to Tom.
The claim then stayed with the Injuries Board Ireland until July 1st 2012 (one year after the date of the accident). After that, it was released by way of Authorisation as a result of the non-agreement of the assessment carried out by the Injuries Board Ireland. The Statute of Limitation time period would start to run again after another six months on January 1st 2013. Another year and nine months would remain, as three months of the two-year period would have expired already, before the application to the Injuries Board Ireland had been lodged. The limitation period for Tom’s claim would therefore expire on September 30th 2014.
It is a complicated process but should you avail of a solicitor’s assistance immediately after the accident you would not have to worry about the Statute of Limitations for personal injury* claims in Ireland.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury* Claims – A Summary
- The Statute of Limitations in Ireland restricts the time you are permitted to make a claim for compensation, after you have sustained a personal injury*.
- Two years from the date an injury was obtained or diagnosed is the general period of time permitted under the Statute of Limitations.
- Minors are permitted two years after their eighteenth birthdays to claim for compensation according to the Statute of Limitations.
- Irelands Statute of Limitations contains other exceptions; acquired injuries, incapacity and in some cases, medical negligence*.
- You should not be affected by the Statute of Limitations for personal injury* claims if you make contact with a solicitor as soon as possible following an accident in which you sustained an injury.
This article is meant as a reference only, not as a substitute for advice from a legal professional. If you have sustained an injury as a result of an accident caused by another party’s negligence and feel that you may be eligible for compensation, it is highly advisable to discuss your situation and the points raised in this article with a solicitor who will certainly be in a good position to determine the appropriate Statute of Limitations for your personal injury* claims.