As laid out in the Courts and Civil Liability Act 2000, the Statute of Limitations in Ireland for personal injuries is the timeframe in which an injured party can order legal proceedings against the criminal or negligent party. Those potential plaintiffs, according to the most recent amendment of the Statute of Limitations Ireland Act (2004), must initiate a claim for compensation within two years of the date of knowledge of their injuries. However, there are numerous exceptions to this rule – for example, claims involving medical negligence or children do not adhere to this two-year regulation
The Date of Knowledge in Personal Injury Claims
In most cases, the date of knowledge for personal injury claims in Ireland is the date on which the claimant sustained their injury. However, it is important to note that not all injuries may become immediately apparent. Any injuries that are a result of an accident, though took time to come to light, are considered to have their “date of knowledge” as when they were diagnosed.
This is particularly important for cases in which the illness or injury does not stem from a single event; for example, if a worker has contracted mesothelioma due to repeated exposure to workplace asbestos, one cannot pick a date within that time period from which to apply The Statute of Limitations. Instead, the Stature of Limitations proceeds from the date on which the worker is diagnosed with cancer.
With this in mind, it is crucially important that those who hope to claim compensation for personal injuries in Ireland bear the Statute of Limitations in mind when deciding to go to a solicitor. Cases regularly involve lengthy negotiations, delays in filing paperwork with the Injuries Board and other such obstructions. Unless the claimant is an exception to the rule, such as in the aforementioned examples, the Statute of Limitations for personal injuries in Ireland may prevent the injured party receiving compensation.
Legal Minors and the Statute of Limitations in Ireland
Should someone under the age of eighteen want to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation, it is important to recognise that the Stature of Limitations for personal injuries proceeds from child’s eighteenth birthday. Once the injured party reached the age of eighteen, this is considered their date of knowledge, and after this point they have two years to go to court or file with the Injuries Board.
However, it is still possible for the child to receive compensation without waiting until adulthood. If a parent or guardian for the minor acts as his or her “next friend”, they can make a claim on the child’s behalf. This has its advantage, as it allows for delays in proceedings, but also enables the collection of fresher – and hence more reliable – evidence.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injuries: Other Exceptions
In the case of misdiagnoses of illnesses, the date of knowledge is considered to be the date on which the correct diagnosis was made. Additionally, in claims involving forgotten medical instruments (e.g. the patient has awoken from a surgery with a medical instrument left inside them) or the deterioration in condition as a result of a prior condition are also considered to be exceptions to the normal application of the Statute of Limitations.
Another critical exception entails those who have a cognitive or other related disability which prevents them making a claim for compensation. In these situations, the Statute of Limitations is applied from the date on which they are considered able to make a claim, even though the statute may have expired under other circumstances.
Calculating the Statute of Limitations
Once adequate time has been provided by the claimant to their solicitor to initiate legal proceedings, the Statute of Limitations should not affect one’s entitlement to compensation. There are, however, some crucial dates involved in the calculation of the Statute of Limitations for personal injuries in Ireland.
They are as follows;
- The Date of Knowledge (described above).
- The end of the Statute of Limitations
- The date on which “Form A” is filed with the Injuries Board
- The date on which the claimant receives the “Section 50″ acknowledgement letter, which confirms the receipt of his or her application
- The issuing of Authorisation by The Injuries Board Ireland such that a claim can be pursued through the courts.
- Six months from the issuing of Authroisation, after which it expires.
- The beginning of the court proceedings.
Summary: The Stature of Limitations for Irish Personal Injury Claims
In Ireland, the Statute of Limitations serves to limit the period of time after an accident occurs, or the injured party is made aware of injuries, for which a plaintiff can make a claim for compensation. In most cases, the Statute is a period of two years from that date of knowledge, although when exactly is considered the “date of knowledge” can vary depending on the nature of the injury or the personal circumstances of the claimant.
With the Statute of Limitations in mind, it is advised that those seeking compensation contact legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident occurs. This allows for adequate time to initiate court proceedings or file with the Injuries Board.