The Statute of Limitations in Ireland for Personal Injuries: An Introduction
When assessing a potential plaintiff’s claim, a solicitor will often start by considering the Statute of Limitations in Ireland for personal injuries. The Statute of Limitations limits the length of time within which a potential plaintiff can initiate proceedings according to the Courts and Civil Liability Act 2004. In most cases, the injured party has two years, starting from the date of knowledge of their injury, in which to commence a personal injuries claim; however, there are numerous exemptions.
The Date of Knowledge and the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injuries in Ireland
The date of knowledge of an injury is most likely to be the date on which the injury was suffered in an accident. Therefore, it is important that the person injured as a result of the accident speak with a solicitor at the first moment possible after the accident or when knowledge of an avoidable injury is learned.
Unfortunately, making a successful personal injury compensation claim after two years from the date of knowledge- save for some specific exemptions – will be impossible. Your solicitor will be unable to provide you with any assistance if the two year limitation period has expired and your circumstances do not fall within one of the special categories explained below.
The Statute of Limitations in Ireland and Injuries to Children
It is important to note that the date of knowledge for a minor – a person under eighteen years – is in the eyes of the law the minor’s eighteenth birthday. That means that the Statute of Limitations in Ireland for personal injuries does not start until the child reaches his or her majority – when they become an adult at the age of eighteen years. Therefore, when the child reaches eighteen years, they will have two years from the date of their birthday to submit an application for assessment to the Injuries Board of Ireland, or to initiate court proceedings.
However, a minor does not have to wait till his or her eighteenth birthday to pursue a claim – a claim can be made on their behalf by a “next friend” – usually their parent or guardian. It would be in the best interests of everyone involved to speak with a solicitor as soon as possible if your child has suffered an injury in a situation where he or she was not to blame. An added benefit of making an early claim is that your solicitor will have a better opportunity to collect evidence to support your child’s claim.
Acquired Injuries including Asbestos
The date of knowledge of asbestos-related injury and other industrial diseases that are usually acquired over a long time span is another exception to the general principal that the date of knowledge and the date of injury are the same. Those affected by asbestos-related diseases may not know that they have developed an asbestos-related injury until many years after they were exposed to asbestos dust or fibres. In situations such as these, the Statute of Limitations for personal injuries in Ireland commences when the injured party is diagnosed with an asbestos-related injury – mesothelioma, for example.
This exception to the standard Statue of Limitations tenet would apply also to other industrial diseases such as repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome – where the date of knowledge would begin from the date they were made aware of an injury which can be attributed to the negligence of another party who owed them a duty of care.
Other Exemptions to the Statute of Limitations in Ireland for Personal Injuries
Numerous other exemptions to Ireland’s Statue of Limitations for personal injury claims exist – the misdiagnosis of an illness, as one example – where the Statute of Limitations would not start until the correct diagnosis is made – or when a medical instrument has been left inside the patient during surgery which consequently causes a loss, injury or the exacerbation of a prior condition, as another example.
Mentally disabled accident victims or those whose injuries are so severe that they cannot submit a personal injury claim have two years from the date when they are considered “capable” – if they ever are – to claim personal injury compensation in Ireland. Special exemptions will be decided upon after an application is made to the courts to claim compensation after the Statute of Limitations would, in most cases, have expired.
How the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injuries in Ireland is Calculated
The Statute of Limitations in Ireland for personal injuries should not threaten your eligibility for compensation as long as you speak with a qualified solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. An experienced solicitor will be fully aware of the appropriate time restraints and they will make sure that the relevant forms are filed with the Injuries Board Ireland within the time allowed (if required for your particular injury).
In order to explain the process, it is important to note the following essential dates in calculating the Statute of Limitations Personal Injuries Ireland.
- Date of accident or date of knowledge
- Date of termination of the two-year period from the date of accident/knowledge
- Date “Form A” was filed with the Injuries Board
- Date of the “Section 50” application confirmation letter
- “Authorisation” of the Injuries Board
- Six month date from “Authorisation”
- Two-year period balance for the issue of court proceedings
For example, let’s say that “Mary” had an accident on the 1st January 2011. Mary spoke with her solicitor who submitted an application to the Injuries Board that was judged as received and complete on the 1st March 2011 (3 months after the date that the accident happened and when the Section 50 acknowledgement letter was sent out).
The claim stayed with the Injuries Board until the 1st January 2012 when an “Authorisation” was issued as a result of a disagreement over the value of the Injuries Board assessment. The limitation period then starts to run again after 6 months on the 1st June 2012. Since a further period of one year and nine months remain (3 months of the two-year limitation time period having already expired before the application to the Injuries Board was filed), the limitation period for Mary’s claim will expire on 1st March 2014.
You will not need to worry about the complicities of the Statute of Limitations for personal injuries in Ireland, if you engage the assistance of a solicitor as soon as possible following an accident.
- The Statute of Limitations in Ireland for personal injuries limits how much time you are allowed after a personal injury to make a claim for compensation.
- In most cases, the Statute of Limitations allows two years from the date an injury was sustained or diagnosed.
- Under the Statute of Limitations, children are allowed two years from their eighteenth birthday in which to make a compensation claim.
- Other exceptions to the injury claims Statute of Limitations in Ireland exist for acquired injuries, incapacity and some claims for medical negligence.
- If you contact a solicitor in good time after you have sustained an injury, you should not be affected by the Statute of Limitations.
It is important to note that each case is unique. If you have been involved in an accident resulting from the negligence of another and feel that you have a potential personal injury claim, you are strongly advised to discuss all of the points raised in the preceding article with a solicitor at the earliest opportunity. Do not rely on this article to determine the appropriate Statute of Limitations for injury claim.