Limitation in clinical negligence claims
Produced in partnership with Alex Rush of Stewarts Law
Limitation in clinical negligence claims

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note Produced in partnership with Alex Rush of Stewarts Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Limitation in clinical negligence claims
  • Limitation generally
  • Limitation in clinical negligence cases
  • Exceptions to the three-year limitation rule
  • The ‘date of knowledge’ in clinical negligence claims
  • Sanctions

Coronavirus (Covid-19): The COVID-19 Clinical Negligence Protocol (2020) has been created to adapt clinical negligence claims handling and litigation processes during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. In particular, the Protocol deals with limitation and allows for limitation to be suspended until three months after the end of the protocol, provided that written notification in the form of a letter is provided to the indemnifying body before the limitation period has expired. It is proposed that the protocol should be reviewed every eight weeks. For details, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19) implications for PI and clinical negligence—Case management of clinical negligence claims.

Limitation generally

Section 2 of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980) provides a general rule that an action founded on tort shall not be brought after expiry of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.

LA 1980, s 12 imposes a special time limit for actions under the Fatal Accident Act 1976.

In fatal accident claims the dependents also have three years from the date of death or if later, the date of knowledge of the person for whose benefit the action is brought.

Limitation in clinical negligence cases

A special rule, however, applies, under LA 1980, s 11, in respect of claims seeking damages for personal injury (which includes clinical negligence cases). Under section 11, that three-year period starts from the date the cause of action accrued

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