Is there a time limit for medical negligence claims?

If you want to make a successful medical negligence claim then you need to do so in a timely manner. It’s important to act quickly, allowing enough time to gather the necessary supporting information and evidence. Time limits are in place for making claims and it’s crucial that you’re aware of them.

What is the time limit for a medical negligence claim?

Generally speaking, there is a three year time limit for starting a medical negligence claim. This three year period will generally run from the date that the negligence occurred. Because health issues relating to medical negligence are not always immediately apparent but can present themselves over time, this three year period can also run from the point at which you became aware that the treatment you received was negligent.

Are there any exceptions?

Two exceptions apply to the three year time period. These relate to the medical negligence claims that concern children or adults without mental capacity.


If a child is under 18 years of age when the medical negligence happens then the three year time limit does not apply. It will, however, come into effect when they turn 18, and expire when they turn 21 in the case of medical negligence that happened before their 18th birthday. 


No time limits apply for making medical negligence claims in the case of adults who lack mental capacity. If they regain mental capacity, for instance if their mental incapacity was a health problem from which they recovered, then the three year limit will be reapplied.

Are there any other time limits?

It’s important to remember that the 3 year medical negligence claims time limit applies prior to the claim being made. Once the process has begun there is no time limit for it being concluded.

If you are making a claim on behalf of a deceased loved one then the 3 year limit will continue to apply. It’s therefore important that you seek legal advice about any potential claim as quickly as possible if you believe death was caused by medical negligence.

Are there any benefits to claiming early?

It’s always advisable to make a claim for medical negligence compensation as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of that claim being successful. As part of the claims process it may be possible to access rehabilitation and other support services while your claim is ongoing. You could also receive payments at this stage as well which could help you pay for any home improvements or modifications that are required. Should you need to travel to and from hospital for any treatment then you could receive financial support.

Beginning your claim gives you access to a range of support and advice which can be extremely helpful at a time of increased stress and new challenges.

Free initial advice

If you believe you may have a medical negligence claim then it’s important to act as quickly as possible. We will be happy to provide confidential and impartial initial advice about your claim. Call 0800 002 9577 or get in touch via our contact page.