If a claim is to be pursued, legal proceedings must generally be issued within 3 years from the date on which the cause of action is discoverable. For a person under a legal disability (e.g. under the age of 18 years or mentally impaired), legal proceedings must generally be issued within 6 years from the date of discoverability, although in certain circumstances the period can be to a maximum of 12 years from the actual date of injury.

If legal proceedings are not issued within time a potential claim may become barred unless a successful application is made to the Court for an extension of time. This can be expensive and the Court will not automatically extend time without good reason.

A cause of action is discoverable from the date on which the injured person (or alternatively the Guardian where the injured person is under a legal disability) ought to have known the following facts:-

(i) that an injury has been sustained;

(ii) that the injury was caused by the fault of the Defendant;

(iii) that the injury was sufficiently serious to justify bringing legal proceedings.

A person must take reasonable steps to ascertain these facts and unreasonable delay may prevent a claim.

For advice contact Galbally & O’Bryan.