Is There A Time Limit To Make A Medical Negligence Claim?

By Danielle Fletcher. Last Updated 1st December 2023. Have you experienced medical negligence that could have been avoided if a medical professional hadn’t breached their duty of care? Are you suffering because of someone else’s mistakes? If this is the case, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim with a clinical negligence solicitor.    

However, there are time limits for medical negligence claims whether they are against the NHS or a private health company. In this article we will look at the medical negligence claims process and what evidence you have to provide in order to pursue clinical negligence claims. This guide explores how long you have to make a claim, depending on your circumstances. It will also discuss in more depth what a medical negligence claim is, and what duty of care that doctors have to patients. 

You should never have to suffer due to someone else’s negligence, especially not an experienced professional. Our team is here to help you begin your medical negligence claim and gain the compensation you deserve.

If you have suffered an injury/illness due to medical negligence, we can help you. Contact our team by calling us on 020 3870 4868 for 24/7 free legal advice from our team of advisers. A friendly adviser will be happy to chat with you and learn more about your claim. 

Alternatively, you can start your claim online and an adviser will get back to you at your earliest convenience. 

NHS Medical Negligence

What Are The Time Limits For Medical Negligence Claims?

Learn More

  1. Medical Negligence Claim Time Limit And Exceptions
  2. What Is The Limitation Period For A Fatal Medical Negligence Claim?
  3. When Could You Make A Medical Negligence Claim?
  4. Calculating Compensation For Medical Negligence Claims
  5. How to Make a Medical Negligence Claim
  6. No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitors
  7. Other Information

Medical Negligence Claim Time Limit And Exceptions

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria we have already mentioned, you must be mindful of the medical negligence time limit when filing your claim.

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you will generally have three years to start your claim. The limitation period would usually begin on the date you suffered harm, or the date you first connected the harm you suffered with medical negligence. This is known as the date of knowledge.

There are some exceptions to this time limit, however. If a child is unnecessarily harmed by medical negligence, the limitation period would be paused until they turned 18. Prior to this date, a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. If a claim has not been made by their 18th birthday, they will have three years from this date to start their own claim.

Furthermore, the limitation period is frozen indefinitely for those who lack the mental capacity to make their own claim. During this time, a litigation friend could act on their behalf. If a claim has not been made for them and the claimant regains this mental capacity, they will have three years from the date of recovery to start a claim.

You can contact an advisor if you have further questions about the medical negligence claim time limit.

Can I Claim For Medical Negligence After 10 Years In The UK?

You may be wondering, “Can I claim for medical negligence after 10 years in the UK?” In many cases, the time limit for medical negligence claims is three years, as we’ve discussed in the section above.

However, in some cases, you may be able to make a claim outside of this time limit. For example, it may be that you are not made aware of the negligence until 10 years after it has occurred. In this case, you may be able to make a compensation claim for the harm you’ve suffered from the date of knowledge.

Similarly, it may be possible that someone has been unable to claim for themselves due to a lack of mental capacity. For example, they may have been comatose or legally unable to claim for themselves. In this case, if a litigation friend has not made a claim on their behalf, then the time limit will reinstate on the date of their recovery. Even if you recover 10 years after the negligence occurred, they may still be able to start their own claim if they are within the reinstated time limit.

For more information, we recommend that you get in touch with our helpful team.

What Is The Limitation Period For A Fatal Medical Negligence Claim?

If you are a qualifying relative under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, you may like to make a fatal accident claim on behalf of the deceased. If you do, you must initiate proceedings within the relevant time limit.  

Generally, this is three years from the date of death. Alternatively, the medical negligence claim time limit for fatalities could be three years from the date of knowledge. The date of knowledge is the date that the death was first connected to negligence, such as after an inquest. 

It is important to be aware that for fatal medical negligence claims, only the estate of the deceased can bring forward a fatal accident claim for the first six months following your loved one’s passing. If no claim is made by the estate on behalf of the dependents, they can claim for themselves after six months. 

Under the Law Reform Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1934 it is only the estate of the deceased who can put forward a medical negligence claim on the deceased’s behalf to cover any pain and suffering before their death. Also, for the first 6 months following the death it is only the estate that can claim for any dependency compensation. If no claim has been made within the first 6 months then the dependants through the Fatal Accident Act can make their own claim.

Our advisors are here to help if you have any questions, such as “Can I claim for medical negligence after 10 years?”. A team member can assess whether you are still within the limitation period to bring forward a compensation claim on behalf of the deceased.

When Could You Make A Medical Negligence Claim? 

In addition to being within the medical negligence time limit, you must satisfy the eligibility criteria to have good grounds to launch a medical negligence claim. You are automatically owed a duty of care when a medical professional or hospital agrees to provide you with treatment. This means that the treatment you receive has to meet a minimum standard of care. 

The steps a medical professional is expected to take can vary depending on what field they work in. For example, the General Medical Council (GMC) offers guidance for doctors on how they are expected to work in their Duties of a Doctor.

If you suffer harm that otherwise could have been avoided due to a breach of this duty, you could be eligible to make a medical negligence claim

If you would like to discuss these eligibility requirements, please contact one of the advisors from our team. They can also help with questions such as, “Can I claim for medical negligence after 10 years?” 

Calculating Compensation For Medical Negligence Claims

Some articles use a personal injury claims calculator or a medical negligence calculator. However, as every case is unique, built on personal circumstances often these tools are not as accurate as seeking legal advice. 

However, we have compiled a table with compensation figures you may receive based on the Judicial College Guidelines. This table is for example purposes online and figures may vary, and the first entry is not from the JCG.


Injury: Severity: Notes: Compensation:
Multiple severe illnesses and injuries plus related expenses Very Severe Settlements could include compensation for multiple illnesses plus incurred expenses, such as lost wages, nursing care and specialised equipment. Up to £1,000,000+
Brain and Head Injury Very Severe Some ability to follow basic commands, recovery of eye opening and return of sleep pattern. Little response to environment and need for full-time nursing care. The award depends on the severity of decreased life expectancy, sensory issues, and physical limitations. £282,010 to £403,990
Brain and Head Injury Moderately Severe Moderate-severe intellectual deficit., personality change, impact on sight, no prospect of employment, and risk of epilepsy. £219,070 to £282,010
Bladder (a) Double incontinence. Total loss of natural bowel function and complete loss of urinary function and control. Up to
Reproductive System: Female (a) Infertility with severe depression and anxiety. May have resulted from the failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. £114,900 to
Reproductive System: Female (b) Permanent sexual dysfunction in a person with no children. May also include significant medical complications. £43,010 to £102,100
Chest Injuries (a) A total removal of one lung and/or serious heart damage with severe pain and suffering. £100,670 to £150,110
Reproductive System: Male (c) Permanent impotence, in the case of some with children or would not have had any at all. £43,010 to
Kidney (b) Significant risk of the loss of natural kidney function or contracting a future urinary tract infection. Up to £63,980
Spleen (a) Complete loss of the spleen with damage to the immune system which causes a risk of internal infections. £20,800 to £26,290


There are two Heads of Loss you could claim for in a medical negligence claim. These are general damages and special damages. General damages compensate for the injury itself and the mental and physical effect it has had on your life. The top end of the bracket is usually awarded if the injury lasts forever or a significantly long amount of time.

Special damages are compensation for the financial impact the injury has had on your life. For example, if you had to take time off work and suffered loss of earnings because of this. 

You must provide evidence to qualify for special damages, for example, providing bus tickets to prove you travelled to and from medical appointments.

How To Make A Medical Negligence Claim

If you have been harmed by medical negligence and are wondering if suing a medical professional is possible, you should first collect supporting evidence for your potential claim. Primarily you will want to collect evidence of the medical provider’s negligence, your injury and the effects your injury is having on you.

If possible, collect:

  • Medical records: You can make a request for your medical records through the NHS. This can include information such as clinical notes of your treatment, alongside the medicine, surgery, scans or similar actions that had been prescribed or performed in your course of treatment. This can act as evidence of the medical provider’s actions or inactions for your claim.
  • Medical assessment of your injury: Your compensation will be decided based on the severity of your injury, and the effect your injury has had on you. A detailed assessment of your injury can be an important piece of evidence in a claim.
  • Records of the financial effects of your injury: Collect records of the monetary losses you may have suffered because of your injury, such as prescription costs or necessary private healthcare.

Once you have evidence relevant to your claim, you could seek out a medical negligence solicitor to help you.

As mentioned above there is a medical negligence claim time limit. Please speak to one of our advisers to see if you could begin a claim with us.

No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitors

You might be interested in working with a solicitor on the basis of a No Win No Fee. The medical negligence claims process can be made a lot smoother by hiring a No Win No Fee solicitor, as they’ll help you gather evidence and organise a medical appointment for you.

Also, if you hire a solicitor on the basis of No Win No Fee, you won’t be responsible for paying them for their work if your claim is unsuccessful.

Additionally, there are usually no upfront fees to pay to your solicitor, and the arrangement typically covers any costs accrued during the claims process. If your claim is successful, your solicitor deducts a success fee directly from your award. However, don’t worry about being overcharged for this fee, as the percentage solicitors take is legally capped.

If you would like to work with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel under this type of agreement, get in touch at any time, and our advisors can potentially help.

To access our 24-hour free legal advice, all you need to do is:

  • Chat to an online advisor using our live chat service
  • Complete a claim online form and we’ll call you back
  • Call at any time on 020 3870 4868

Other Information

Writer HL

Checked by IE.