Is there a time limit for making a cycling injury claim?
In most cases, you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim. The date of the accident is referred to as the 'date of knowledge'.
Exceptions to the 'date of the accident'
In situations where an injured person is not immediately aware that they have been injured, or where an injury develops over a period of exposure, the 'date of knowledge' is usually the date at which the person becomes aware of their injury. This is usually when they receive a medical diagnosis.
Cycling injuries are usually obvious at the scene of an accident, however, and so the three-year timer starts immediately.
Examples of cycling claims where the date of knowledge may be later include conditions such as concussion or epilepsy, that may only manifest weeks or months after an accident.
It may also be possible that an condition is worsened or 'brought forward' by an accident. A cyclist may develop arthritis in their wrists a year or so after an accident, many years earlier than they would have otherwise.
Time limits for cycling claims involving children
Claims made on behalf of children are an exception to the three-year rule.
A parent or guardian has up to a child's 18th birthday to start a claim, regardless of when the child was injured.
Once a child turns 18, they may make a claim themselves, as an adult, for an injury sustained as a child, and have until their 21st birthday to do so.
The statute of limitations and formal proceedings
The statute of limitation for personal injury claims is defined in the Limitation Act 1980, Section 11. In practice, the three years represent the time in which formal Court proceedings must be filed.
In most cases, communication between the cyclist making the claim on one side, and the driver or other party who caused the accident on the other, will have been underway for some time before the time limit expires. The majority of claims are settled out of Court, either before formal proceedings are issued, or before anyone actually has to attend Court.
Your solicitor will also want to gather evidence and review a medical report of your injuries before entering formal proceedings, so it is recommended that a claim be started as soon as possible.
Leaving a claim to the last minute can make it difficult to carry out the above in good time, and so many solicitors will not take on cases that are close to the three-year cutoff.