Claiming compensation


Compensation claims must be brought within strict legal time limits. Contractual, tortious and latent damage compensation claims have different time limits. The different time limits for bringing a claim are summarised below:

  • Contract claims (excluding personal injury) – 6 years
  • Tort (excluding personal injury and latent damage) – 6 years
  • Latent damage – 6 years or 3 years from date of knowledge

Contract claims

In contractual compensation claims (or claims for specific performance or other contractual remedies), the six-year time limit starts from the date when the cause of action occurs. The cause of action is breach of contract, so the claimant has six years from the date the defendant breaches the contract to bring a claim.

In some cases, the defendant may not have breached the contract but has indicated that they intend to. For example, a buyer of goods may tell the seller they are not going to pay for the goods within the 30-day credit period given to them by the seller. 

In such a case, the seller could sue the buyer for an anticipatory breach of contract. The six-year limitation period would start from the date the buyer told the seller they were not going to pay for the goods.

Medical negligence claims

The High Court and county courts have heard a number of compensation cases relating to medical/clinical negligence. You may have a claim for negligence against a medical professional if you suffered injuries as a result of the treatment received by them.

Road traffic accidents

Many compensation cases have been heard in relation to claimants who have suffered personal injuries as result of a road accident which was not their fault. If you have suffered such injuries, you should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation. 

You may also have legal insurance to fund your claim. As an alternative to insurance, many firms offer no-win, no-fee agreements in road traffic accident cases.

Consumer claims

Compensation cases relating to illnesses/injuries suffered as a result of consuming a product have been brought in civil courts. For example, claimants have brought civil action against Cadbury, for contracting salmonella as result of eating their products in 2007.

Limitation periods

In compensation claims, it is imperative that claimants strictly adhere to the relevant limitation periods. The courts only have limited power to extend this limitation period. And, the courts are only likely to exercise this limited power in exceptional circumstances.

You should always bring your claim as soon as possible, and if you are unsure of the differing time-scales get the appropriate solicitor involved.

There have been a variety of different compensation cases heard by civil courts in recent years. A number of scenarios in which individuals suffer an injury can give rise to compensation cases.

In compensation cases brought in civil courts, the claimant must prove their case on the balance of probabilities. If the claimant manages to do this, compensation is awarded to the claimant by the court.

Do you want to bring a claim for compensation for a financial loss you have suffered, whether through a personal injury, or a breach of contract? Contact Law can put you in touch with specialist civil litigation solicitors who are skilled in gaining compensation on your behalf. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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