What is the Limitation Period for Professional Negligence Claims?
What is the limitation period for Professional Negligence claims?
The primary limitation period for Professional Negligence Claims is six years. However, it is not uncommon for an issue to not be discovered for some time. Section 14a of the Limitation Act 1980 extends the primary limitation period for tortious claims and allows a claim to be brought within three years from the date that the Claimant had the knowledge of the claim.
Whilst that may appear simple the date of “knowledge” can actually be quite complicated.
Recently the court had to consider when the Claimant had “knowledge” of the claim in Witcomb v (1) J.Keith Park Solicitors & Anor.
The Claimant suffered serious injuries in a road traffic accident in 2002. During a settlement meeting in 2009 the claim was settled on a “full and final basis”.
After the meeting the Claimant’s condition significantly worsened but due to the wording of the settlement agreement, they were unable to claim further damages.
The Claimant brought a claim against their legal representative for not advising them to get an expert report to properly assess their condition and any potential future issues. Nor did they advise them about the option to seek provisional damages.
However, it was not until 2017 that the Claimant was advised that they were facing possible amputation. The Claimant therefore sought to rely on s14a of the Limitation Act and argued that the first time that he had knowledge of the Professional Negligence claim was January 2017 when they were informed about the possible need for an amputation.
The Legal Representatives argued that the Claimant had the relevant knowledge at the date of the settlement meeting.
The Court held that in circumstances where advice has been omitted by a professional time will not start to run until the Claimant has some reason to consider that the advice should have been given.
In this case it was clear that the Claimant did not have reason to suspect that the advice they were given was flawed until it became clear that further damages were needed.
How we can help
Here at Kitsons LLP, we have a team of experienced Professional Negligence Solicitors who will be able to assist if you think that you have been given incorrect advice, whether by a Legal Representative or an Accountant to name a few.