How Long Do I Have To Bring My Medical Negligence Claim?

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer an injury through medical negligence, your priority will be to recover from the physical and mental effects of your ordeal, and you may not think about seeking legal advice for several months. Many people are not aware, however, that there is a time limit on medical negligence claims.

According to Irish law, a medical negligence claim must be made within two years of the incident or injury concerned. This may sound ample time to begin legal proceedings, but it is important to remember that the process of finding appropriate legal representation and obtaining medical records from hospitals and medically practitioners may take many months, and that a specialist, who will usually be based outside Ireland will be required to produce a comprehensive report before a medical negligence claim can be made.


There are a number of exceptions to this two year time limit. These exceptions are complex and require very careful consideration as to how the might apply in a particular case. There is what is called a Date of Knowledge test which is designed to protect those in exceptional circumstances who would otherwise be unable to claim during the usual two year period.

This legal provision can offer protection in cases such as medical negligence where the effects are not evident for several years. It is also important to understand that the two year time period does not apply while a patient is considered to have a legal disability. This includes being under 18 years of age, and means that a patient turning 18 would have a period of two years to bring a case for any medical negligence experienced in childhood.


S.T. O’Sullivan & Co Solicitors, 6, Bindon Street, Ennis, Co.Clare.

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