Time Limits May Affect Your Medical Negligence Claim

The Statute of Limitations sets a two-year time limit on medical negligence cases, within which it is possible to bring a case. If legal proceedings are not commenced within this period, a case will not be allowed to proceed, regardless of the injuries sustained. However, there are some circumstances in which there may be flexibility regarding this limit.

sepsisAt S.T. O’Sullivan & Co Solicitors, we are experienced medical negligence solicitors with 35 years’ experience in this area of law. Bringing such cases can be a long process, particularly as you will need to obtain medical records and other documentary evidence to support your case alongside dealing with the injuries you have sustained and the changes to your life that this may have caused. For this reason, talking to an experienced solicitor as soon as you can is essential in order to ensure that you stand the best chance of being successful in your claim.


The two year time limit is intended to prevent claims being made years after the incident, but exceptions to this rule may be made under the ‘date of knowledge’ test. This key legislation provides that the two year limitation period may only begin on the date on which you were aware of all of the following:

  1. That you have been injured.
  2. That the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence.
  3. That you were under a legal disability at the time you sustained the injury i.e. you were not capable of managing your affairs at that time.
  4. That you were under the age of 18 years at the time the injury was caused.

These exceptions are important. One example is where surgical instruments are found to have been left inside the body many years after an operation has been carried out by a surgeon.

In medical negligence cases where children are involved the two year limitation period only starts when the child reaches the age of 18 years. However, this does not prevent a case being made before the child reaches that age. Indeed, from a practical perspective it is essential that such a claim be made as soon as possible in order to collect the evidence while it is still fresh and take statements from people who have first-hand knowledge of how the injury occurred.


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

Telephone: 065 – 6820620. Email: info@stosullivan.ie

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