Know your rights

Our fortnightly review of the law and you, with Mancini Legal – Horsham’s leading lawyer.

Personal Injury – the Three-Year Rule.

Most people these days are aware of the fact they can claim compensation if they have been in an RTA (road traffic accident), injured at work or otherwise had their health affected by something that wasn’t their fault. What they may not be aware of is the length of time they can go back to make a claim.

In general, a claim can be made any time within three years from the date the ‘event’ happened. Practically that doesn’t mean 2 years and 364 days as cases take time to prepare, so if you want to make a claim it’s best to do it as soon as you can.

Campylobacter and the chicken liver parfait

For example, Mancini Legal is currently acting for three businessmen who got food poisoning at an industry dinner just before Christmas. The problem was a bug called Campylobacter that often crops up in chicken products – in this case, the chicken liver parfait starter.  They claimed within days and, because it’s still fresh in everybody’s mind, and the supplier at fault has admitted liability, we will settle it promptly.

In this particular case, they were not the only people affected, and Health England got involved – all of which helps with the weight of evidence. They were off work, quite seriously ill, and in considerable discomfort for a week. The likely level of compensation will be somewhere between £2-3,000. Because of the way their employment contract was structured their employer can claim for loss of work too.

Should you fall victim to this sort of complaint see your doctor as soon as possible to record it, check if anybody else had the problem, and keep copies of any expenses you incur for medicines, taxis, etc. as they can be reclaimed too.

Things are not always obvious

Some illnesses or conditions are not always apparent, symptoms can take longer to develop, and you may end up with a medical problem that has taken time to manifest. Examples here could be Asbestosis or vibration-induced injury from work. The three-year rule still applies here, but the difference is that you need to bring the case within three years of the date of knowledge within which you should have discovered symptoms that give you a right to claim. In effect when you have a confirmed diagnosis of the problem.

The law does vary. If anything happens to your children a claim can be made up until three years after their 18th birthday. Rules vary with travel – injury or illness on a package holiday needs a claim made within three years, but if it happened on an aircraft, or at sea, it’s only two years. It’s worth noting that ‘aircraft’ also includes ‘balloons’! Different foreign countries also have differing limits.

It’s always good to have the law on your side

Hopefully, life will be straightforward, and you’ll never need to claim. If you do however it’s always best to have an expert lawyer on your side, who understands all the tactics insurance companies use to try and minimize the amount of compensation they have to pay, fighting your corner. And we would stress the fact you need a proper lawyer – the option is a ‘claims management company’, but if you read the news recently you will have seen that some travel illness cases have led to claimants being prosecuted for perverting the course of justice!

If you have a claim and want somebody local, who you can call in and see and stay in close touch with, Mancini Legal has a Personal Injury specialist on the team. Best of all, in personal injury cases, Mancini acts on a no-win, no-fee basis. For more details visit