Even where there may be some basis to argue that, in the particular circumstances of your case, the strict two-year period from the date of the medical accident to the date of commencing proceedings should be extended, there is no merit whatsoever in sitting on your hands and adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach.
This is for two reasons, the first of which is that you can rest assured that your claim will be defended on the basis that it has been extinguished by the Statute of Limitations and, if the two-year period has expired, even if the issues of liability and causation are pretty much ‘open and shut’, you’ll still have to endure the uncertainty of not knowing whether or not the defence’s argument that your claim is statute-barred will be upheld until a judge has heard all of the evidence and has teased out in forensic detail precisely when you learned each relevant fact and whether you have acted with sufficient haste in all of the circumstances.
The other prejudice that you can suffer if you let time slip by is that the opportunity to collect crucial time-specific evidence (for example, scans or x-rays taken shortly after the medical accident under investigation) which might assist your expert in dismissing arguments thrown up by the defence may have been lost.
In conclusion, two things need be said about the Statute of Limitations:
- You can never be too hasty in commencing investigations if you suspect that you’ve been subjected to medical negligence, and there’s absolutely no upside to adopting a relaxed approach. You won’t be rewarded for waiting around, no matter what the circumstances.
- That said, if there have been more than two years between when the medical accident occurred and when you found out that you might have a claim, you shouldn’t assume that your case is hopeless. It’s still worth talking to a solicitor specialising in medical negligence to see if either or both of the date-of-knowledge test or the disability test or any other rule of law can save the day in your case.