It’s important for us to talk about group action claims deadlines. We have represented a lot of people across over 40 different group and multi-party actions, and many people miss out.
The reasons are often the same: “I didn’t realise I could claim”, or “I hadn’t realised the time limit would be so soon”, or “I’ve only just realised I was a victim”. In many instances, these reasons for people missing vital deadlines still lead to victims missing out. It is, therefore, imperative that we discuss this to encourage anyone who may be eligible to join an action to do ASAP or risk missing out.
There is absolutely no reason as to why anyone should delay starting their case. All that does is increase the likelihood of missing a key deadline.
Firstly, it’s important that we make clear that the advice in this article is strictly for very general guidance only. It should not be used to try and accurately calculate when you may have to claim, as we are not discussing one action here, nor one set of circumstances.
In order to know for certain how long you have left to claim, you must speak to our team if it’s regarding an action that we are involved with. If it’s a new action, our team still want to hear from you.
Only with tailored legal advice specific for your circumstances can you be sure about how long you may have left to start a case.
Group action claims deadlines: how do we work it out?
How we calculate group action claims deadlines can depend on many different things.
There is usually a Limitation Date for any claim, which is how long you have to either settle a case or initial formal court proceedings. If you miss this deadline, you may be Statute Barred from claiming, and the opponent can raise this as a legitimate defence to the case. In short, this may mean that you are unable to receive compensation.
The most common one people know about is the personal injury “three-year rule”. Even that comes with an asterisk, as there can be different ways of calculating this for cases like medical negligence matters, and for children. For example, if the person is a child when they were injured, in England and Wales, they may have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to claim; i.e. three years from the date that they reach the age of majority.
There is also the date of knowledge of negligence, which can be a flexible term. This does not strictly mean the date you knew you could claim, as it can also factor in the date that you should have known you may have a claim. As such, simply stating that you “did not know” is not usually going to allow you the chance to claim late.
There may be more than one deadline where more than one law applies in a case. There can also be longstop deadlines in consumer actions, and then there are court deadlines when it comes to group and multi-party actions. This may be the cut-off date imposed by a court for people to formally join a Group Litigation Order.
As you can see, it can be quite complex, which is why we always recommend that you claim as soon as you possibly can.
Missing the deadline
Missing group action claims deadlines may simply mean that your chance to claim compensation is gone forever.
You could ask the court and make a formal application to join an action late or to claim after a limitation date has expired. However, you usually need a good reason for this, and based on previous experience in actions, we have seen other law firms miss deadlines and their cases were not allowed to join late.
Many law firms will also have their own cut-off points for joining their group as well. This can be to make sure that their current clients’ cases are fully prepared for court action. It’s not always a case of just getting your name registered prior to a court deadline, as there may be a great deal of information and evidence required first.
- To know for sure how long you have left to claim, speak to our team and we can see if we can properly advise you;
- There is no point in leaving it. Claim as soon as you can to avoid the risk of missing out.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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