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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Hi I was injured at work in an historic event circa. 1989.

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I was injured at work in an historic event circa. 1989. The accident was recorded in the workplace accident book. The accident damaged my spine, and now, years later, I have been diagnosed as disabled, and no longer able to work. When I claimed for Industrial Accident benefit some three years ago, my approximate date of accident was refused by my previous employer, as ''I was not in the company employ at the dates provided'' None of the accident helplines will pursue a claim more than three years ago, but my disability only manifested on me at that time, and is progressively getting worse. I expect to be only able to mobilise via wheelchair in the near to short term. How do I pursue an independent claim?
My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.

Why did you not make a claim nearer the time of the accident?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Alex


The accident at the time, led to me being off-work and lying on a concrete floor for 6 weeks(the accepted treatment at the time). It is only in the last 8 years, that the problem developed into the spinal issues I now face. I was not wanting to be litigious, until the company brushed me off when the DWP followed up on my claim for Industrial Injuries Benefit

I'm sorry to hear about the accident and the failure of the company to recognise the harm you have suffered. It must be upsetting for you.

As a matter of law its going to be impossible to pursue a personal injury claim now though. The Limitation Act 1980 sets down a time limit of 3-years to make a claim for personal injury - in your case the time limit has well and truly passed.

I appreciate this is not the news you want to hear but there are a number of reasons for the time limit 1. A claim made at or around the time ensures that all available documentary evidence is retained 2. Any witnesses have a better memory 3. Medical evidence is available showing a direct link to the accident. With so much time having passed none of this information is going to be reliable or available.

I'm sorry to give you such bad news but I have to explain the law to you honestly and objectively.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.



If that is truly the be-all-and-end-of it, Cry then so be it, however, I find it hard to accept that an accident that does not represent itself until many years afterward, can be so stringently-time consequential. e.g.. someone has a car accident, they're fine for 5 years then drop down dead?

Is the standard of limitations the definitive legal response in this time, or is it a 'possibility' to follow up my claim under the legal system prevalent now?

Your difficulty is that you clearly suffered some injury (you were off work and had to lay flat) and must have known at the time that your symptoms were related to the accident.

Therefore, although your symptoms have worsened over the years there was nothing preventing you from making a claim at the time. I appreciate that this is hard to accept but the purpose of the limitations is to protect you and the other party.

The car accident scenario: five years after the event I don't see how it would be possible to link the death to the accident. And if the injuries were prevalent prior to death the deceased should have made a claim.
Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just one final attempt, Alex..


what about the precedents in the cases for Thalidomide and also Asbestosis? They were all outside a statute of limitations of 3 years?

By all means you can certainly try and rely on those special cases as precedent for your claim but I think it will be very difficult.

I have not looked at the thalidomide or asbestos cases for some time but as I understand the position those cases were brought under s.11(4)(b) of the Limitations Act 1980 which states that the three years starts from the date of knowledge of the person injured. In otherwords it was not until after some years that the injured person became aware that thalidomide or asbestos caused their condition.

In contrast you knew at the time or shortly thereafter that you had sufferd some injury to your back so there was nothing preventing you from making a claim. The only difference is that your back condition has worsened over the years and the trigger for wanting to make a claim is the failed DWP claim.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much Alex, I will probably try and pursue a claim, as I believe I have been sorely done to..however you have answered perfectly the problems I will face..many thanks

Sorry I could not be more positive. I wish you all the very best for the future. Alex