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Be careful of time, when travelling

Be careful of time, when travelling

By: John Kilmister

Tags: Personal Injury, Civil Litigation

Alas, I am not talking about Dr Who travelling through time and space but the more worldly need to be careful of Court time limits if you have been injured in an accident on a ship or aeroplane.

If you have been unfortunate enough to be injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault and are looking to make a claim for compensation then a quick search on Google will quickly tell you that the time limit for issuing Court proceedings is three years.

Seems all very straight forward you might think. Beware, however, because there are exceptions where that time limit is less than three years. One of them is if you are injured as a passenger travelling on a ship or a plane. In those circumstances the time limit is two years not three.

The reason for this is that travel by sea or air is covered by international conventions which set out universally agreed rules.

You may think 'Okay so it is two years instead of three, I can deal with that' However there are additional traps for the unwary!

If, as will nearly always be the case, the accident on the ship or plane occurred outside of UK jurisdiction, the Defendant’s permitted time period to investigate any claim is doubled. Essentially that means that instead of four months to investigate they will have nearly eight months. That means that even if you submit your clam promptly after you have returned home, often the best part of a year will have passed before the Defendant has to reply to say whether liability for your accident is admitted or denied.

In practice, it is by no means unknown for Defendant representatives to try and “keep you talking” in the hope that you will miss the shorter time limit for issuing Court proceedings.

'Ah yes', you might say, 'but I have researched online and it says that even if I miss the time limit for issuing Court proceedings the Court does have the power to extend the time so my case can proceed'.

And you would be correct: -  if it was an accident in the UK with the normal three year time limit. However the final trick up the sleeve for Defendants in ship or aeroplane accidents is that under the conventions that govern these claims the Court does not have any power to extend time – if you miss the two year time limit for issuing Court proceedings then that is the end of your claim and you will receive no compensation!

If you have been injured in an accident abroad and it was not your fault then you can contact our  civil litigation department and we can provide you with expert advice and assistance.



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