What is the statute of limitations for personal injury in Ireland

Did you know that you have only two years from the date of your accident to lodge a claim for your accident. After the expiration of two years, you will become Statute Barred. This means that you are no longer entitled to bring a claim for compensation arising out of your accident – essentially, you have run out of time. This time frame is set out in the’ Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act 1991. If you the claimant miss the statute of limitations deadline, you will not be able to bring a claim for personal injury compensation. It is therefore important to contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible after you have been injured. It’s also important to bear in mind that your claim must first be lodged through PIAB.

Exceptions to the two-year time limit

  • If the person who was injured was a minor at the time of the accident, the time limit starts to run from their eighteenth birthday. A parent or guardian can commence the injury claim for the child 2 years from the date of their 18th birthday. So, if a potential claimant was a baby or infant at the time of injury, legal action can be taken up to their 20th birthday.
  • If the person who was injured was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident, the time limit starts to run from the date that they regain capacity.
  • If the person who was injured was unaware of the injury or its cause due to the negligence of the person who caused the injury, the time limit starts to run from the date that the person became aware of the injury or its cause.

Issues surrounding claims time limit when making an application to PIAB

Since the coming into force of PIAB, most personal injury claims, must be assessed by PIAB, before any court proceedings can be issued. So, although two years may seem like a long time, you must keep in mind that you will need to obtain a medical report from your treating doctor in order to make an application to PIAB. If you are looking to get a report from a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist, you should be cognisant of the fact that it may take many months to get hold of this report. This will delay making your application to PIAB.

As of Sept 2023 it is not possible to make an application to PIAB, without the medical report. Note: It is important to note that where the required information is not provided, an application cannot be deemed complete by PIAB (Section 11 of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 (as amended)) and will not be deemed complete for the purposes of the statute of limitations (Section 50 of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 (as amended)). It is therefore important that the claimant and/or the claimant’s solicitor ensure they leave adequate time when submitting an application to PIAB.

How PIAB can use up time limitations

Another issue, surrounding the Statute of Limitations when making an application to PIAB, is naming the wrong respondent. If you name the wrong respondent in your application, then the Statute of Limitations will continue to run even though there’s a error of information on your PIAB application.

Case Examples
  • Example 1. Naming the wrong respondent on PIAB Application

    Case Example One:

    Your accident occurred on the 16th July 2021.

    When making your application you name the respondent as “Bob’s Hire” on the 16th July 2022. The Statute of Limitations has now been put on hold.

    PIAB decide not to make an assessment in your case, and they issue an authorisation naming “Bob’s Hire” on the 16th July 2023. This means that you can now go to a solicitor and ask that they issue court proceedings on your behalf against “Bob’s Hire”.

    However, when you contact the solicitor, they look at the paperwork and tell you that you have named to wrong respondent. “Bob’s Hire” is not a legal entity, and the correct legal entity is in fact “Global Hire Logistics Ltd”.

     The solicitor will explain to you that “Bob’s Hire” is merely the name of the business but is not in fact the correct registered legal title of the company.

    You are now statute barred.

    A solicitor would never allow this to happen, PIAB on the other hand would and does. We have unfortunately seen this scenario arise on many occasions.

  • Example 2. Two year time limit expires

    Case Example Two:

    You are walking though a housing estate and you trip and fall on a faulty/broken footpath.

    You may assume that the local authority it to blame for your accident/injury. You will, therefore, look up the local authority and name them in your application to PIAB.

    PIAB, will NOT provide you with any advice, in relation to the correct respondent.

    So, your claim proceeds through PIAB, you obtain an Authorisation naming the local council as a respondent.

    The local council then claims that they had not “taken the area in charge” and your case should have been taken against the original developer.

    Say you are still within the 2-year time limit, and you resubmit your claim to PIAB naming the original developer, assuming you have been able to find out the details of the original developer.

    What happens, when 6 months later, the 2-year time limit has expired, and the original developer comes back blaming another contractor or the architect. What if there were works carried out on the footpath in question by ESB or Irish Water?

    This is just another example showing that personal injury cases are often not straight forward and consulting a solicitor to obtain legal advice before making an application to PIAB is your best option to ensure a satisfactory conclusion.


Here are some additional resources related to Statute of Limitations that may be helpful:

Accidents Involving Children – Claiming on their Behalf >
How to bring a Claim forward on behalf of a Child (Infant or Minor) >
Why do I need a Solicitor for PIAB? >
About PIAB and the Claims Process – What you need to know >
Fewer Claims But Higher Premiums – Compensation >
Personal Injury Claims – Frequently Asked Questions >
What are General and Special Damages >
Read More Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act 1991 >

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