The general rule of thumb is that you can raise court action up to three years after the accident.
It should be noted that “raising court action” means serving the court papers on the liable party – NOT telling the other party that you think you have a claim. Accordingly, you should not leave it until the last minute before contacting a solicitor.
In certain cases the courts do allow exceptions. For example, if you were unaware of the accident or the injury for medical reasons, the courts may deem the time limit to start running from when you actually became aware of the circumstances. A good example is cases involving injuries arising from exposure to asbestos, which can take a number of years to affect an individual.
However, once the court deems a time limit to be exceeded, it is unusual that they will allow a claim to be made. Consequently, it is essential that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible following the accident.