Date of knowledge | Definition

When making a personal injury claim the date of knowledge is the date that the claimant became aware of the injury, or could, with reasonable diligence, have been aware.

In most cases the date of knowledge and date of injury will be one and the same - for example in a car accident. It may be that there are delayed symptoms such as delayed whiplash or delayed concussion.

In some situations, the claimant may not immediately be aware that they have been injured following an accident or exposure to a hazardous substance. Many work-related illness claims are traced back not to a single event, but to ongoing circumstances, such as working for months or years in an environment without suitable ventilation or ear-protection.

For industrial disease claims, such as claims for Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) or asbestos-related disease claims, the three-year limit starts from the claimant's date of knowledge. The date of knowledge is usually the date that the claimant became aware of the cause of their injury or illness.

When does the date of knowledge start?

The date of knowledge is the date that the claimant knew, or should have known, that their injury was the result of another party's negligence.

Depending on the nature of the injury or illness, the date of knowledge could be:

  • the date that symptoms began,
  • the date that the claimant suspected that they had an injury or illness, or,
  • the date that the claimant received a medical diagnosis

Determining the date of knowledge is not always clear cut, and can be complicated in cases where the claimant was initially diagnosed with a minor injury, only to discover some time later that their condition was more serious.

If you are considering making a claim and are unsure when your three-year limit started, an injury solicitor will be able to advise more fully and will confirm whether further expert medical opinion should be sought.

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher