Statute of Limitations Related to Personal Injury Cases in Turkey
The claims of compensation because of a unlawful act cease after a certain period of time. Normally the term is 2 years running from the date on which the damaged person recieved knowledge of damage and of the person who had caused the damage. This may not be longer than ten years from the date when the act causing the damage occured. (New Code of Obligation of Turkey entered into force in 2011, article 72)
There is one important issue to consider in Turkish Law related to statute of limitations of tortious acts ( in other words acts stemming from Personal Injury). In case that wrongful act causing the damage also became an issue of a criminal offence , Statute of Limitations applying to Criminal Offence would be taken into account by civil court dealing with personal injury case.
For example, in case that a person died by a brick which is fell out from the building, this negligence will be an issue of both civil and criminal case. In these situations, we need to consider time period stated in criminal act and in contract law of Turkey. If criminal act’s time period is longer then we need to take into account to criminal act provision related to this issue. To make it more concrete, according to Turkish Criminal Law, statute of limitation applies to killing of a person by negligence is 15 years, thus case can be filed within 15 years due to characteristic of offence.
Turkish Criminal Act, Article 66 states statute of limitations as below:
(1) Unless otherwise is provided in the law, public action is dismissed upon lapse of ;
a) Thirty years in offenses requiring punishment of heavy life imprisonment,
b) Twenty-five years in offenses requiring punishment of life imprisonment,
c) Twenty years in offenses requiring punishment of imprisonment not less than twenty years,
d) Fifteen years in offenses requiring punishment of imprisonment more than five years and less than twenty years,
e) Eight years in offenses requiring punishment of imprisonment or punitive fine not more than five years
(2) Public action is dismissed upon lapse of half of the a/m periods if the convict completed the age of ten but not yet attained the age of fifteen at the commission date of the offense; as for the convicts who completed the age of fifteen but not attained the age of eighteen, public action is dismissed upon lapse of one third of the a/m periods.
(3) In determination of statute of limitation, the qualified form of offense which requires imposition of heavy punishment is considered on the basis of the evidences presented to the file.
(4) The maximum limit of the punishment assessed in the law for the offense is taken into account during determination of the periods mentioned in afore subsection. In offenses, where imposition of alternative punishment is in question, the punishment of imprisonment is taken as basis with regard to statute of limitation
(7) Statute of limitation may not be applicable in case of commission of offenses in abroad, which require heavy imprisonment, or imprisonment or imprisonment more than ten years.
Accordingly, in case that personal injury stemming from criminal offence we also need to take into account the provision which is mentioned above. Civil court will also consider prescription periods concerned above.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Attorney Gokhan Cindemir
He graduated from Anatolian High School of Karadeniz Eregli, after his graduation he studied in Belgium with AFS intercultural exchange program. He obtained his law license degree from Marmara University of Law Faculty. During his university education, he participated in Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition on behalf of the Marmara University. After his admission to Istanbul Bar Association in 2009, he obtained master degree (LL.M) from Gent University / Belgium in the field of European and Comparative law. His master research was about Freedom of Establishment In Relation With Turkish rep. and EEC in the frame of Ankara Agreement. He is specialized in International Private Law, European Law, Real Estate Law, Penal Law and Tort Law. He speaks fluent English and has good command of Dutch and French. He is also authorized as a solicitor, barrister.
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