What Is The Accident At Work Claim Time Limit?

By Danielle Fletcher. Last updated 7th June 2023. Have you suffered an injury at work because of your employer’s negligence? Could the accident which caused your injury have been prevented had there been the correct health and safety policies in place? If so, it’s important to be aware of the accident at work claim time limit.

Within England and Wales, there is a personal injury claim time limit of 3 years. Meaning generally, you must start your claim within this time frame. However, there are exceptions. We will explain this further throughout the guide. 

In this guide, we will look at the different factors that can affect the time limits for your claim. However, if you have any further questions about the specifics of your case, you can get in touch with our team for free legal advice.

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There are a number of ways you can get in touch with our team of advisors. If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, they may be able to connect you with our panel of personal injury solicitors.

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accident at work claim time limit

Advice on the accident at work claim time limit

Learn More

  1. Am I Eligible To Make An Accident At Work Claim?
  2. What Is An Employer’s Duty Of Care?
  3. What Is The Accident At Work Claim Time Limit?
  4. Time Limits For An Injury At Work Claim For Under Eighteens
  5. The Accident At Work Claim Time Limit For Those With A Reduced Mental Capacity
  6. I Suffered An Injury At Work, What Should I Do?
  7. Compensation Payouts For An Injury At Work
  8. Make A No Win No Fee Work Compensation Claim
  9. Other Information On Time Limits For An Injury At Work Claim

Am I Eligible To Make An Accident At Work Claim?

When we’re at work, we would like to think that we are free from the risk of illness or injury. But no workplace is completely risk-free. Even if your employer does everything they reasonably can to prevent you from experiencing harm, risks may still be present. 

However, if your employer hasn’t taken all reasonably practicable steps to keep you safe causing you to suffer an injury, you may wish to make a claim.

In order to have a valid claim, you must be able to establish three important factors. 

  1. You were owed some sort of duty of care by your employer
  2. This duty was breached due to your employer failing to uphold their duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent you from experiencing harm
  3. You developed an illness or sustained an injury as a result.

However, if you are deemed to be partially to blame for the accident that caused your injuries, then you may still receive a partial payout. For example, if you are found 25% responsible for the accident at work that caused your injuries, then you could still receive 75% of the full settlement amount. 

You also need to be aware of the time limits for an injury at work claim. Read on to find out more.

What Is An Employer’s Duty Of Care?

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that every employer has a legal duty of care to their employees. This means that they must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employees while on the premises. 

If an employer fails to uphold their duty of care, it could result in you suffering Injuries at work caused by their negligence. For instance, you may trip over a loose floor tile that hadn’t been fixed despite the employer being made aware. As a result, you may have sustained a broken elbow causing you limited movement in your arm and disrupting your daily activities. 

Similarly, you may be injured in an accident because you weren’t given sufficient training to carry out the job that you were told to do. For example, your employer may have failed to train you before you used a power drill. As a result, you may have sustained a severe broken hand injury after using equipment you weren’t trained to handle. 

Although you may assume that you’re to blame because your actions led to the accident, in this instance, your employer failed to provide adequate training to all employees.

However, all employees also share a responsibility to keep themselves and other employees safe from harm too. 

What Is The Accident At Work Claim Time Limit?

Let’s take a look at the accident at work claim time limit.

The time limits for an injury at work claim are fairly straightforward when looking at certain kinds of injuries. As stipulated in the Limitation Act 1980, the general time limit you’ll have following a workplace accident is 3 years from the date of the accident. 

However, it’s important to note that there are many ways you could be injured or made ill at work due to your employer’s negligence. Sometimes, the ill effects can be noticed right away. For example, if you fall on a wet floor that wasn’t signposted and break your leg, you’re likely to notice this immediately. 

Sometimes, though, the outcome of employer negligence cannot be noticed straight away. This is often the case with industrial illnesses and diseases such as asbestos-related diseases.

As such, there are some exceptions to the usual time limits for workplace personal injury claims. We have explored these in more detail throughout the following sections. 

Time Limits For An Injury At Work Claim For Under Eighteens

If you’ve been injured at work in an accident through no fault of your own while you were under 18, the three-year time limit differs slightly than if an adult was injured due to employer negligence. This is because, legally, someone under the age of 18 cannot start legal proceedings without the help of a litigation friend. 

While the 3-year time limit is suspended until you turn 18, a litigation friend could represent you in your claim for compensation.

A litigation friend is an adult who could apply to represent you in your claim for compensation, such as a parent, family member, guardian or solicitor. Any money awarded to you in cases such as these will be kept in a Court Funds Office account until you turn 18. 

If nobody has claimed on your behalf before you turn 18, you can then start a claim for yourself. The limitation period restarts on your 18th birthday, which means you have until your 21st birthday to start a claim.

The Accident At Work Claim Time Limit For Those With A Reduced Mental Capacity

Some of those who are injured at work may experience reduced mental capacity as a result. For instance, they may suffer from brain damage or fall into a coma.

While they are unable to claim for themselves the three-year accident at work claim time limit is suspended and a litigation friend can apply to claim on their behalf.  

The injured person has three years to claim themselves from the date they regain their mental capacity. Otherwise, the limitation period is suspended indefinitely.

I Suffered An Injury At Work, What Should I Do?

If you suffer a workplace accident, it can be difficult to know what steps to take before making your time limits for an injury at work claim. Some of the stages are vital in helping you get the compensation you deserve. We’ve listed some of the most common ones below.

  • Gather evidence – Without relevant evidence, your solicitor may find it difficult to help you build a strong case. Some good examples of evidence are; photographs, written witness statements or accident book entries, CCTV footage, and medical reports.
  • Seek legal advice – Our advisors can offer you free legal advice regarding your claim. We are ready and waiting to answer your questions on this and related matters. Legal assistance during your claim will help to simplify the process and provide you with legal expertise to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

What Evidence Can Help Me Prove My Workplace Accident Claim?

As we stated above, you will need to collect sufficient evidence to support your workplace accident claim.

Some examples of the evidence that could help support your claim include:

  • A copy of the accident log book with details of the incident that caused your injury at work. It is a legal requirement for all workplaces with ten or more employees to have an accident book.
  • The contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident so they can provide a statement later into the claiming process.
  • A copy of your medical records with the information about the nature of your injury and the treatment you required.
  • Videos of the incident, such as from CCTV.
  • Photographs of the accident scene.

Please get in touch with our advisors if you need any help collecting evidence. They can also assess whether you are within the accident at work claim time limit.

Compensation Payouts For An Injury At Work

When discussing compensation, there are two heads of claim that your compensation may consist of. The first of these is general damages. 

General damages are awarded to you to account for the pain and suffering caused by the injury you’ve sustained. Claims can be made for both psychological and physical injuries sustained in a workplace accident.

The figure is calculated by referring to a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG lists what injuries could be worth, depending on the severity and recovery time. In conjunction with the JCG, medical records may also be used to help value your claim. 

The other head of your claim is known as special damages. This part of the compensation is intended to reimburse you for any financial losses or outgoings caused by your injury.

For example, if you’re injured at work then you could experience a loss of earnings because you’ve had to take time off. Special damages would take this into account.

However, in order for something to be included in special damages, it’s vital that you provide proof. Keeping hold of bills, receipts and invoices from expenses you’ve incurred will help support your claim for monetary losses. 

Below, we’ve included a table containing the general damages payments for various injuries. These figures are based on the guideline brackets included in the JCG. 

Injury type Details Amount
Knee injuries (a) Severe: (i) A serious knee injury resulting in ligamentous damage and considerable pain. £69,730 to £96,210
Leg injuries (b) Severe leg injuries: (iii) A serious compound fracture that requires a lengthy treatment and causes extensive scarring. £39,200 to £54,830
Deafness/ Tinnitus (c) Total loss of hearing in one ear: The person may experience complications such as tinnitus, dizziness or headaches. £31,310 to £45,540
Injuries to the elbow (b) Less severe elbow injury that may have an impact on function but won’t cause a significant disability. £15,650 to £32,010
Achilles tendon (b) Serious: Injuries such as complete division of the tendon that is repaired successfully but causes ongoing issues with ankle movement. £24,990 to £30,090
Hernia (a) The person may experience ongoing pain as well as a limitation on physical activities. £14,900 to £24,170
Hand Injuries (j) Index finger fracture: The fracture may have healed quickly but a person may continue to have issues with their grip and pain. £9,110 to £12,240
Shoulder Injuries (e) Clavicle fracture: The award given will depend on different factors including the extent of the fracture and ongoing symptoms. £5,150 to £12,240
Chest Injuries (f) Injuries that lead to a collapsed lung but where a full recovery is made without complications. £2,190 to £5,320

Make A No Win No Fee Work Compensation Claim

If you are within the accident at work claim time limit and are eligible to make a personal injury claim, then you could look to gain the support of a solicitor who is experienced in handling such claims. One of the experienced solicitors on our panel could help you with your personal injury claim. Additionally, one may offer to work with you on a No Win No Fee basis under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

When claiming with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you won’t be asked to pay them any upfront costs for their services. If your claim succeeds, your solicitor will take a small percentage from the compensation awarded to you. This is called a success fee, and the percentage they can take as one is capped by law. If your case fails, you usually won’t be expected to pay for your solicitor’s services.

To learn more about No Win No Fee solicitors, or if you still have questions about claiming compensation for a work injury, or the time limit for personal injury claims, you can contact our advisors by:

Other Information On Time Limits For An Injury At Work Claim

We’ve included some links that should provide additional help and guidance when making a claim following an injury at work that was not your fault. 

Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for statistics for Great Britain in 2020/21.

See the government website for information on your legal right to request CCTV footage of yourself.

Read this NHS guidance on whether you’ve broken a bone.

Visit our guide to understand your rights after an accident at work.

See our helpful guide on how to claim if you’re injured at work.

Read our useful guide on making a fatal accident claim.

Our guide on how you could sue on behalf of someone else could help.

Visit our guide on manual handling claims.

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