Is There A Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident?
By Cat Reeves. Last Updated 23rd August 2023. In this guide, we discuss time limits for making a valid car accident claim and also the insurance claim time limit in the UK. If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by the negligence of another party, then you may be entitled to claim compensation.
However, you may ask yourself ‘how long after a car accident can I claim?’ In most circumstances, there is a set time limit for when you can start a personal injury claim following a road traffic accident.
In this guide, we will explain what time limits exist for personal injury claims for injuries caused in car accidents. We’ll also explain how you can get support for your potential car accident claim from UK Law.
Get In Touch With Us Today
At UK Law, we can offer free specialist advice on different kinds of personal injury claims. If you have any questions about car accident claims, then we are happy to help. Contact us by using the pop-up chat box in the corner or our claim online form. We are also available by phone. Call us on 020 3870 4868
Services And Information
- Important Information On Car Accident Claim Time Limits
- How Long After An Accident Can You Claim?
- What Are Personal Injury Claim Limitation Periods?
- How Long After A Car Accident Could I Make A Claim?
- Car Accident Injury Claim Compensation Calculator
- Could I Make A Car Accident Claim Close To The Time Limit?
- How Long Do Personal Injury Claims Take After A Car Accident?
- After A Car Accident What Evidence Do I Need?
- No Win No Fee Legal Help And Information On The Car Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK – Get In Touch Today
- Other Information About The Insurance Claim Time Limit For UK Claims
- FAQs About Car Accident Claim Time Limits And The Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK
Have you been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? Did you suffer an injury as a direct consequence? Are you able to prove that a third party who owed you a duty of care was at fault for the accident? If so, it’s worth exploring the possibility of claiming compensation.
Car accidents can cause all sorts of different injuries to people. They can also cause a lot of damage to vehicles and other property which you may own. If you wish to make a personal injury claim for a car accident, it’s important to know how much time you have.
Am I Eligible To Make A Car Accident Claim?
To be eligible to make a car accident claim, you must be able to prove that you were injured due to another road user breaching their duty of care. All road users owe each other a duty of care whilst using the road. This includes drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Per their duty of care, they must use the road responsibly to promote road safety and follow the rules set out for them in the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Highway Code.
If another road user were to breach this duty of care, this could cause an accident which could leave you injured. Some examples of when you could make a claim after a car accident include:
- Another driver fails to follow the rules of the roundabout, causing them to crash into the side of your car, and you suffer a broken leg.
- A driver is speeding and fails to come to a stop in time at a set of traffic lights, causing them to crash into the back of your car, and you suffer a back injury.
- A motorist fails to check a junction is clear before pulling out, causing them to crash into your car. You then suffer a shoulder injury.
Do not hesitate to contact our advisors today if you have any questions. They could even help advise you on how to make a claim against another driver with no car insurance or the time limit you have left to make a claim.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you might be wondering, “How long after an accident can you claim?”
Usually, you will have three years to start your car accident claim. This time limit applies to all personal injury claims, and is set out by the Limitation Act 1980. Time limits for a number of different claims are set out under this legislation, which also outlines the exceptions for each limit.
The exceptions for the personal injury claims time limit apply to those injured under the age of eighteen and those who lack the mental capacity to make a claim for themselves. We’ll discuss these exceptions later on in this guide. Read on to learn more about how long can you claim after an accident, or contact our team to get started.
What Are Car Accident Claims?
Car accidents are a type of road traffic accident (RTA) that involve at least one car. RTAs are defined as accidents involving a vehicle on a road or public area which has caused injury or damage to people, animals, property and/or other vehicles.
This means at any of the following could potentially be a victim of a car accident:
- Motorcycle riders
- Horse riders
- Owners of property (when property gets damaged by an RTA)
Road Traffic Accident Statistics
The graph below has been put together using government statistics for the year ending June 2021.
The figures relate to the injuries caused by injudicious drivers. They have also been categorised by the severity of the injury. Slight injuries could be something minor like mild whiplash, for example. A serious injury could be broken bones or possibly even paralysis.
A fatal accident injury is when the victim passes away as a result of their injuries. A relative can still make a claim on the behalf of a deceased family member.
As you can see from the graph, the leading cause of slight, serious, and fatal injuries is exceeding the speed limit.
If you have any questions regarding when the start date of your 3-year time limit began, get in touch with our advisors today.
For most personal injury claims, the time limit for starting the claim is three years from when the incident took place. This time limit is set by law thanks to section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980).
With some personal injury cases, the three-year time limit for claiming might start later than the date of the incident. If injuries suffered by a claimant can’t be identified immediately, then the time limit starts from the day when their injuries could be diagnosed. The time limit, therefore, starts from what is called the date of knowledge.
It is always recommended that if you want to start a personal injury claim for a car accident that you do so as soon as possible. This applies whether or not the standard three-year time limit for claiming has been set for your accident.
The Three Year Time Limit
A three-year time limit from the date of the accident or date of knowledge is usually applied for potential personal injury claims. This means you must start the claim within three years. However, once started it can take as long as necessary to conclude. This time limit is typically applied to other kinds of personal injury claims too. However, there are certain circumstances in which the three-year time limit can become frozen, at least on a temporary basis.
Car Insurance Claim Time Limit – Claimants Under 18
If you are under the age of 18, or your child has been involved in a road traffic accident, you may be wondering, ‘how long can you make a claim after an accident as a minor?’.
The car insurance claim time limit is suspended for claimants under the age of 18. Once the person turns 18, they will have 3 years to make their claim. However, a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf before their 18th birthday. A litigation friend could be a parent, solicitor, or sibling, and they are appointed by the court.
Do not hesitate to contact our advisors today if you wish to discuss your car accident claim. Additionally, our advisors could help answer any question that you might have, such as, ‘how long after an accident can you file a claim?’.
Other Extensions To The Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK
Another way the three year limitation period can become frozen is if a victim lacks the mental capacity to claim on their own behalf. This applies whether the accident or a pre-existing condition is responsible for the reduced mental capacity.
A victim may later recover enough mental capacity to represent themselves in their own claim. If this happens, then the time limit for claiming will become active from the day of recovery. A litigation friend could potentially start a claim on behalf of someone who currently lacks the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
Are you looking to make a personal injury claim? Then you may have questions about the compensation you could receive for it. Compensation payouts for injuries can vary substantially. One reason for this is that there are lots of different injuries which can occur.
Car Accident Claim Compensation Payouts For 2022
Car accident claim compensation payouts for 2022 are calculated on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors that affect car accident compensation are the severity of your injuries and the impact of them on your life. During the process of making a car accident claim, you may need to attend an independent medical assessment to determine the severity and impact of your injury. Any findings from this assessment can be used to help solicitors value your claim. Solicitors also use the Judicial College Guidelines to assist them.
Figures from the 16th and latest edition of the Judicial College Guidelines, published in April 2022, have been included in the table below. The figures are to be used only as guides as they do not determine your car accident compensation payout.
|Brain Damage||Moderately Severe - The person will be significantly disabled and will require constant care. Disabilities may be physical or cognitive.||£219,070 to £282,010|
|Brain Damage||Less Severe - The person will be able to return to normal working/social life following a good recovery, However, they may still struggle with their memory and concentration.||£15,320 to £43,060|
|Neck Injury||Severe (i) - An injury that is usually associated with incomplete paraplegia or one that results in permanent spastic quadriparesis.||In the region of
|Neck Injury||Moderate (i) - Immediate symptoms caused by dislocations or fractures that may also require spinal fusion.||£24,990 to
|Leg Injury||Amputations (iii) - One leg is amputated above the knee. Various factors such as phantoms pain and any psychological problems will affect how much is awarded.||£104,830 to £137,470|
|Leg Injury||Serious (iii) - Serious comminuted/compound fractures or injuries to the ligaments/joints that cause instability in the leg.||£39,200 to £54,830|
|Back Injury||Moderate (i) - The lumbar vertebrae suffers a crush or compression fracture, which causes constant discomfort and pain.||£27,760 to £38,780|
|Back Injury||Minor (i) - A disc prolapse, sprain, strain or soft tissue injury fully recovers within 2-5 years without needing surgery.||£7,890 to £12,510
|Shoulder Injury||Serious - A dislocated shoulder with damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus that causes neck and shoulder pain.||£12,770 to £19,200|
|Shoulder Injury||Moderate - A frozen shoulder that causes discomfort with limited shoulder movement. Symptoms should last for around 2 years.||£7,890 to £12,770
|Whiplash Tariff||Whiplash with a psychological injury that lasts between 18-24 months.||£4,345|
|Whiplash||Whiplash that lasts between 18-24 months.||£4,215|
The injuries and compensation figures listed above fall under ‘general damages’ as part of your potential payout. Compensation may also be given to you for ‘special damages’. This covers losses of a financial nature that are directly caused by your car accident injuries. Losses that could possibly be covered under special damages can include:
- The cost of any medical care you require due to your injuries
- Travel expenses directly related to receiving your medical treatment.
- Loss of earnings that have occurred as a result of time off work
You can contact us today for a more specific estimate of the compensation you could receive for your case.
How Could The Whiplash Reforms Affect My Claim For A Car Accident?
If you ask, ‘I’ve had an accident, how do I claim?’, you should be aware of the Whiplash Reform Programme. The whiplash reforms affect how minor injuries suffered in a car accident are claimed for. They apply to road traffic accidents in England and Wales.
Your claim for a car accident must be made through the reforms if:
- You are 18 or older.
- You are the driver or passenger injured in a vehicle.
- The accident occurred on or after the 31st of May 2021.
- Your injuries are valued at £5,000.
- The overall value of your claim does not exceed £10,000.
If the above applies and you suffered whiplash, your injury will be assigned a tariff amount from the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. We’ve included two of the tariff amounts in our table above. If you suffer other minor injuries, such as a broken rib, these will be assigned value with guidance from the JCG. However, these minor injuries will still be claimed for under the reform programme.
Call our advisors for further information about the whiplash reforms and claiming on car insurance. They can value your claim for free. Having your claim accurately valued is important to ensure it is made in the correct manner because once you receive your settlement, your claim can not be reopened.
The process of starting a personal injury car accident claim can begin at any time within the limitation period. However, it is always advisable to start your claim as soon as possible. It may be difficult to get your claim started in time if you don’t start the process until near the end of your limitation period.
Statute Barred Proceedings And Court Cases
If court proceedings for a compensation claim are not started before the limitation date, then the claim becomes statute-barred and can no longer proceed. This usually happens when more than three years have passed since the date the relevant incident occurred (or the date of knowledge).
On rare occasions and at the court’s discretion, the limitation date may be overridden under Section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980. It is unlikely that a court will override a limitation date unless there is an exceptional reason to justify this.
After a car accident in the UK, you may wonder how long it takes for a personal injury claim to settle. However, there is no exact answer for this. The length of the process may depend on a number of factors, such as:
- If it is clear who was liable for the accident
- If the defendant is accepting full liability
- Whether multiple cars were involved
Gathering relevant evidence that can demonstrate that the other party acted negligently and caused you harm could help with the claims process. The more evidence you have, the more likely your claim after a car accident could be settled quicker.
Additionally, some road traffic accident claims can naturally take longer due to split liability being involved, or if your injuries were caused in a hit and run accident. When you claim for a car accident in these circumstances, it can take longer for the court to decide how damages are awarded.
An expert road accident solicitor from our panel could help speed up the personal injury claim process by working with you to prepare a solid argument and collect supporting evidence. Get it touch at any time for your free consultation.
When making a claim for a car accident due to your injuries, you need to provide evidence to support your claim.
Here are some examples:
- Visual evidence – This includes dashcam/CCTV footage, as well as photographs. Obtain footage of the accident itself and provide photos of any physical injuries.
- Medical reports – You have the right to request these at any time. They’ll contain details relating to your injuries and any treatment you received.
- Witness contact details – Make sure that if anyone saw the accident, you have a way of reaching them to see if they will submit a written statement.
Get in touch today for more information, including how to claim on car insurance and how much your claim could be worth.
Is There An Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK For Reporting Incidents To Insurers?
The time limit for how long after a car accident you can claim through insurance, will generally depend on the terms of your insurance, and your insurance provider.
You should however report an accident to them as soon as possible after it happens. Again, you would have to speak to your insurance to see their time limit to report an accident, and information on how long after an accident can you claim.
Reporting an accident to your insurance is not the same thing as claiming with them and you will likely not have an obligation to make a claim through them.
Please reach out to an adviser to discuss the benefits of making a claim after a car accident with a solicitor.
No Win No Fee Legal Help And Information On The Car Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK – Get In Touch Today
If you are within the car insurance claim time limit in the UK and would like to seek compensation, you may like to instruct a solicitor to represent your case. One of the road traffic accident solicitors from our panel could help you. They typically provide their services under a type of No Win No Fee arrangement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
When your solicitor uses this type of agreement, they generally won’t request an upfront payment for their work on your case. They also don’t expect you to pay any ongoing service fees. Furthermore, if you are not awarded compensation following an unsuccessful claim, you won’t need to make a payment for your solicitor’s services.
However, if the outcome of your claim is positive, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your settlement. The amount that can be taken as this fee is a percentage that is limited by the law.
If you have any further questions, such as, ‘How long can a car insurance claim stay open in the UK,’ please contact an advisor from our team. In addition to free advice, they can assess your claiming eligibility, and if you seem like you have a strong case, you could be passed onto a solicitor from our panel.
To find out if you are within the insurance claim time limit in the UK, contact us by:
- Calling 020 3870 4868
- Filling out our ‘claim online’ form for a call back.
- Using our live webchat feature.
For more insight into car accident claims, you can read the additional information that’s been linked to below:
- When And How To Report A Car Accident
- What To Do If You’re Hit By A Car As A Pedestrian
- Could I Claim Compensation For Car Accident Insurance Excess Fees?
- Making A CCTV Footage Request
- NHS Information On Broken Bones
- The Highway Code
- How to Claim for a Car Accident Involving an Uninsured Driver
- Cycling Accident Claims
In this final section to our guide on car accident claim time limits, we’ve answered some questions we are often asked.
Do claims need to go to court?
A car accident claim can be settled between the parties involved before it becomes necessary to go to court. If, however, no party accepts responsibility, or if a settlement can’t be agreed upon, then the case will be decided in a court trial.
Could I claim on behalf of someone else?
You can potentially make a car accident compensation claim on behalf of someone else in certain circumstances. A representative may be able to claim on behalf of a victim if they are below the age of 18 or lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
Will I need to visit a solicitor in person?
You should have the option to talk privately with a solicitor in whatever way you’re most comfortable with. You’re normally able to discuss your claim with a solicitor on the phone or by email.
Could I secure an early payout?
Following a car accident you were in, the insurer for the liable party may offer you a settlement which would bring an early end to the matter. It is up to you whether to accept such an offer if it comes along.
However, it could also mean getting less money than you potentially could have received through a compensation claim.
What’s the insurance claim time limit in the UK?
If you want to claim personal injury compensation, you’d usually have 3 years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge to claim. However, when it comes to making a claim for damage to your car without personal injury, it would be wise to check your policy.
When could the insurance claim time limit in the UK be different?
If you are claiming compensation for a child, you could have until their 18th birthday. If you chose not to claim for them, they could claim once they’re an adult. They would have until they turn 21 to do so.
Further to this, the three-year limit is suspended if you’re claiming for someone without the mental capacity to claim for themselves.
I’m getting close to the insurance claim time limit in the UK – is there still time to claim?
It would be wise to speak to our team in this instance. We could advise you on whether there’s still time for you to launch a personal injury claim before it becomes time-barred.
What evidence do I need to submit with my claim?
Usually, you would need to provide evidence that the accident happened, was due to negligence by a road user, and caused you injuries. We could advise you on evidence that could support your claim.
We hope we have answered your questions about the insurance claim time limit in the UK. If you have any further queries, please get in touch at any time.