Is There A Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident?

By Stephen Moreau. Last Updated 29th February 2024. 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.

Car that has been heavily damaged in an accident

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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.

To find out if you are within the insurance claim time limit in the UK, contact us by:

Services And Information

  1. What Is The Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident?
  2. Are There Exceptions To The Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident?
  3. Am I Eligible To Make A Car Accident Claim?
  4. Car Accident Injury Claim Compensation Calculator
  5. After A Car Accident, What Evidence Do I Need?
  6. No Win No Fee Legal Help And Information On The Car Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK
  7. Other Information About The Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident

What Is The Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident?

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.

Are There Exceptions To The Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident?

As we have briefly mentioned, there are certain exceptions that apply to the 3-year time limit. For example, if a child has been injured in a car accident, then the time limit for starting a claim will be put on hold until the day of their 18th birthday. Before that day, a litigation friend could start a claim on the child’s behalf. Otherwise, the injured party will have three years to start their own claim once they turn 18.

The time limit to claim for a car accident will be frozen indefinitely if the injured party lacks the mental capacity to start their own legal proceedings. While the time limit is frozen, a litigation friend could claim on the injured party’s behalf. If the claimant later recovers their mental capacity and a claim hasn’t been made for them, they will then have three years to begin their own claim from the day of recovery.

For more advice about the time limit or other aspects of claiming compensation, you can contact our advisors for free today.

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.

Car Accident Injury Claim Compensation Calculator

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. It should be noted that the top row is not from the JCG but is included to demonstrate how compensation could be awarded for multiple serious injuries and special damages in a successful personal injury claim.

Multiple Severe Injuries and Special DamagesClaimants could be compensated for more than one very serious injury and related expenses, including lost wages and home help.Up to £1,000,000+
Brain DamageModerately Severe - The person will be significantly disabled and will require constant care. Disabilities may be physical or cognitive.£219,070 to £282,010
Brain DamageLess 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 InjurySevere (i) - An injury that is usually associated with incomplete paraplegia or one that results in permanent spastic quadriparesis.In the region of

Neck InjuryModerate (i) - Immediate symptoms caused by dislocations or fractures that may also require spinal fusion.£24,990 to

Leg InjuryAmputations (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 InjurySerious (iii) - Serious comminuted/compound fractures or injuries to the ligaments/joints that cause instability in the leg.£39,200 to £54,830
Back InjuryModerate (i) - The lumbar vertebrae suffers a crush or compression fracture, which causes constant discomfort and pain.£27,760 to £38,780
Whiplash TariffWhiplash with a psychological injury that lasts between 18-24 months.£4,345
WhiplashWhiplash that lasts between 18-24 months.£4,215

Special Damages

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.

A Man Holds His Neck Following A Car Crash.

After A Car Accident, What Evidence Do I Need?

Gathering evidence is a vital part of the personal injury claims process. This needs to show liability for the injuries you are claiming for.

There are various items you could submit to support your personal injury compensation claim. Some of these include:

  • Videos, such as dashcam footage that show the accident occurring.
  • Photographs of your injuries (if visible) or damage to your vehicle. You can also submit pictures of the accident scene.
  • Medical records could help illustrate the nature of your injuries as well as the treatment you needed.
  • Witness contact details could be noted following the collision so anyone who saw what happened can have a statement taken by a legal professional later in the claims process.
  • A copy of the police report, if there is one, could also be submitted.

If you would like to discuss what evidence you could submit when making a personal injury claim, please contact one of our team members for free advice.

No Win No Fee Legal Help And Information On The Car Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK

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 and a team member will get back to you.
  •       Using our live webchat feature.

Other Information About The Time Limit To Claim For A Car Accident

For more insight into car accident claims, you can read the additional information that’s been linked to below:

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.