Limitation Period In A Personal Injury Claim In The UK

By Stephen Moreau. Last Updated 16th February 2024. Have you suffered an injury at work or in public that wasn’t your fault? Did you contract an illness from your occupation and only became aware of it sometime later? If you suffered injury as the result of the negligence of someone who owed you a duty of care, you might be considering claiming compensation. But how long do you lawfully have to do this? What is the limitation period for injury claims? This guide aims to answer those questions for you.

A client fills in a personal injury claim form

Limitation period in a personal injury claim

A personal injury claim can seem like a big enough step as it is without worrying that you have run out of time to make one. In this article, we explain the facts around whether you can start your claim now and what exceptions there may be to the general 3-year time limit. Call us now if you would like to know if you could claim today:

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Services And Information

  1. What Is The Limitation Period In A Personal Injury Claim?
  2. Is There A Time Limit On Child Accident Claims?
  3. Limitation Period In A Personal Injury Claim – Fatal Accident Claims
  4. How Much Compensation Could I Claim For A Personal Injury?
  5. Claiming For Accidents And Injuries On A No Win No Fee Basis
  6. Other Information About A Limitation Period For Injury Claims

What Is The Limitation Period In A Personal Injury Claim?

A piece of legislation called the Limitation Act 1980 establishes that in England and Wales, the time limit for starting a personal injury claim is three years. This usually begins from the date of your accident.

Under certain circumstances, the time limit for personal injury claims can work differently. The time limit may be frozen temporarily or indefinitely if the injured party is either a child or lacks the mental capacity to start a claim. We’ll discuss the exceptions to this rule and how they could affect you later on in this article.

To learn more about how these circumstances impact the limitation period in a personal injury claim, read on or contact our advisors for free either online or by calling us.

Is There A Time Limit On Child Accident Claims?

Anyone under the age of 18 who has suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence could have a claim for personal injury made on their behalf. A litigation friend would do this.

Alternatively, if nobody makes a claim on their behalf, they would have 3 years from the date of their 18th birthday to claim. Prior to this they are classed as a ‘minor’ and are unable to pursue a claim independently.

What If The Injured Party Lacks The Mental Capacity To Claim?

If an adult lacks the mental capacity to claim, a litigation friend could also claim on their behalf. However, if the person who lacks mental capacity recovers it, the start date of the 3-year time limit would be the date of recovery.

What Are The Main Duties Of A Litigation Friend?

  • Doing everything you can to tell the child about the case and finding out how they feel and what their wishes are
  • Acting in the child’s best interests
  • Talking to their solicitor, getting their advice and giving instructions that are in the child’s best interests

If the claim is successful and parties agree on a compensation amount to pay the child, the Court needs to approve the settlement.

Limitation Period In A Personal Injury Claim – Fatal Accident Claims

There are a number of types of deaths that should be reported to a coroner. Coroners are independent and investigate all deaths where:

  • there is an unknown cause.
  • there is reason to believe the death mightn’t be due to natural causes.
  • an inquiry is needed for another reason.

They would typically perform an autopsy and may take statements from concerned or involved parties. Sometimes, the results of the Coroner’s findings are sent for an inquest.

There is usually a time limit of 3 years for making a fatal accident claim. This can start from the date of death or the date when the fatal accident occurred. Why not get in touch to check how long you might have left to claim?

How Much Compensation Could I Claim For A Personal Injury?

Compensation amounts depend on factors such as evidence. The results of an independent medical assessment can help to prove your claim of physical or emotional injury. A lawyer can compare the resulting medical report with injuries listed in a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines and arrive at a bracket award figure that may be deemed appropriate for you.

These amounts try to take into consideration the impact on your life after the injuries. Pain and suffering are also acknowledged in these figures. This form of compensation is known as general damages. They are not guaranteed amounts. The idea is to merely provide a guide figure commensurate with that specific injury. Please note that the first entry in the table below is an estimated figure and not based on the Judicial College Guidelines.

Injury SeverityCompensation FigureNotes
Multiple Serious Injuries Plus Special DamagesSeriousUp to £500,000+If you have valid grounds to claim for multiple serious injuries, then you may receive a payout covering all of these as well as any related special damages, which may include loss of earnings.
Brain DamageModerate (c) (i)£150,110 to £219,070There is a moderate to severe deficit intellectually. The senses are affected and there is a significant risk of epilepsy.
Brain DamageLess Severe (d)£15,320 to £43,060Good recovery with some residual problems such as concentration or memory issues.
Neck Severe (a) (i)In the region of £148,330Little or no movement in the neck despite 24 hour collar wear for a number of years.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere (a)£59,860 to £100,670Permanent effects preventing a person from functioning at a pre-trauma level.
BackSevere (a) (ii)£74,160 to £88,430Nerve root damage associated with a loss of sensation and impaired mobility.
Pelvis and HipsModerate (b) (i)£26,590 to £39,170Injury to the pelvis or hips that is significant but permanent disability is not major and future risks aren't great.
ArmLess Severe (c)£19,200 to £39,170Disabilities are significant but a substantial amount of recovery has occurred.
Knee Moderate (b) (i) £13,920 to £24,580Wasting, weakness, dislocation or torn cartilage, for example.

Special Damages For Personal Injury Claims

As well as wondering about the limitation period for personal injury claims, you may also want to know more about other kinds of compensation you could be entitled to receive. 

In successful personal injury claims, special damages may also be awarded. These provide reimbursement of the financial losses you have suffered as a result of your injury.

For example, if you have experienced a loss of earnings because you had to take time off work to recover from your injury or you could not return to employment for the foreseeable future, you could be entitled to claim the lost income back under special damages. 

Documentation, such as your payslips, can be useful to have as evidence in order to prove loss of earnings for an injury claim

Additionally, if you have paid for public transportation to travel to your hospital appointments, for example, you could be compensated for these monetary losses. Travel tickets could be used as evidence for such. 

Please contact our team for more information on special damages. They can also provide further guidance on the time limits for personal injury claims, please continue to read this guide. 

Claiming For Accidents And Injuries On A No Win No Fee Basis

The limitation period for injury claims may seem complex and you may already feel that you are outside of the time frames described. This does not necessarily mean your claim is void. When you speak to a lawyer, they may have the insight and expertise to interpret your case differently. They may be aware of various exceptions to the time limitations that could help you. Our advisors give free legal advice, so why not call?

A No Win No Fee lawyer is able to act on your behalf. They can do so with no upfront fee whatsoever. Agreements such as this mean you only pay your lawyer their fee if your case is successful. Any compensation that is awarded to you because of their efforts means that you, in turn, pay them a small, lawfully capped percentage at the end as their ‘success fee’.

It’s not essential to use legal representation to make a claim. However, in the complex structure of the limitation period for injury claims, it can be sensible to engage the services of a professional. With nothing to pay if your case loses and no lawyer fees due as the case progresses, it can be a beneficial option.

Other Information About A Limitation Period For Injury Claims

In conclusion, thank you for reading this guide on the limitation period for injury claims. We hope it has simplified your understanding of how to start a valid personal injury claim within the right time scale. In addition to advice such as this, at UK Law we are able to offer help on: