Time Limits to Claim After An Accident

If you are considering making a personal injury claim you must be very mindful of the time limit. The general personal injury claims time limit is three years from the date the accident happened. However, there are some exceptions that apply in different circumstances. This guide aims to help you better understand how long you have to start a claim following an injury sustained in an accident caused by third party negligence.

injury claim time limit

If you fail to start a personal injury claim within the relevant time limit, then your claim could become statute-barred. This means that you’re unlikely to receive the compensation owed to you for your injuries if you fail to start proceedings within this time limit. 

Read on for more information on the personal injury claims time limit and relevant exceptions. If at any point you require further clarification, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our advisors are available to offer free legal advice. If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, you could be put in touch with a specialist personal injury solicitor from our panel.

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  • You can also fill out the callback form on our website. 

Services And Information

  1. Everything You Need To Know About Injury Claim Time Limits?
  2. What Is An Injury Claim Time Limit?
  3. When Does The Injury Claim Time Limit Start?
  4. Personal Injury And Accident Compensation Calculator
  5. Fatal Injury Claim Time Limits
  6. Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits
  7. Criminal Injury Claim Time Limits
  8. Child Accident Claims Time Limits
  9. Injury Claim Time Limits With Diminished Mental Capacity
  10. Other Circumstances In Which You Can Claim After Three Years
  11. I Suffered A Personal Injury, What Should I Do?
  12. Can Personal Injury Claims Be Handled On A No Win No Fee Basis?
  13. Other Information
  14. FAQs About Personal Injury Claims

Everything You Need To Know About Injury Claim Time Limits?

When you’re injured in an accident caused by negligence on the part of someone who owed you a duty of care, you may be able to claim compensation for your suffering. Some examples of places where you might sustain an accident resulting in a claim can include: 

  • At work 
  • On the road 
  • In a public place 
  • While receiving medical treatment 

Usually, you have a three-year time limit to start a personal injury claim in these circumstances. The time limit can be expanded for injuries that are not spotted straight away or that are connected to negligence from the get-go. For this reason, the time limit can start from the date you become knowledgeable. After this, it will be difficult for you to claim compensation for your injuries, no matter how much evidence you have supporting your claim. 

In this guide, we will look at the personal injury claims time limit that applies in different scenarios. Furthermore, we will look at what a typical claim for compensation might consist of.

We will look at the time limit for making a claim for fatal accidents and criminal injuries. Furthermore, we will look at how the time limit can change when the person claiming is unable to do so themselves.

To summarise, we will look at No Win No Fee agreements and the benefits that they can offer potential claimants. We will also look at some commonly asked questions about the personal injury claim limitation period.

What Is An Injury Claim Time Limit?

Whilst the 3-year rule should be strictly observed whenever possible, there are scenarios where it can be applied slightly differently. Below is a table of some of these examples.

Circumstances Outcome
Claimant under the age of 18 Time limit is suspended until they turn 18. At this point, they have 3 years to claim.
Reduced mental capacity Time limit suspended unless the claimant regains the capacity to claim themselves. If this happens, the three-year limit starts again.
Criminal injuries If you're making a claim through the CICA, this should be done within 2 years. However, exceptions can be made in extenuating circumstances.
Extension of time limitShould the claimant only become aware of their injury at a date later than the accident. This is known as the “date of knowledge”. 

When Does The Injury Claim Time Limit Start?

The Limitation Act 1980 states that you generally have 3 years from the date of the accident to start a claim. Once this window closes, your case will usually become “statute-barred”. This means that your case is unlikely to be addressed. This is unless there are extenuating circumstances present.

However, some injuries are not immediately detected following an accident. Because of this, there is a stipulation that states that you may get more time in these scenarios. The date of knowledge is when you are first made aware that your injuries resulted from negligence. This date can be used as the start of your 3-year time limit.

This also applies in cases of medical negligence. For instance, you may undergo an operation in which the surgeon breached their duty of care to you, causing you underlying health problems. However, you may not be aware of your injuries straight away. The three-year time limit would not start until you become aware that your surgeon’s negligence caused you to be ill or injured. 

If you’re unsure about whether or not your time limit window may still be open, call us today. Our team will be happy to offer you free legal advice about how the limitation period applies in different circumstances. 

Personal Injury And Accident Compensation Calculator

The amount of compensation received by the claimant is usually made up of two heads of claim. The first of these is general damages. General damages are calculated to cover the pain and suffering caused by the injury. The general damages head of the claim is valued with the help of a publication known as the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Last updated in 2019, the JCG lists guideline compensation brackets for different injuries of various severity.

The other damages that might be included in your claim is special damages. Special damages compensate you for any financial loss you may have suffered due to your injury. In order to claim special damages, you will need to provide evidence such as bills and invoices. 

Below, we’ve included a table to demonstrate how much certain injuries could be worth in general damages.  

Site/type of injury Injury notes Amount
Loss of sight Complete loss of sight in one eye £46,240 to £51,460
HerniaContinuing pain and/or limitation on physical activities, sport, or employment, after repair.£13,970 to £22,680
WristAn uncomplicated Colles' fracture.In the region of £6,970
Teeth Loss of, or serious damage to, several front teeth£8,200 to £10,710
Finger Amputation of little finger £8,110 to £11,490
ThumbLoss of thumb £33,330 to £51,460

Fatal Injury Claim Time Limits

People often ask, “is there a time frame to make a claim for fatal injuries?”. If the victim died as a result of an accident caused by a breach of duty of care, the 3-year time limit on making a claim of this nature would still usually apply. 

This is a little tricky. But we hope to explain it thoroughly. The person may have started a claim before they passed away. They will have done this before the three years time limit is up. If the person passes away and no claim has been made a litigation friend acting on behalf of the deceased can make a claim on their behalf and the time limit will begin from the date the deceased passed away.

Fatal Injuries in the Workplace (2019/20)

According to RIDDOR, there were 111 killed in work-related accidents in Great Britain in 2019/20. Whilst the range of industries that fatalities occurred in was quite wide, construction was the industry with the largest number of fatal accidents. 

Injury claim time limit

Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits

We’re often asked, “is there a time frame to make a personal injury claim following a road traffic accident?” Generally, following a road accident you have three years to start a personal injury claim. You must bring a claim within that time window to ensure that you can be compensated.

As mentioned earlier, there can be exceptions made to this.  For instance, if you lack the mental capacity to make a claim, this time limit is suspended. If you regain your mental capacity then you may be able to make a claim. Otherwise, a litigation friend can claim on your behalf. 

If you are injured in a road traffic accident due to a breach of the duty of care owed to you by other road users, eligibility for claiming personal injury compensation is possible. Contact us today for free advice concerning your claim.

Criminal Injury Claim Time Limits

Victims of criminal injury may also be eligible for compensation. You can make a personal injury claim against the person responsible if this is a viable option, and the time limit for starting a claim will be three years. In some cases, though, claims can be made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). 

The CICA is a government executive agency that pays compensation to those who were physically or mentally injured as the result of a violent crime. They cover England, Scotland and Wales. You can claim through the CICA for:

  • Acts of violence
  • ABH/GBH
  • Rape/Sexual abuse
  • Child abuse

The time limit to start a claim through the CICA is 2 years. However, there are some exceptions to this. For instance, if you were the victim of historic sexual abuse while you were under the age of 18 and the crime was reported to the police, but no claim was made, you have from when you turn 18 until your 20th birthday to make a claim. If the crime wasn’t reported to the police while you were underage, then you have 2 years from the date it was reported to claim. A parent or guardian can claim on your behalf while you’re under 18. 

You can also apply outside of the 2-year time limit if you can show that exceptional circumstances stopped you from being able to claim within the timeframe. You will need to provide evidence of the exceptional circumstances, and you will need to provide enough evidence in support of your claim that extensive further investigations by a claims officer won’t be required.

If you’d like to know more about claims through the CICA, why not get in touch with our team? They’ll be happy to offer you free legal advice about making claims of this nature.

Child Accident Claims Time Limits

We’re often asked, “is there a time limit on accident claims regarding children?”. There are some exceptions to the time limit that can be made when the injured person is under the age of 18. 

If you’re injured as the result of negligence as a minor, you cannot legally represent yourself and so cannot bring forward a claim. However, a litigation friend can claim on your behalf. While you’re under 18, the time limit is suspended. This means a litigation friend can start a claim for you at any point until you turn 18. 

Once you turn 18, you’re able to make a claim on your own behalf, provided that one hasn’t been made for you. The time limit starts again on your 18th birthday, meaning that you have until you turn 21 to claim.

Injury Claim Time Limits With Diminished Mental Capacity

Someone with a reduced mental capacity cannot claim on their own behalf, and so a litigation friend can claim for them. This is the case whether their reduced mental capacity predated the accident or was caused by it. 

In the event that the claimant regains their mental capacity, the time limit will begin again, and they will have three years to make their own claim. Otherwise, the time limit is suspended indefinitely.

Other Circumstances In Which You Can Claim After Three Years

There are some other scenarios where the injury claim time limit can vary. International law plays a factor in these. For instance, if you’re injured on a flight, then the time window can vary.

When the flight is domestic, then the 3-year rule still applies. If you’re injured on an international flight, your time window to start a claim is reduced to 2 years. This is in accordance with the Montreal Convention.

You may be unsure how long you have to make a claim for your injuries, but we can help. Get in touch with our team today for more information on the time limit for claiming for your injuries.

I Suffered A Personal Injury, What Should I Do?

Having looked at the time limits for making a personal injury claim, it’s important that you understand the steps that you should take after an accident to increase your claim’s chances of success. After an accident caused by negligence, you should: 

  • Seek medical care – immediately following your injury, receiving appropriate medical treatment is vital to improving your chances of recovery. Not only this, but the medical records will prove useful as evidence when pursuing your claim.
  • Gather evidence – Documenting the circumstances that resulted in your injury is very important too. Things like witness details, photographs and medical records are all good examples of the evidence required.
  • Contact a personal injury specialist – While it’s not a legal obligation, we recommend seeking legal advice in anticipation of making a claim. A solicitor may be able to offer support and guidance, which could increase your chances of success and get you the maximum compensation owed to you.

Read on for more information on No Win No Fee agreements and how they can help you pursue the compensation you’re owed. Alternatively, get in touch with our team for more information.

Can Personal Injury Claims Be Handled On A No Win No Fee Basis?

The personal injury claims process can be daunting, which is why many people seek the experience of a personal injury solicitor when making a claim. However, you may be worried about the large legal fees that you may need to pay for them to start working on your claim.

When you work with a solicitor under a No Win No Fee arrangement, it means your solicitor will only take payment from you in the event that your claim is successful. This is taken in the form of a small percentage from your overall settlement amount. Should your case not be successful, you will not be responsible for paying your solicitor’s legal fees. You also won’t be asked to pay any upfront fees to them or pay them anything while they work on your case.

If you have any questions regarding how a No Win No Fee arrangement works, then please reach out to us today. You could be connected with a personal injury solicitor from our panel who can represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. 

You can get in touch with us in the following ways:

Other Information

We have included some additional resources here regarding personal injury and the claim time limit.

  1. Government advice regarding what to do following an accident/injury.
  2. NHS- Find services near you
  3. Your legal right to request CCTV footage of yourself (for evidence).
  4. More from us on personal injury claims.
  5. Claim time limit for industrial hearing loss.
  6. Medical negligence claim time limits.

More Helpful Compensation Guides

FAQs About Personal Injury Claims

How long will my claim take?

This is a question that doesn’t have a set answer. Every personal injury claim is different. How long they take can depend on a variety of factors. Things such as the severity of the injury and length of recovery are all things that could affect the length of time it takes for your claim to be settled. 

Will my claim need to go to court?

It’s very unlikely that your claim will reach the stage of a trial. However, this can sometimes happen if there is a dispute over liability and both parties cannot agree to a resolution.

Do I need to see a doctor?

Medical treatment and records are key to personal injury cases. Even if your injuries seem minor, there could be more serious repercussions that you’re not aware of. Your medical records will be invaluable as evidence whilst pursuing your claim, too.

Is there a time limit on injury claims?

Injury claims generally have a time limit of 3 years from the date of the injury to start a claim. However, there are some exceptions to this that we have covered in this guide. Speak to our team for more information on the exceptions that apply. 

Can I make a personal injury claim myself?

There’s no legal requirement to have a solicitor act on your behalf in making a claim. However, you may find that legal representation helps your claim run more smoothly than it would if you pursued it alone. 

Thank you for reading our guide on the personal injury claim time limit.

Written by IB

Checked by NC