Time Limits to Claim After An Accident
By Danielle Fletcher. Last Updated 14th June 2023. 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.
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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Services And Information
- Everything You Need To Know About Injury Claim Time Limits?
- Time Limit For Personal Injury Claims
- Personal Injury Compensation Payouts
- Fatal Injury Claim Time Limits
- Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits
- Criminal Injury Claim Time Limits
- Child Accident Claims Time Limits
- Can I Make A Personal Injury Claim After 3 Years?
- I Suffered A Personal Injury, What Should I Do?
- Personal Injury Claims – No Win No Fee Legal Help
- Other Information
- FAQs About Personal Injury Claims
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.
In order to start a personal injury lawsuit, a time limit will apply. If you don’t stick to the time limit to file a personal injury claim, you may be ineligible to receive compensation.
The limitation period, which is the timeframe you have to begin a claim, may be suspended in specific circumstances. For example:
- If the injured person is under 18, they cannot start a claim so the time limit would not begin until their 18th birthday
- If someone has reduced mental capacity, the time limit is frozen until or if they recover
A litigation friend may make a claim on the behalf of someone who is under 18 or who lacks the mental capacity.
Get in touch for free legal advice and you could be connected to an injury lawyer from our panel.
If you are making a personal injury claim, you may like to know more about how value could be assigned to your injuries. We explain how damages are awarded below.
There could be two heads in an injury claim in the UK: general damages and special damages. In a successful claim, general damages are paid out for your pain and suffering. Additionally, special damages are awarded in some claims to compensate for any incurred financial losses.
To help assign value to your pain and suffering, legal professionals use a document titled the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG applies to claims made in England and Wales. It provides rough guidance for valuing injuries by listing them along with compensation brackets based on payouts in previous claims.
The table below contains examples from the latest update. It is only to be used as guidance for how this head of your claim could be valued.
|Site/type of injury||Injury notes||Amount|
|Loss of sight||Complete loss of sight in one eye||£49,270 to £54,830|
|Thumb||Loss of thumb||£35,520 to £54,830|
|Fractures of Jaws: (i)||Very serious fractures leaving permanent effects||£30,490 to £45,540|
|Hernia: (a)||Continuing pain and/or limitation on physical activities, sport, or employment, after repair.||£14,900 to
|Fractures of Nose: (i)||Multiple fractures causing permanent damage||£10,640 to £23,130|
|Fractures of Cheekbones: (i)||Serious fractures||10,200 to
|Finger||Amputation of little finger||£8,640 to £12,240|
|Teeth: (i)||Loss of, or serious damage to, several front teeth||£8,730 to
|Wrist: (e)||An uncomplicated Colles' fracture.||In the region of £7,430|
As stated above, some claims have a second head called special damages. You might have to present proof of your expenditure to recover your costs. For example, if you are claiming for loss of earnings, you may need your wage slips.
Further examples of special damages that might be included in a personal injury claim:
- Medical costs, such as physical therapy.
- Travel expenses, such as taxi fares. You may need a receipt.
- Carer costs, if required. You may need an invoice.
- Home adaptations, such as a stairlift.
If you have any questions on how compensation is calculated, or other relevant topics, such as the stages of a personal injury claim in the UK, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our advisors are available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
As mentioned, the personal injury claim time limit in the UK is generally 3 years. However, there are cases where you may be able to start a personal injury claim after 3 years.
As mentioned in the section above, if you were a child at the time you were injured, it can be possible to claim more than 3 years after the accident, providing a claim was not started on your behalf whilst you were still a minor.
The time limitation for personal injury claims can also be suspended for people who lack the physical or mental capacity to begin their claim. A litigation friend can claim on their behalf during the suspended period. If they ever recover, they will have 3 years from the recovery date to start a claim on their own behalf.
You may also be able start a claim after 3 years if there was a delayed date of knowledge; a date of knowledge is the date you were made aware of your injury and its cause. This is typically treated as the date you receive a medical diagnosis for your injury.
Our advisers can offer you more help with any other questions you may have about exceptions to the personal injury claims time limit.
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.
If you are within the claim time limit and are eligible to seek compensation for your injuries, you may like to have the support of a lawyer. One of the lawyers from our panel could help you. They have years of experience with various types of personal injury claims.
Furthermore, the lawyers from our panel generally offer their services under a type of No Win No Fee agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
When working with a lawyer under this arrangement, they don’t charge any upfront or ongoing costs for their services. Additionally, you won’t be obligated to pay them for the work they have done on your claim if your case fails.
If your claim has a positive outcome, they will deduct a success fee from your compensation award. The percentage your lawyer can take as a success fee is capped by the law.
To find out if you are within the limitation period for making a personal injury claim, please get in touch with one of the advisors from our team. They’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with free advice. Additionally, if you have valid grounds for a claim, they could connect you to one of the lawyers from our panel.
To speak to an advisor:
We have included some additional resources here regarding personal injury and the claim time limit.
- Government advice regarding what to do following an accident/injury.
- NHS – Find services near you
- Your legal right to request CCTV footage of yourself (for evidence).
- More from us on personal injury claims.
- Claim time limit for industrial hearing loss.
- Medical negligence claim time limits.
More Helpful Compensation Guides
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.
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