How Long After Being Injured In An Accident Could I Claim Compensation?

how long after being injured in an accident could i claim compensation

How long after an accident can you claim guide

By Fern Easton. Last Updated 5th March 2021. Welcome to our online guide looking at the question “how long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation?”. As long as you are within the personal injury claims time limit when you begin your personal injury claim, then this guide should be of use to you. Below, we will explain many of the different time limits that apply to specific kinds of claims.

Every claim tends to have its own unique aspects, and because of this, you might not find answers to all of your questions in this guide. If this is the case, please don’t worry; we can still assist you. Just call our claims team on 0800 073 8801, and an expert advisor will answer all of your questions for you. They can also help you to prepare for moving your claim to the next stage if you wish.

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A Guide To How Long After Being Injured In An Accident Could I Make A Claim?

When you approach a personal injury solicitor in the hope of engaging them to help you with a personal injury claim, the lawyer will not likely take your claim on unless it is valid or has reasonable prospects of success. One part of the check for validity is making sure that the claim is being started within the applicable time limit for making a claim. This guide attempts to explain what these time limits are and when they apply.

We start off with a top-level overview of what time limits are and why they are in place. We will also explain the concept of date of knowledge and how it applies to some claims. We then move on to look at the time limit that will apply to specific types of claims, and this includes:

  • Claims for overseas accidents.
  • Criminal injury claims.
  • Claiming as a person under the age of 18.
  • Fatal accident claims and the time limits that apply.

We finish this part of the guide off by taking a look at whether you might still be able to make a claim if the applicable time limit has passed.

The final part of this guide is given over entirely to looking at some of the financial considerations when making a compensation claim. We have provided you with a table of example injuries and show the level of compensation these injuries might expect to receive. This is followed by an explanation of what damages are and a list of some of the more commonly awarded ones. Lastly, we explain what a No Win No Fee claim is and how this kind of service works. We show how using such a service can mitigate many of the potential financial losses of making a claim and still get you the legal expertise you need to pursue your claim to a successful resolution.

You might find yourself asking, “how long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation?” even after finishing this guide. Or you may have questions about the information we’ve presented. If this is so, please use the number at the top or down near the end of the page to contact our claims team. One of our expert advisors will answer all of your questions for you, evaluate your claim and its validity, and provide you with some free legal advice on how best to proceed with a claim.

What Is An Accident Or Injury Claim Time Limit?

Depending on the type of claim, there will be a specific time limit in place. You must begin your claim within this time limit. As long as you start your claim before the time limit is over, then it does not matter how long your claim takes and whether it runs over the time limit or not. The actual time limit that you will need to work within is driven by the type of claim and its circumstances. Each of these example claims would have a different time limit:

  • Suffering an injury while on holiday overseas, caused by the actions of a third party, and claiming for it when you get home.
  • Making a claim for being assaulted in the UK or as a victim of any violent crime.
  • Any claim where the claimant is under the age of 18.
  • When making a claim as a third party for the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident.
  • All personal injury claims, including workplace injuries and those caused by road traffic accidents.

What this means is that you are probably going to need some expert legal advice to find out exactly what time limit will apply to your own claim, based on its own unique circumstances. You can get this kind of help from our claims team. Just give them a call and explain your situation, and they will tell you which time limit applies.

What Is The Date Of Incident Or Date Of Knowledge?

In many cases, the date that an accident claim time limit begins from can be either the date the incident itself took place or from the date of knowledge. But what do we mean by date of knowledge? In order to answer this question, we will use an example.

The claimant in this example was the victim of a car accident. Despite visiting the hospital after the accident, they believe that they had suffered no injuries at all. However, the following morning when they awoke, they were unable to move their neck without significant pain. Another trip to the hospital resulted in them being diagnosed with whiplash. So, in this example, the time limit would run from the date they became aware of their injury, not from the date of the incident—the date of knowledge.

In some cases, such as industrial illness claims, the date of knowledge may come sometime after the incident that caused the illness. For example, a person coming down with mesothelioma many years after working with asbestos. In such cases, the time limit would begin from the date of diagnosis. 

If you are in any doubt about the date of knowledge for your own claim, please speak to a member of our claims team. They will be able to tell you.

How Long Do I Have to Claim After An Accident Outside The UK?

If you are the victim of an accident abroad, and the accident was the fault of a third party, then you might be in a position to claim compensation. However, the time limit for each country can be different and are based on local laws. For example, the personal injury claims time limit in France is 10 years, whilst the same claims time limit in Spain is only 1 year.

There are a couple of complications as well. What happens if you are in a flight accident or an accident at sea, outside of the jurisdiction of any national borders? In the case of flights that fall under the remit of the Montreal Convention, the time limit for making a claim is 2 years. For an accident at sea, for which the Athens Convention applies, the limit is also 2 years.

For overseas claims, you might ask yourself, “how long do I have to make a personal injury claim?” or “how long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation if the accident happened outside the UK?” Because of the complexity of overseas claims and the different jurisdictions that could come into play, we recommend that you speak to a member of our claims team who will confirm which time limit will apply in your own case.

How Long After A Being Injured In An Assault Could A Claim Be Made?

If you become the victim of assault or any violent crime such as mugging or aggravated burglary, and also for all kinds of sexual assault, including rape, you will likely need to make a criminal injury claim.

Such a claim is made against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS), which is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a special Government organisation that acts as a surrogate defendant when a claimant needs to make a criminal injuries claim, and there is no other route to compensation. CICA will pay any compensation that the claimant is awarded from its own funds. The time limit for applying for such compensation is 2 years.

If you think you might need to make a CICA claim, then please call and speak to one of our claim advisors; they will be able to help you further.

How Long After A Child Being Injured Could A Claim Be Made?

In the case of a child’s accident, for which compensation could be available, the situation related to the claim time limit is a little more complex. This is because a minor cannot proceed with court proceedings. Only people over the age of 18 can do so. So, the time limit for making a compensation claim as a minor begins from the date of the claimants 18th birthday.

However, there is another option. A parent, guardian or some other person can act as the child’s litigation friend. The litigation friend manages the claim on the child’s behalf, but they do not receive any compensation. Instead, compensation is put into a fund that the original claimant can draw upon from their 18th birthday.

If you need some advice on acting as a litigation friend for a minor, please speak to our claims team. An advisor can talk you through the process.

How Long After An Accident In Which Someone Died Could A Claim Be Made?

The time limit for a fatal accident, including the fatal workplace injury claim time limit, is three years from the accident if the victim was killed in the accident. However, if the victim dies within three years of the accident due to a medical condition that was caused by an accident, the three year limit for a fatal accident claim made by family members or independents would be three years from this date of knowledge.

If you have any questions about how the fatal accident time limit works, you can speak to a member of our claims team for more information.

Could I Claim If My Accident Happened More Than Three Years Ago?

The answer to the question “how long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation?” isn’t always the same and depends on individual circumstances. We have already shown how there are a number of things that can cause the time limit to last much longer than the initial three years. For example, claimants under the age of 18 waiting until their 18th birthday for the three-year time limit to start, and victims of industrial illness not starting the three-year time limit until they acquire knowledge of the illness from which they suffer.

There is a further cause of an extended time limit that we have not covered yet. This is in relation to people with a psychological condition that leaves them with diminished mental capacity. According to the Mental Health Act 1983, such people can defer the start of a claim time limit until they are discharged, having recovered sufficiently to be responsible for their own actions.

However, there could be some very unique combinations of circumstances that might have an effect on the claims time limit. To make sure of the claims time limit that applies to your own situation, please call and speak to one of our expert advisors.

Compensation Calculator For Personal Injury Claims

We’ve already looked at the question “how long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation?” and in this section, we will look at how much compensation you could be owed for your injuries. In order to get a rough estimate of the amount of compensation a claim might result in, you could use an online personal injury claims calculator. You can also take a look at the example table below, which shows potential ranges of compensation that different types of injuries might expect to attract. We made this table based on the figures found in the Judicial College Guidelines that solicitors use to value claims.

InjurySeverityNotesCompensation
Injured handModerateWithin this category of injuries, we might find those such as penetrating wounds, soft tissue damage, crush related injuries, deep cuts and lacerations, etc. Towards the upper end of the scale would be injuries that have been treated partially using surgery, but with some permanent but unobtrusive symptoms.£5,260 to £12,460
Injured elbowModerate to minorWithin this category of injuries, we might find those such as tennis elbow, and also simple injuries such as cuts or lacerations and puncture injuries. Any injury that would eventually heal fully and leave the victim with no impairment of functionUp to £11,820
Injured backModerateWithin this category of injuries, we might find those such as crush and/or compression fractures of the vertebrae, causing considerable discomfort and pain, including conditions such as a traumatic spondylolisthesis. Treatment may be traumatic, such as spinal fusion and there will be a risk of deterioration of the bones due to osteoporosis in the future. Long-term impairment, including loss of mobility due to damage to the nerve roots of the spine, is a possibility.£26,050 to £36,390
Injured neckModerateWithin this category of injuries, we might find those such as crush and/or compression fractures of the vertebrae, causing considerable discomfort and pain, including conditions such as a traumatic spondylolisthesis, even when a neck brace is used around the clock. Treatment may be traumatic, such as spinal fusion and there will be a risk of deterioration of the bones due to osteoporosis in the future. Long-term impairment, including loss of mobility due to damage to the nerve roots of the spine, is a possibility.£23,460 to £36,120
Injured footModerateWithin this category of injuries, we might find those such as a displaced fracture of the metatarsal, which will heal but leave the victim’s foot deformed in some way, affecting gait balance, the ability to walk across uneven surfaces and to wear normal shoes, etc.£12,900 to £23,460
Injured legModerateWithin this category of injuries, we might find those such as single limb damage including complex or compound fractures, crush damage, sprains and strains, etc. The compensation awarded will be driven by the severity of the injuries, and take into account any effect on the employability of the victim, whether there will be ongoing symptoms and some form of impairment, and the presence of any scarring.£26,050 to £36,790
Injured head/brainModerateWithin this category of injuries, we might find those such as damage to the bran that affects the senses (smell, hearing or touch), speech, cognitive ability of memory of the victim. There would be a low chance of employment due to these injuries, and life quality will have been significantly affected.£40,410 to £205,580

If you would prefer a more accurate estimate of the level of damages you might receive when you make your claim, a solicitor will have to value it for you. Please call our claims team, and we can organise this for you.

How Else You Could Be Compensated

If you win your claim, you will receive a compensation settlement that will be made up of different kinds of damages. General damages pertain to physical aspects of the claim, such as:

  • Loss of life quality.
  • Long-term or permanent disabilities or impairments.
  • Painful, traumatic or intrusive treatment.
  • Psychological injuries.
  • General pain and suffering at the time of the accident or while receiving emergency treatment.
  • Mental stress, shock and trauma at the time of the accident or while receiving emergency treatment.

Special damages all relate to non-physical loss, such as financial losses. Claims will need to be supported by documented evidence. Special damages might include:

  • Loss of future earnings.
  • Loss of past income.
  • Medical fees.
  • Out of pocket expenses.
  • Cost of care.

These are some of the most common kinds of damages, but there are many others. Please speak to a member of our claims team if you would like to know which damages might apply in your own case.

No Win No Fee Accident And Injury Claims

When you use the services of a lawyer working under a No Win No Fee agreement, you have taken action that has both reduced your exposure to financial risk and secured you the expert legal help you need to make a claim.

Under a No Win No Fee deal, you don’t pay any new claims fees or any ongoing lawyers fees while they pursue your claim. You are also not expected to pay your lawyers fees if they fail to reach a positive outcome for you.

If you do win your claim, your solicitor will ask you to pay a small, legally capped success fee that can be collected out of any compensation payment they have received for you.

Begin Your Claim

If you still need information about how long after an accident can you claim, then our team will be able to help you. You can also contact us if you’re still unsure how to answer the question “how long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation?” for your particular injuries.  You can contact our claims team on 0800 073 8801. One of our claim advisors will ask you about your circumstances and then let you know which time limit is going to apply.

How long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation? FAQs

Can I claim for an accident at work after 3 years? 

In some circumstances, yes. In the case of things like occupational diseases, the personal injury claim time limit runs from the date of knowledge rather than the date of exposure. This is because it can sometimes be impossible to pinpoint the particular incident that caused you the ill-effects you’re experiencing.

In some cases, your work may make you ill. This can be through exposure to materials that have the potential to cause you harm, like if you’ve been exposed to a respiratory irritant that has caused you to develop asthma. It could also apply to carpal tunnel syndrome or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. In these circumstances, you’ll be able to claim for three years following the date you became aware that your symptoms were caused by your employer’s negligence.

How long does a car accident claim take? 

The question “how long do car accident claims take?” is a difficult one to answer. This is because no two car accident claims are the same. For example, if there is a dispute over liability then the claim will usually take longer than a case where liability is clear. If you’d like more information on starting a claim today, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Where To Learn More

These external pages might be of use:

The Carriage By Air Acts

Protocol 2002 of the Athens Convention

Additional Information About Time Limits

These other guides could also be useful.

Work Accident Claim Time Limits

Car Accident Claim Time Limits

No Win No Fee Work Accident Claims

Thank you for reading our guide, looking at the question “how long after being injured in an accident could I claim compensation?”

Guide by MW

Edited by REB