Time Limit For Car Accident Claim? – How Long Are Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits? – Calculate Limitation

By Joanne Jeffries. Last Updated April 22nd 2022.  Welcome to our guide to understanding the car accident injury claim time limits. Below, we answer questions relating to the car accident claim time limit in different cases, and answer common questions such as ‘What is the time limit to sue after a car accident?’ and ‘What is the date of knowledge when it comes to working our the personal injury claim time limit?’

Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits Explained

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Car accident claim time limit guide

 You might already be aware that if you suffer an injury in a car accident, caused by somebody else, then you might be entitled to claim compensation for your suffering. Did you know though that there is a car accident injury claim time limit to consider in these cases? During the course of this guide, we’ll look at what the general personal injury claims time limit is. We’ll also explain a number of different scenarios which could mean you have longer to make a claim.

Here at Accident Claims UK, we have a team of specialist advisors who can help you begin your personal injury claim. They offer free legal information, including advice about the time limit for claiming after a car accident. They can also provide a free assessment of your claim with no obligation. To discuss your claim right away, please call us on 0800 073 8801. If your case is deemed to be strong enough, one of our solicitors might be able to represent you on a no win no fee basis.

Alternatively, to find out more about the time limit to claim after a car accident, please continue reading.

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A Guide To Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits

Welcome to our personal injury claims guide, where we’ll explain the car accident claim time limit.

In any form of personal injury claim, there are time limits in which the claim has to be made. These time limits are set out in legislation known as the Limitation Act 1980. If a claim is made after the relevant time limit, it is said to be statute-barred and will not be considered.

For most car accident injury claim cases, the time limits are 3 years from the date of the accident that wasn’t your fault. However, there are some exceptions to this, which we explain below. 

It’s important, therefore, that if you are considering making a claim because you suffered injuries in a car crash, you understand the time limits that apply, and you make your claim within good time. This is so that your solicitor has enough time to gather the evidence to support your road traffic accident claim.

In this guide, we’re going to look at the car accident injury claim time limit, when it might be extended and what to do if you’re close to the time limit.

Information relating to the car accident claim time limit

We’ll also look at what compensation could be paid for car crash injuries and how our solicitors could help you claim. In general, for a solicitor to consider taking on your claim, you’ll need to show a number of things. First of all, you’ll need to show that an accident took place. Then you’ll need to demonstrate that it was somebody else’s fault and, finally, you’ll need evidence to show that you suffered injuries due to the accident occurring.

Before we move on to look at the car accident claim time limit, here is some advice on what to do if you’re involved in a road traffic accident:

  • Photograph the scene of the accident.
  • Swap details with the other driver involved.
  • Visit your GP or A&E if you’re injured.
  • Ask witnesses for their details.
  • Write down what you remember happening.

Taking those steps will help provide some evidence that your solicitor can use to try and prove your claim.

What Are Car Accident Claim Time Limits?

Car accident claims come under the umbrella of personal injury claims within the Limitations Act 1980. This means that the limitation period to claim for a car accident is generally a 3-year time limit.

According to the Act, the time limit can begin from:

  • The date on which the accident took place and the injuries were sustained; or
  • The date that a doctor diagnosed your injuries if that’s later. This is sometimes referred to as the date of discovery.

The 3-year car accident claim time limit will be enforced for the vast majority of claims but there are a couple of exceptions. These include accidents to children, fatal accident claims and when the injured party has a diminished mental capacity to deal with the claim. We’ll look at each of these types of claim and explain the personal injury claim time limit that’s relevant over the coming sections of this guide.

Diminished Mental Capacity – Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits

When somebody with diminished mental capacity is injured in a crash, the car accident claim time limit in the UK doesn’t apply. This means that if the potential claimant is receiving treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983, they have two options:

  • Wait until they are discharged as a patient. The 3-year time limit would apply from this date.
  • Or, a friend or family member could claim on their behalf while the claimant is still being treated. To do so, the person who offers to represent them needs to become a ‘litigation friend’. We’ll explain this in the next section.

Child Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits

We’re often asked, “Is there a time limit to claim for a car accident involving a child?” and the answer is ‘yes’, but there are a couple of options.

If a parent or responsible adult wants to claim on the child’s behalf, they can do so at any point before the child turns 18. When that doesn’t happen, when the child becomes an adult at 18-years old, they have a 3-year time limit to make their own claim.

When a parent decides to represent the child in a claim, they have to be approved, by a court, to act as a litigation friend. This means that they can deal with the solicitors on behalf of the child. Importantly, the litigation friend must act in the child’s best interest and not their own.

When a claim is settled in this way, a court will assess the compensation award to ensure it’s fair. Then they’ll place the compensation into a trust fund and manage it until the child turns 18. A parent can request funds from the trust fund but must justify it and explain how the withdrawal will benefit the child.

Please read on to learn more about the car accident claim time limit.

Fatal Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits

In the unfortunate situation that a car crash victim dies within the 3-year car accident injury claim time limit, the executor of their estate could still make a compensation claim for the fatal accident.

If they decide to do so, then they have 3 years from the date of the death or from the date they became aware of the death if this is later.

If a loved one has died as a result of a car accident, whether that’s within the 3-year car accident claim time limit or not, please call our advisors for advice on making a claim. We’ll deal with your claim sensitively and at your own pace. We won’t put pressure on you but we will provide you with sound legal advice about your options.

How Do Time Limits Affect Claims Going To Court?

It’s actually quite rare for personal injury claims to end up in court. In most cases, claims are settled amicably. This is where a solicitor submits a claim to the defendant’s solicitor or insurer and asks for compensation. There might some negotiation over settlement amounts but, once liability has been agreed, the case is settled, and compensation is paid out.

However, where liability isn’t agreed or the amount of compensation can’t be settled, a court might be asked to decide. When claiming through the courts, the statute of limitations still applies. Therefore, any court case must have started before the car accident injury claim time limit has been reached.

This is another reason why it’s important to contact a solicitor as soon as possible, aside from the looming car accident claim time limit. Not only will it give them enough time to collect evidence and submit the claim to the defendant, but it should also mean there’s enough time for a court date to be requested should one be required.

I Am Close To The Car Accident Claim Injury Time Limit, Could I Still Claim?

As we’ve discussed already, if you try to make a claim after it has become statute-barred, it will be rejected, and you won’t be able to claim compensation. However, could you make a claim if you’re close to the time limit?

In short, it depends on how close you are. There are a number of steps any personal injury solicitor has to take before submitting the claim. For instance, the solicitor will need to complete an investigation of what’s happened, you’ll need to see a doctor for a medical assessment and your solicitor will need to request evidence such as medical reports or witness statements. These things will all take time so it will be up to the solicitor whether they think they have enough time available to properly submit the claim.

We would advise that you make contact with the solicitor as soon as possible, with the car accident claim time limit in mind. The longer you leave it, the less time you’re leaving for the essential groundwork to be completed. Please call a member of our team so that we can work out the time limit that applies in your case. You could have more time left to claim than you realised.

Other Circumstances Where You Could Claim After Three Years

Under section 33 of the Limitations Act 1980, a court has the right to, at their discretion, exclude the time limits for making a claim. This means that it could be possible to seek compensation for injuries after the 3-year time limit or any other time limit that applies.

However, this is a very tricky thing to request of the court and you’d have to prove that exceptional circumstances led to the delay in claiming within the statute of limitations. A section 33 request should not be relied on as a method of extending the time limit of a claim. As mentioned previously, the best advice is to inform a solicitor that you wish to make a claim as soon as you are able to.

The difficulty of getting an extension for the car accident claim time limit under section 33 has been shown in the past where courts have disagreed with one another and the case has had to go to the court of appeals. This very lengthy process can be avoided by ensuring you claim within the car accident injury claim time limit.

Please make contact with us at your earliest opportunity if you’re thinking of claiming compensation following a road traffic accident.

Will I Need A Medical Examination To Make A Car Accident Claim?

When you ask for compensation for a car accident, you’ll need proof of a few things:

  • That the accident happened;
  • It was caused by the defendant; and
  • The extent of your injuries.

Proving the first two will usually be done with evidence such as CCTV footage, witness statements or dashcam footage. However, proving the extent of your injuries isn’t as easy. Only a medical expert can complete this step.

Assessing Your Injuries

Therefore, our solicitors insist on a medical assessment from an independent doctor to help prove your injuries. When you visit the doctor, they’ll assess your condition and ask about the effect they’ve had on you.

Then they’ll produce a report which will explain:

  • What injuries were caused by the accident.
  • The severity of each injury.
  • How they’ve affected you.
  • And how they might affect you long-term (if at all).

This report is really important. As you’ll see in the next section, the severity of your injuries is linked with the amount of compensation paid in one part of the claim. Therefore, your solicitor will use the report, as well as medical records and other evidence, to help work out how much compensation you’ll ask for.

Please read on for more information on the car accident claim time limit.

Car Accident Injury Claims Calculator

We’re often asked about the average compensation for a car accident in the UK or how much compensation will be awarded. However, without assessing your claim first, it’s not really possible to provide an estimate. Instead, what we can do is provide the personal injury claims calculator table below. It shows the figures that could be paid out for certain injuries. Remember though, these figures represent just one part of any claim. In the next section, we’ll explain what else can be claimed for.

Injury TypeSeverityPayment RangeComments
Neck Severe£61,710 to £122,860Injuries that usually involve serious disc damage or fractures in the cervical spine and lead to disabilities such as loss of movement of the neck or loss of function in a limb.
Neck Minor£4,080 to £7,410Soft tissue damage of the neck with full recovery between 1 to 2 years.
BackModerate£26,050 to £36,390Injuries which result in some form of residual disability. This include an injury causing a risk of osteoathritis and results in constant pain and discomfort.
BackMinorUp to £7,410Less serious injuries including disc prolapses, sprains and strains and that fully recover, without surgery between 3 months and 2 years.
ShoulderModerate£7,410 to £11,980Issues such as frozen shoulder that caused loss of movement and discomfort for up to two years.
ArmsSerious£36,770 to £56,180Serious fractures in either, or both, arms which leads to a permanent disability.
WristMinorUp to £4,450Includes minor or minimally displaced fractures of the wrist with full recovery within a year.
HandSerious£27,220 to £58,100These injuries include those that cause the use of the hand to about 50% of it's original capacity.
Pelvis / HipsModerate£24,950 to £36,770A serious hip or pelvis injury but if there's a permanent disability, it's not major.
Pelvis / HipsMinorUp to £3,710This bracket includes soft tissue damage where there is a full and complete recovery.
LegsSerious£36,790 to £51,460Serious fractures and other injuries that lead to a lengthy amount of not being able to put weight on the leg, prolonged treatment or instability.
LegsModerate£26,050 to £36,790Complicated or multiple fractures, usually in one leg. The placement within this bracket is determined by the amount of treatment, impact on employment and other similar factors.
AnkleModerate£12,900 to £24,950Injuries such as fractures or ligament damage which could lead to a risk of osteoarthritis and difficulty walking or standing for a long time.
FootModerate£12,900 to £23,460Includes injuries such as displaced metatarsal fractures with continuing symptoms.

As mentioned in the last section, the car accident claim payouts are based on the severity of your injuries. Therefore, it’s important that your solicitor can prove how you were affected and how much you’ve suffered. They can try to do this by presenting medical evidence and reports to help ensure the compensation you are awarded is the right level for your injuries.

Please read on for more information about the car accident claim time limit.

Special Damages A Car Accident Claim Could Include

When a personal injury solicitor files a compensation claim, there are two main parts to the claim: general and special damages. In the previous section, the figures shown in the table were for special damages which is compensation awarded for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.

Special damages are compensation for financial losses linked to your injuries. Here are some examples:

  • Care Costs.
    Should you require professional care while you recover from your injuries, then the cost could be claimed back. If your carer is a family member or friend, you could also look to receive compensation for their time too.
  • Medical Fees.
    In most cases, treatment for your injuries will be carried out by the NHS for free. However, the cost of prescriptions and over the counter medicines isn’t. Therefore, you could claim the cost of medication back as part of the claim.
  • Travel Costs.
    When your injuries prevent you from driving for any length of time, you could look to claim for any alternative travel arrangements you have to make. Also, when you travel too and from medical appointments, you could claim back the cost of fuel and car parking fees.
  • Lost Income.
    Following a car accident, you might need to take time off work to recover. You may also need time off for medical appointments. Therefore, you could add any loss of earnings to your claim. Furthermore, if your injuries are serious enough to affect your working ability in the long term, you could claim for future lost income too. 

Our advice regarding special damages is to provide as much evidence as possible. Therefore, you should keep hold of receipts, bank statements and payslips. These could all be used to demonstrate how much money you’ve lost because of your injuries. Once again, we encourage you to do so within the car accident claim time limit to avoid losing out on the compensation that you deserve.

No Win No Fee Car Accident Compensation Claims

When we discuss personal injury claims with new clients, one concern that sometimes arises is the cost of hiring a solicitor. We understand the stress and financial risk of making a claim. That’s why we try to reduce both by offering a no win no fee service for any claim our solicitors take on.

When the solicitor has assessed your claim and they’re happy that the claim could lead to compensation and it falls within the time limit for a car accident claim, they’ll provide you with a conditional fee agreement or C.F.A.

The C.F.A. is your contract which clearly indicates that you don’t have to pay the solicitor’s fee unless your case is settled, and compensation is paid. It also explains the level of success fee that’s payable when a case is won.

To clear the success fee, you don’t need to send the solicitor any money. That’s because the success fee is paid as a percentage of your compensation. By law, this is a minor portion of your settlement amount.

Please continue reading to learn more about the car accident claim time limit.

Why Choose Our Team To Help With Your Car Accident Claim?

Our team of specialist advisors are available to provide free legal advice about claiming. They can also assess your claim for free without any obligation. If your case is deemed strong enough, they could refer you to one of our personal injury solicitors. Our solicitors:

  • Have received excellent feedback from previous clients.
  • Always try to ensure you receive the correct level of compensation.
  • Work on a no win no fee basis.
  • Work as efficiently as possible to try and ensure your case doesn’t take any longer than it needs to.

Start Your Car Accident Injury Claim

Thanks for reading our guide about the car accident claim time limit. We hope that you’d now like to contact us to begin your claim. If so, you can contact us by:

Our claims line is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week so you’re able to get in touch whenever it’s convenient for you.

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car accident claim time limit

When you contact us, our advisors will listen carefully to what happened and provide free advice about your options. They also offer a no-obligation assessment of your personal injury claim. If your case is deemed to have a good chance of success, you could be introduced to a personal injury lawyer, authorised and regulated by the solicitors regulation authority who’ll work on a no win no fee basis for any claim they take on, whether it involved court proceedings or settles out of court.

There will be no pressure placed on you. Also, you’re under no obligation to proceed so you’ve got nothing to lose by calling an advisor for free advice today.

Essential Resources

Now that you’ve come to the end of this guide about the car accident injury claim time limit, we hope you’ve learnt all of the information you need to help you make a claim. Here are some more resources that we hope you:

  • NHS Whiplash Guide – Advice from the NHS about how whiplash is diagnosed and treated.
  • The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) – It’s possible, in some circumstances, for the MIB to compensate you if you’re involved in a hit and run incident or if the other driver was uninsured.
  • Road Traffic Accident Statistics – A collection of different statistics relating to road traffic accidents in the UK.
  • Passenger Accident Claims – A guide that looks at accident claims where passengers suffer injuries. It covers the types of accidents, injuries and compensation amounts.
  • Road Traffic Accidents – This guide explains all about different types of RTA’s. It’s not just about the time limit for filing a car accident claim. It also covers when somebody else could be deemed liable, how much compensation might be awarded and other things you can claim for.
  • Am I Eligible to Claim Compensation for Death/Fatal Accident? – Did a car accident caused by a reckless road user result in the death of a loved one? You could make a claim. Read our guide to find out more. 

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Car Accident Injury Claim Time Limits Statistics

According to the provisional statistics for road casualties in Great Britain for 2020, there were estimated to be 1,472 people killed on our roads in 2020. It could be prudent to note that 4 months of this period was subject to the national lockdowns. Further to this, an estimated 23,486 people were killed or seriously injured, while there were 115,333 total casualties of every severity. Again it may be prudent to remember that there was a reduction in traffic of 21% in the period.

What road users are injured?

The total road casualties by road user can be broken down as follows. Please remember that these are provisional figures.

  • In 2019, there were 89,331 car occupants injured on UK roads, while in 2020, there were estimated to be 64,112
  • For motor cyclists, in 2019, there were 16,224 injured on UK roads, while in 2020, there were estimated to be 13,570
  • In 2019, there were 16,884 pedal cyclists injured on UK roads, while in 2020, there were estimated to be 16,230
  • For pedestrians, in 2019, there were 21,770 injured on UK roads, while in 2020, there were estimated to be 14,717

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No matter whether you were injured as a pedestrian, cyclist, car occupant or motor cyclist, we could assist with your claim for compensation. Even if you were injured by an uninsured driver or someone driving without insurance, we could help you claim though the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Car Accident Claim Time Limit FAQs

What is the typical personal injury claims time limit?

3 year limitation period, effective from the date of the accident or the date that the claimant realised they were affected (suffered injury or illness) because of it. (date of knowledge)

Can I make a personal injury claim after 3 years?

There are certain circumstances where you could claim after 3 years: if the date of your discovery of your injuries was later than the accident, if the accident was fatal or if you’re claiming on behalf of a child under the age of 18 or a party with diminished mental capacity.

Can I make a personal injury claim if it was my fault?

If you were partially at fault for an accident, you could make a claim. This is providing that you weren’t fully at fault. Speak to our advisors for confidential, free legal advice on your eligibility to claim for criminal injury, medical negligence, accident at work claims and more.

Can I claim for anxiety after a car accident?

You could claim for anxiety after a car accident, providing your injuries or the accident caused it. Claiming depends on how severe your anxiety was or is, so get in touch with our advice team if you’d like a specific answer to your case. 

What types of damages could I claim for?

Personal injury claims have 2 heads of damages: special damages and general damages. Whereas special damages allow claimants to recover financial losses they suffered as a reuslt of their accident, general damages allow them to be compensated for their injuries, whether physical or psychological.

Can I claim on behalf of someone else?

Yes, this is called acting as a ‘litigation friend’. You may wish to do this on behalf of your child if they’re yet to reach their 18th birthday. Alternatively, you may wish to do this on behalf of a lovced one that’s mentally incapacitated.

Do I need a lawyer to make a claim?

Though there’s no legal requirement to have a lawyer handle your claim, they could guide you through the claims process and help you get the maximum compensation that you’re entitled to.

How can Accident Claims help?

We offer free consultations and have a panel of personal injury lawyers we could connect you to if we believe you could be entiled to compensation. Why not start your claim today?

What’s the difference between a car accident claim time limit and the personal injury claim time limit?

There isn’t really a difference between a car accident claim time limit and a personal injury claim time limit. When it comes to making a personal injury claim, a car accident claim could come under this description. 

What is the time limit to sue after a car accident?

The time limit to sue after a car accident is, in most cases, three years from the date of the accident or the date you became aware that your injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence. 

I’m getting close to the personal injury claim time limit – is there still time to sue?

If you’re getting close to the personal injury claim time limit for your case, there may still be time to sue. Please call our team and we will offer case-specific guidance. If there is enough time to put a case together, we could still help you. However, this would depend on the case.

Can the car accident claim time limit be extended if I’m awaiting evidence?

The limitation period cannot usually be extended. However, if your solicitors files paperwork with the court within the limitation period, this could give you time to collect further evidence.

I’m not sure of the personal injury claim time limit that applies to my case – what should I do?

If you’re not sure of the personal injury claim time limit that could apply to your case, you could call us for free advice.


Thank you for reading our guide to the car accident claim time limit. Hopefully you now know the car accident injury claims time limits for your claim.