Personal Injury Claim Time Limits Guide – How Long Do I have To Claim Compensation For A Personal Injury Claim In The UK?

Are There Time Limits For Making A Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury claims time limits

Personal injury claims time limits

This online guide covers the personal injury claims time limit, what it is, and how it can change based on the circumstances of a claim. When a personal injury lawyer processes a personal injury claim for a claimant, it must be done within this statutory deadline. Knowing which time limit applies in your own case is critical.

If you have questions about this guide, your claim, or the claims process in general, then our claims team is available to provide the answers you need on 0800 073 8801. If you wish, they can also explain to you how we can provide a legal team to help you process a personal injury claim.

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A Guide To Time Limits For Injury Claims

Within this guide, we will attempt to show how the injury claim time limit applies to a case, and how this deadline is driven by the circumstances surrounding the claim. We will answer the question, can I claim for injury after 3 years? And show that, yes, in some cases personal injury claims can be filed later than the statutory time limit of 3 years. We start this guide by giving some background on what an accident or injury claim is, and how a solicitor can help with a claim.

The next part of this guide deals with time limits. We introduce what claim time limits are and why they are important, and then we cover some of the circumstances that can affect the deadline. This includes claims involving children, people with diminished capacity, the dependants of people who have died in a fatal accident, as well as overseas claims to name but a few.

The last part of this guide is given over to the financial considerations of making an accident or injury claim. We have provided a table, based on the UK Judicial College Guidelines which provides sample compensation ranges for different injuries. You will also find that we have listed some damages which are frequently awarded which make up a claim settlement. Lastly, we explain how we can arrange for a solicitor to process your claim under a No Win No Fee agreement, and show why in many cases, using such a claim service can minimise the financial risks associated with legal representation.

If, once you have finished reading this guide, you still have unanswered questions, then please reach out to our claims team on the number at the end of this guide. They will be happy to provide you with any assistance you need. And of course, they will tell you what the time limit to claim personal injury is in your case, and help you to move your claim on to the next stage.

What Is A Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is a legal dispute that can occur when one party suffers harm at the hands of another party. The third-party liable for causing harm could be a private individual, a company, or any other organisation, even a Government body. The liable party will be responsible for compensating the claimant for injuries both physical and psychological, as well as any long-term effects of the injuries and also some forms of financial loss. Part of the personal injury claim limitation is that it must be made within a specific time-frame.

A solicitor will represent the claimant, and will process the claim, attempting to achieve a positive outcome. The claim will either not be successful, or one of two possible successful outcomes will be achieved, and these are:

  • An informal settlement – the defendant will admit liability (either full or partial) and offer an out of court settlement to the claimant. The claimant is free to rebuff this offer and either renegotiate, or let the claim go to court.
  • Formal court proceedings – the claim will go to court, and it will be evaluated under the UK judicial system. A decision will be made on whether the defendant is liable, and to what extent. The court will put a value on the claim, and award this as compensation to the claimant.

We know that the personal injury claims process sounds complicated, and sometimes it is. However, we are here to help you through it. Speak to a member of our claims team to start getting the help you need today.

What Are Personal Injury Claim Time Limits?

Part of the personal injury claim statute of limitation, is that there is an injury claim time limit for UK claims. A time limit stops certain types of historic claims from being made, which would be unfair to the defendant.

In general, in the UK, the time limit for making a claim is three years from the date of the incident that caused harm (such as in a road traffic accident), or from the date of knowledge of the claim (more on this in the next section).

However, this three-year time limit can change in certain circumstances, and we will also cover many of these in the following sections. If you need to know which time limit applies on your own case, please speak to a member of our claims team. Explain your circumstances to them and they will tell you which time limit applies.

Time Limits In Different Injury Claim Cases

The table below gives a general overview of the different way that the type of accident affects the time limit that will apply:

Type of Accident Applicable Time Limit
Road Traffic Accident Three years from the date the accident took place.
Work-related accident Three years from the date the accident took place.
Industrial Illness Three years from the date the medical condition was diagnosed.
Clinical Negligence Three years from the incident itself or the date of knowledge.
Criminal Injuries Two years from the incident itself or the date of knowledge.

What Is The Date Of Knowledge In A Personal Injury Claim?

Part of the injury claim statute of limitations is the time limit for making a claim. In most cases, this time limit begins to run from the date of knowledge. This is the date that the claimant first becomes aware of their injury or illness, or within an acceptable time-frame for them to become aware of their injuries. Often, the date of knowledge is simple to discern, such as in a road traffic accident, it would be the date that the accident took place. However, in some cases, symptoms may be delayed or not manifest for some time. This would change the date of knowledge.

Sometimes, the claimant is not aware of the illness or injury for quite some time. For example, a former coal miner doesn’t contract an industrially related lung disease until many years later. In this case, the date of knowledge would be the date that the illness was first diagnosed.

To simplify this, we could say that the date of knowledge, the date the  time limit starts ticking down from, will be:

  • The date that the symptoms of the illness or injury started
  • The date that the claimant first began to suspect that they had an illness or injury
  • The date the claimant first had their medical condition diagnosed

Sometimes, the situation can be more complex. For example, if the claimant is initially diagnosed with a fairly minor illness or injury, and subsequently this diagnosis is revised to be something more serious.

If you are unsure just when the date of knowledge for your claim would be, we can help. Talk to one of our claim advisers and go over your claim with them, they will tell you the prospective date of knowledge for your claim.

Time Limits For Child Injury Claims

When a personal injury solicitor processes a claim on behalf of a person under the age of 18, the time limit is handled in a slightly different way. The three-year limit is still applicable, but the date of knowledge does not apply in the same way. Instead, the time limit begins to run from the date of the child reaching their majority, which is currently their 18th birthday in the UK. This means that any claim must be settled before the claimants 21st birthday.

Of course, a claim can still be made before the child’s 18th birthday. A parent or guardian can act as a litigation friend for a child under the age of 18. However, if a claim is made in this way, the compensation that is won will be put into a court held fund until the child turns 18.

So, it really comes down to a choice, make the claim earlier using a litigation friend, or wait until the child’s 18th birthday. Either way, we can be of assistance. Please talk to a member of our claims team to learn how.

Time Limits For Those With Diminished Capacity

The time limit for making a claim is affected by the Mental Health Act 1983, in relation to claimants that have diminished capacity and therefore, are not able to deal with the claims process themselves.

In this case, the time limit will start to run from the date that the claimant is discharged as being fit to care for themselves, or from the date of the end of their registered disability. Whichever of these two dates is first, is the date the time limit runs from.

As with child claims, it is also possible for a litigation friend to act on behalf of the claimant and handle the claim for them even though they claimant has diminished capacity. If you need help with a claim related to a person of diminished capacity, speak to one of our claim advisers to learn how we can be of help.

Time Limits For Flight Accident Claims

So far, we have spoken about the time limit for an injury claim being three years. However, when it comes to making a claim for an accident on a plane flight, the time limit is only two years. But only when the claim is being made by leveraging the Montreal Convention.

The Montreal Convention is a legal framework that provides plane passengers with some very specific rights, one of which is the right to make a compensation claim against the airline for injuries caused by the airline or its representatives.

The Montreal Convention only comes into play when the plane is flying in international airspace, outside of any national legal jurisdiction. If you are unsure whether you will need to make a claim under the Montreal Convention, explain your situation to a member of our claims team and they will let you know.

Time Limits For Accidents Abroad

If you intend to make a holiday accident or illness claim, and the claim would be settled overseas, then the time limit that applies to the claim will be based on the laws in the country the claim is being filed in.

However, there is an exception to this. If you booked a package holiday (a holiday including 2 or more features in a single price), then you can leverage the Package Tour Regulations 1992 and other legislation, to make a claim against the UK based travel vendor that sold you the holiday. Only if the incident that caused you harm was the responsibility of one of the included parts of the package. For example, you are electrocuted by a faulty light switch in your hotel room, and the hotel was included in the package holiday. In this case, the UK time limit of three years will apply, and it will start from the date of knowledge, as other claims do.

If you need to make a claim for an accident, injury or illness on holiday, we can assist you. Talk to one of our claim advisers and find out how we can help you proceed with a claim today.

Time Limits In Fatal Injury Claims

In the case of claims for a fatal accident, it will be the dependants, family or estate of the deceased party, who would be making a claim. The standard three-year time limit will apply, but with a minor difference.

The date of knowledge will be either the date of death. For example, a person is killed in a road traffic accident and the date of knowledge would be the date the accident took place. Or in some cases, it will be the date the cause of death is established. For example, if a person is killed in a workplace accident, and the cause of the accident must be discerned through a process of investigation, a board of enquiry, etc.

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident and believe you have cause to make a claim, please talk to our claims team. A claims adviser will go over your situation with you and help you decide how best to proceed.

Personal Injury Compensation Claims Calculator

If you want a rough idea of how much compensation you might be able to claim, you could try using an online personal injury claims calculator. Alternatively, you could use a table such the one below to look up your injury, and find out what the possible range of compensation could be.

What Type of Injury?How Severe Was It?Possible CompensationInformation
Injured handMinor to moderateUp to £12,460Injuries in this category will include lacerations, burns, grazes, bruises, etc. as well as minor sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries as well as fractures, that would heal fully within 6 months.
Moderate to serious£12,460 to £79,360Injuries such as crush damage, penetrating wounds and deep lacerations, as well as serious soft tissue injuries including sprains and strains, as well as compound or complex fractures. In the worst case, the injuries would result in permanent disability.
Amputation£102,890 to £189,110The loss of one or both of the hands.
Injured armModerate to severe£11,820 to £122,860Injuries such as crush damage, penetrating wounds and deep lacerations, as well as serious soft tissue injuries including sprains and strains, as well as compound or complex fractures. In the worst case, the injuries would result in permanent disability.
Minor to moderateUp to £11,820Injuries in this category will include lacerations, burns, grazes, bruises, etc. as well as minor sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries as well as fractures, that would heal fully within 6 months.
Amputation£102,890 to £281,520From the loss of one arm at the elbow, to both arms at the shoulder.
Injured backModerate to severe£36,390 to £141,141Injuries such as crush damage, penetrating wounds and deep lacerations, as well as serious soft tissue injuries including sprains and strains, as well as compound or complex fractures. In the worst case, the injuries would result in permanent disability such a full or partial paralysis.
Minor to moderateUp to £36,390Injuries in this category will include lacerations, burns, grazes, bruises, etc. as well as minor sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries as well as fractures, that would heal fully within 6 months.
Injured neckModerate to severe£36,120 to £139,210Injuries such as crush damage, penetrating wounds and deep lacerations, as well as serious soft tissue injuries including sprains and strains, as well as compound or complex fractures. In the worst case, the injuries would result in permanent disability such a full or partial paralysis.
Minor to moderateUp to £36,120Injuries in this category will include lacerations, burns, grazes, bruises, etc. as well as minor sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries as well as fractures, that would heal fully within 6 months.
Injured footMinor to moderateUp to £23,460Injuries in this category will include lacerations, burns, grazes, bruises, etc. as well as minor sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries as well as fractures, that would heal fully within 6 months.
Moderate to very severe£23,460 to £102,890Injuries such as crush damage, penetrating wounds and deep lacerations, as well as serious soft tissue injuries including sprains and strains, as well as compound or complex fractures. In the worst case, the injuries would result in permanent disability.
Amputation£78,800 to £189,110The loss of one or both of the feet.
Injured legModerate to severe£36,790 to £127,530Injuries such as crush damage, penetrating wounds and deep lacerations, as well as serious soft tissue injuries including sprains and strains, as well as compound or complex fractures. In the worst case, the injuries would result in permanent disability.
Minor to moderateUp to £36,790Injuries in this category will include lacerations, burns, grazes, bruises, etc. as well as minor sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries as well as fractures, that would heal fully within 6 months.
Amputation£91,950 to £264,650The loss of one leg at the knee to both legs at the hip.

If you want a much more accurate estimate of the amount of compensation you could receive if your claim is successful, please speak to one of our claim advisers who can arrange for a solicitor to value your claim for you.

How Solicitors Calculate Special Damages

If you win your claim, then your settlement will include potentially a number of different types of damages that will make up the overall compensation amount. These damages could include, for example:

  • General damages: These are paid for physical harm and suffering, such as:
    • Pain and suffering at the time of the accident, and also whilst receiving emergency medical treatment
    • Shock and trauma of being involved in an accident
    • Painful treatment and recuperation if your recovery will be long and arduous
    • Psychological issues such as anxiety, new phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Long term or permanent disabilities and a loss of life quality
  • Special damages: These are paid for nonphysical losses, such as:
    • Out of pocket travel expenses
    • The cost of care, such as a nurse to take care of you at home
    • Medical fees for medical care you had to pay for that was not available on the NHS
    • Loss of earnings if you missed out on your wages/salary by having to take time off to recuperate.
    • Lowered earning potential in the future, if you will be left with a diminished ability to work, or are unable to work at all

For an indication of the kinds of damages that may apply in your own case, call our claims team and speak to one of our advisers today. They will be able to tell you what kinds of damages you could be able to includes in your personal injury claim.

No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claims

Have you considered using the services of a No Win No Fee solicitor to process your claim for you? This is a good way to have your claim handled without having to find the funds to pay legal fees because you don’t pay anything until you have received a compensation payment.

There is no fee to pay to get the solicitor to start working on your claim, and as the solicitor is processing your claim, they won’t ask for any fee to be paid, even if this takes several months. If you don’t receive any compensation, then you still pay nothing at all. If your claim is a success, then the solicitor will deduct their pre-agreed fee (success fee) from the compensation payment they receive on your behalf. You will then be given the remainder.

If you would like to know more about how this fee agreement works, please speak to a claim adviser who will be happy to answer your questions.

Start Your Claim Today

Do you need to know a specific claim time limit, such as the work injury claim time limit? Or perhaps you are reaching the end of the time limit to make a claim and need some immediate help to get a claim started? No matter what help you need, contact our claims team today on 0800 073 8801.

Essential Links

These external links contain useful information:

UK Government Information On The Montreal Convention

UK Government Information About Package Holiday Regulations

LawWorks Table Of Limitation Periods

These other guides may also be of use:

How To Claim For A Fatal Accident

Road Traffic Accident Claims

Claiming For A Head Injury

Article by MW (Mac)

Editor Honey