By Danielle Griffin. Last Updated 24th August 2023. If you’ve had an accident, you may want to know what the car insurance claim time limit is and whether or not you could make a personal injury claim for compensation. If so, the information on this page can help.
We also take a look at the time limit for claiming personal injury compensation, the criteria for making a claim, and the process of reporting a car accident to your insurance company.
If you’d like to make a claim, we can help. Our team of No Win No Fee solicitors are specialists in road traffic accident cases and can lend their expertise to you too.
To take advantage of our free case check, or to get more advice on reporting a car accident, you can:
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Select A Section
- A Guide To How Long You Have To Report A Car Accident In The UK
- What Is A Car Accident Report?
- Do You Always Need To Report A Car Accident?
- Who Do Car Accidents Need To Be Reported To?
- How Long Do I Have To Report An Accident?
- How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident To The Police?
- How Long Do I Have To Report A Car Accident To My Insurance Company In the UK?
- How Long Do I Have To Notify The Motor Insurers Bureau Of A Hit And Run?
- Circumstances In Which You Should Report Your Car Accident
- Steps To Take To Report A Car Accident
- Failure To Report A Car Accident
- Financial Loses You May Claim For
- Compensation For A Car Accident
- Make A Car Accident Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Start Your Claim And Ask About The Reporting A Car Accident Time Limit
- Further Information Relating To The Reporting A Car Accident Time Limit
In the moments where a negligent third party causes an accident on the road, it can be a stressful and daunting experience. Is someone to blame for the road traffic accident that has caused you harm? If so, you might consider a claim for compensation. Although you could have valid grounds to make a personal injury claim, there are elements to the claims process that could affect your ability to claim. These could include personal injury claims time limits.
How Long After A Car Accident Can You Claim On Insurance In The UK?
Once you know how to claim for a car accident, you should know that you must initiate proceedings before the time limit expires. This is generally 3 years from the date of the accident as set out in the Limitation Act 1980.
However, in some circumstances, there might be an exception to this limitation period. These include:
- Those without the mental capacity to make their own claim. These parties have an indefinite suspension applied to the time limit. During this time, a court-appointed litigation friend can start the claiming process for them. However, if the injured party regains this capacity and a claim wasn’t made for them already, they will have 3 years from the date it was determined that they regained capacity to begin the process.
- Children under the age of 18. In these cases, a pause is applied to the limitation period until they turn 18. Before this date, a litigation friend can act on their behalf. However, once they turn 18, they will have 3 years from their 18th birthday to file a claim if a litigation friend hasn’t already done so.
Get in touch with an advisor to discuss how long after a car accident can you claim on the insurance in the UK.
How long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company for UK accidents – Your questions answered
This online guide aims to answer relevant questions, such as:
- What is a personal injury claim?
- What is a No Win No Fee Agreement?
- When should I begin my claim?
- How long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK?
- What is a personal injury claims time limit and could it affect my claim?
Have you been involved in a road-related incident and wish to make a claim within the car accident claim time limit? Please read through the rest of this guide. If you have any additional questions after reading this guide, please call the team.
A car accident report is something that is created by the police after a road traffic accident has been reported to them. The report will detail the incident in greater length. It will include various vital details. If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, a car accident report is often created. It can be used for insurance claims or civil proceedings. Most people can acquire a copy of the report. It could take up to 12 weeks to receive this.
Those that have been involved in a road traffic accident might be questioning whether a road-related incident needs to be reported? Under the Road Traffic Act of 1988, it outlines that those driving a mortised vehicle that has been involved in an accident must stop and provide their registration, name, and contact information. However, in minor cases where minimal damages (such as scratches or dents) have been caused, both drivers could agree no significant harm was caused and amicably move forward. But in severe cases, drivers are obligated to provide contact information, registration details, and report the incident.
Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and upsetting experience. It is more than understandable to have questions. If you have been involved in an accident, you might be questioning how soon to report a car accident. Plus, who do I report to? Within the following sections, this guide shows how to report an incident on the road. Plus, what parties need to be informed.
When you report car accidents, it’s generally advised that you do so within 24 hours of the accident occurring. This is true both of your insurance company, and the police. However, not all accidents need to be reported to the police. Typically speaking, a report only needs to be made to the police if you believe someone was committing a crime, there’s an obstruction in the road, or insurance details are not provided at the scene.
If you want to know what happens after a car accident regarding the process of making a claim, get in touch with our advisors today. They are available 24/7 to assist you and answer your questions free of charge.
Not all accidents will need reporting to the police however in cases of hit and runs, as well as drunk driving accidents and accidents involving injury may all need to be reported to the police. If you have personally been involved in an incident and didn’t exchange contact information at the scene of the incident, the police should be notified within 24 hours after the accident.
As well as wanting to know how to report a car accident and what should be included in reports on car accidents, you might want to know how long you have to report a crash or start a claim.
You are not always required to call the police following a car accident. You only need to report a crash if:
- Someone is seriously injured
- You believe a crime was comitted
- It resulted in an obstruction in the road
According to the Limitation Act 1980, you’d usually have 3 years from the date of the accident to start a claim. However, there can be exceptions to this. Get in touch with our advisors to find out if you are still within your time limit to start a car accident claim.
Are There Exceptions To The Car Accident Claim Time Limit?
Some exceptions might apply to the limitation period in which you could claim. If a parent applied to be a litigation friend for a child in order to claim for the child’s injuries, they could have until the child’s 18th birthday to launch a claim. There are also exceptions to the limitation period for those who lack the mental capacity to claim.
If you have been in a vehicle accident and want to check how long you have to claim for your injuries, please call our team. We’d be happy to assist you.
Compensation payouts table
To illustrate a clearer understanding, we have provided a small table that outlines the different time limits to report a car accident in England and Wales.
|Type of Time Limit
|Relevant Time Limit
|Time Limit for Reporting a Car Accident to the Police without getting the contact details of another driver or not giving your own details.
|Time Limit for Reporting a Car Accident to an Insurance Company
|Dependent On Your Documentation (Subject to change with different insurance companies)
|Time Limit to Start a Claim
|3 Years (time limit varies)
How To Report A Hit And Run
If you’re in a road traffic accident that causes property damage or personal injury, then it’s a legal requirement to exchange your insurance information with anyone who has reasonable grounds for requesting them. This could include the other driver, for instance. In cases where information isn’t exchanged at the time, the incident should be reported to the police within 24 hours.
If the at-fault driver cannot be traced, then you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). They can compensate those who have been involved in accidents with untraced or uninsured drivers.
Get in touch to find out more about how to report an accident caused by a hit and run driver.
There is a standard in which all vehicles on the road must meet. They must do so to ensure safety has been achieved. For example, all vehicles on the road must be registered with the DVLA. They must have up to date vehicle tax and have a current MOT certificate. Plus they must be roadworthy. However, there are various circumstances in which another road user could neglect their road safety obligation. This could make them potentially liable.
How Long Do I Have To Report A Car Accident To My Insurance Company In the UK?
If you have a road traffic accident that causes injury or damage you must report the road incident to the police within 24 hours of it happening. You must also exchange details with the other road user. Details could include your name, address and registration number.
If a driver leaves the scene without providing the necessary details, you should still report to the police.
Furthermore, even if you aren’t planning on claiming, you must report the incident to your insurance company.
If you have been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, Citizen’s Advice has provided some steps you could take:
- Do not admit liability at the scene
- Exchange details with the other drivers involved. If someone refuses to share their details, write down their registration number.
- Seek medical attention
- Take photographs
- Call the local police station and inform them of the incident
- Call your insurance company
If you have been involved in an incident with an uninsured driver, please click here to read more.
Depending on what your insurance policy says will ultimately reveal whether you need to report accidents to your insurance company even if you do not intend to make road traffic accident claims against your policy. If you’re asking ‘how long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK?’, as previously stated there is no one time limit for reporting the accident to your insurance. Again, a look at your policy may provide the answer you are looking for.
Now we have answered the question of ‘how long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK?’, you might want to move on to the financial aspect of your claim. If you have been involved in a car accident and wish to make a claim within three years of the date of the accident or date of knowledge, there are two categories of damages which could be evaluated and taken into consideration. These are known as General Damages and Special Damages. If you have experienced physical injury or psychological trauma after an accident, this will fall under the category of General Damages. Special Damages refer to the loss of finances after an accident, and in this section, it shall outline various ways a road traffic accident could cause a financial loss.
- The Cost of Care – If a road traffic accident renders you unable to look after yourself, you might require additional support through a carer. If that is the case, the cost of care could be factored into a claim for compensation.
- Lowered Earning Potential – If a road traffic accident caused by the negligence of another affects your future career prospects, it could be taken into consideration.
- Loss of Earnings – After an accident, you might require time off from work to heal and recover. During this period, you could potentially lose out on income if your employer doesn’t have a sick pay scheme set in place. If that is the case, the loss of earnings could be factored into a personal injury claim.
- Medical Treatment – If you require medical treatment after an accident that isn’t covered by the NHS, you may have to personally fund your treatment. When making a claim for compensation, the cost of medical treatment could be factored into the claim.
Now we have covered special damages those looking to claim accident compensation could be awarded; let us look at general damages payouts.
When you claim compensation for a car accident causing injury, your compensation can depend on different factors, such as the nature and severity of your injury, as well as how it has impacted your life in both the long and the short term.
To help work out how much could be appropriate, legal professionals could look at the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This publication provides guidance on general damages payouts for different types of injuries. It relates to claims in England and Wales only, and is based on past cases.
How long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company UK – Compensation Table
The table below includes figures from this publication. It could give you an idea of how much some injuries could be worth.
|The Severity of the Injury
|£91,090 to £160,980
|An injury of this nature of involved damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots, causing serious consequences not normally found in cases of back injury. It could cause impairment of the bladder, bowels, and sexual function.
|£27,760 to £38,780
|Cases of this nature are often expected to involve serious back implications, causing pain and discomfort. A case of a compression/crush fracture of the lumbar vertebrae where there is a substantial risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain and discomfort.
|In the region of £148,330
|An injury of this nature is expected to cause life-altering health repercussions such as paraplegia or permanent spastic quadriparesis. The injured individual will suffer from headaches and will have little to no movement in the neck.
|£24,990 to £38,490
|A moderate neck injury is often expected to involve fractures and dislocations. In many cases, injuries of this nature could cause chronic conditions.
|£29,780 to £97,330
|Scarring of this nature is expected to have a serious impact on the mental well-being of the individual.
|£19,200 to £48,030
|A severe shoulder injury is often expected to cause serious brachial plexus injuries, causing significant neck and/or arm issues.
|With a minor psychological injury
|Whiplash and a minor psychological injury with symptoms lasting 18-24 months.
|Without a psychological injury
|Whiplash with symptoms lasting 18-24 months.
However, this is only a guide because your settlement may differ depending on your unique circumstances. If you would like guidance on your own claim, please call our team.
Road Traffic Accident Compensation Claims – Whiplash Reforms
Following the Whiplash Reform Programme, there have been changes made to the way low value road traffic accident compensation claims involving whiplash or soft tissue injuries are made. As such, adult passengers and drivers of vehicles with injuries valued at £5,000 or less must claim through the government’s Official Injury Claims portal.
In doing so, whiplash and soft tissue injuries are valued in line with the fixed tariff set out in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. However, even claims not made through the portal could be valued in line with this tariff.
To learn more about seeking compensation for a car accident, get in touch on the number above.
If you are eligible to make a car accident claim, one of our solicitors could help you with your claim. Additionally, they may offer to represent you under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a type of No Win No Fee agreement.
When you make a claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you will not be expected to pay them anything upfront for the work they will provide on your case. You also won’t be expected to pay any ongoing fees. Furthermore, you won’t have to pay them for their services if your claim fails.
You will pay a success fee to your solicitor if they succeed with your claim. This fee is a legally capped percentage deducted from the compensation awarded to you. The percentage is usually agreed upon before your solicitor starts working on your claim.
If you would like to learn more about working with a No Win No Fee solicitor on your personal injury claim, you can contact our advisors. They could also help you answer questions about making a claim through the MIB against a driver with no car insurance and the claim limit for personal injury claims.
If you have been injured by a negligent third party and wish to make a claim, whether for criminal injury, medical negligence or injuries resulting from a car accident, why not contact a member of our team? Here at Accident Claims UK, our phone lines are free to call, and our knowledgeable team of advisers are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They can offer free legal advice of no obligation and answer any queries that you might have. Alternatively, you could enquire online through our website, and a member of our team will contact you at a later date.
The number to call is 0800 073 8801.
To enquire online, please click here.
This online guide should have provided relevant information. To support this guide, we have provided some additional materials that could be of use.
Bus Crash Claim – Could I Make A Claim After Being Injured In A Bus Crash?
Taxi Accident Claim – Does A Taxi Owe Me A Duty Of Care?
Head Injury Claim – Could I Make A Claim In Connection To Head Trauma?
To see more frequently asked questions on personal injury claims, head here
NHS – First AID
Find out how to prove fault in a car accident claim with our helpful guide.
Learn about the whiplash recovery time and how to claim with our informative article.
FAQ About The Car Accident Claim Time Limit – How Long Do I Have To Report A Car Accident To My Insurance Company In The UK?
What happens if there’s a failure to report an accident?
If you fail to report accidents on the road that cause personal injury or damage to property, this could be illegal.
Can I make a hit and run claim if the driver didn’t make a car accident report and I was injured?
A hit and run claim could be made through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau if you were injured in a hit and run accident.
However, if the negligent driver can be traced, you may not need to claim via the MIB.
What should be included in a car accident report?
Simply put, as much detail as possible. It would be a good idea to keep details for your own records. You could note down the position of vehicles, weather and road conditions, for example. It would be a good idea to try and obtain witness contact details too.
How common are road traffic accidents in the UK?
Below, you can see the DfT statistics relating to car accident injuries and other motor vehicle accident injuries in Great Britain in the year ending June 2021. You may note that there new times when people were more likely to be working from home during some of this year that should be taken into account when looking at these figures. You can still see that there are a significant number of accidents befalling road users.
How long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK if I am incapacitated?
You may be wondering, if your injuries are severe, how long you would have to report a car accident to your insurance company in the UK. If at all possible, someone else could report the accident to your insurers if you are unable to do so. This could be a family member, for example. In cases where someone is seriously injured, the police could report the accident to the insurer.
I can’t find how long I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK – what should I do?
If you cannot find how long you have to report a car accident to your insurance company in the UK on your policy documentation, we would advise you to check their website. Alternatively, you could call them to ask about this.
How long do car accident compensation claims take?
If you’re wondering how long your claim could take to settle, this would depend on a number of factors. Should your car accident compensation claim be immediately accepted by the at-fault party’s insurer and they offer you a fair settlement, the matter could be concluded relatively swiftly. Should they argue liability, or say that your injuries are not as bad as you say they are, your claim could take longer.
How long do you have to report a car accident to your insurer in the UK if no one is injured?
If you’re in a car accident and no one is injured but there is property damage, this should be reported to the police. If your vehicle has been damaged, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. In terms of how long you have to report a car accident to your insurance provider, details should be included in your policy documentation
What should you tell your insurer when you’re reporting an accident to the insurance company?
You should give as many details as possible when reporting an accident to the insurance company. It may help you to write things down as soon as they happen. You could refer back to your notes while you’re talking to your insurer to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Does reporting an accident to my insurance company trigger a claim?
Your insurance company needs to be aware of any damage to your vehicle or personal injury you suffer because of an accident. However, telling them about an accident doesn’t automatically trigger a claim. If you would like to make a personal injury claim for injuries from a car accident you were injured in, please call us. We could offer you advice and help you make a claim if you’re eligible to do so.
Final words on ‘How long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK?
Thank you for reading our car accident claim time limit guide. How hopefully you’re aware of the reporting a car accident time limit. Hopefully, we’ve also now explained the answer to ‘how long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK?’ too. Whether you’re intending on making a hit and run claim, or there was a failure to report an accident in which you were injured, please get in touch. We’d be happy to assist you.