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How long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?

By Daniel Archer. Last Updated 6th May 2022. Welcome to our personal injury claims guide, where we’ll look at the question of ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’

If you have an accident at work that wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to claim compensation for your suffering. However, there is a time limit for injury at work claims. So the amount of time you have to begin your claim for compensation isn’t indefinite. Once this timescale for personal injury claim has passed, it will become unlikely that you’ll be able to start your claim if it hasn’t already begun. So it is important to make your claim within the injury at work claim time limit.

Injury at work

Injury at work claims guide

You may be wondering, “how long after an accident at work can you claim compensation?”. The personal injury claim limitation period is usually three years. This is applied by law under the Limitation Act 1980. You will have three years from the date of your accident. There are a handful of exceptions, however, which will be looked at later in this guide, but in most cases, you must begin your compensation claim within three years.

Select a section

  1. A Guide to How Long After an Injury at Work Can I Claim
  2. What is the Personal Injury Claims Time Limit?
  3. Mental Health Exceptions to Injury at Work Claim Time Limit
  4. Asbestosis and Mesothelioma at Work Claims Time Limit
  5. Claims For the Under 18s at Work Claim Time Limit
  6. Brain Injury Accident at Work Claims Time Limit
  7. Injury at Work Compensation Amounts
  8. Hiring a Personal Injury Solicitor For Injury at Work Claims
  9. Injury at Work Compensation FAQs
  10. Useful Links

A Guide to How Long After an Injury at Work Can I Claim

This guide will explain how to start a personal injury claim within the standard 3-year time limit. It will outline the few exceptions to this injury at work claim time limit. It will also aim to answer common questions such as “I had an accident at work, what are my rights?” The guide will also address related questions such as “can I claim for an accident after 3 years?”, “how does an injury at work claim work? and “how long after an accident at work can you claim?”.

We’ll also show several compensation brackets in order to give you a rough idea of how much your potential accident at work claim might be worth.

Accidents and injuries at work happen frequently and for a wide variety of reasons. According to statistics provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an estimated 441,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in reported work accidents during the period 2020/21. Around 339,000 of these injuries lead to an absence from work for up to 7 days. Around 102,000 of the injuries led to an absence of over 7 days.

Should I consider an injury at work claim?

Whatever the exact cause, it is always worth pursuing a potential compensation claim if you’re ever hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault. If your accident happened a while ago and you’ve only recently started considering a claim, then it’s understandable to ask questions such as how long after an accident can you claim compensation.

When you file a claim for compensation following an accident at work you will be able to include a range of emotional and physical damages which this guide will explain in detail. While you will have three years to file your claim in most cases, it is advisable to begin your claim as early as possible as you may rely on the financial support your compensation pay-out will bring as you recover.

What is the Personal Injury Claims Time Limit?

Before explaining the time limit for personal injury claims, we should first clarify what a personal injury is. A personal injury can be classed as either a physical injury, illness or disease, or a psychological injury or illness. Some personal injuries can potentially result in death. In such cases, the deceased’s family may be able to start a personal injury claim on their behalf.

Personal injury claims can include any of the following:

If you have suffered a personal injury at work then you may want to consider registering an official complaint with your employer. This may be beneficial to refer to later if you then decide to proceed with a claim for compensation. If you have had to have any time off work due to your injury or illness then you may be able to claim for lost earnings as part of your personal injury claim.

The injury at work claim time limit is usually three years. This is legally applied under the Limitation Act 1980. This time limit for starting your claim begins on the day of the accident. Alternatively, the starting date may be the day you discovered that your injury or illness was linked to the accident at work if this date is later.

Why there can be exceptions to the time limit

If you’re wondering ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’, you may also be wondering why any legal time limit exists.

While for the majority of cases the time limit for injury at work compensation claims is three years, there are some exceptions for extenuating circumstances. For example, it would be unfair not to allow a person to claim compensation following an accident at work if that accident had left them in a coma or with severe life-changing injuries that left them permanently disabled. In cases like this, these circumstances would be considered and the injury at work claim time limit may be overlooked.

Some injuries and illnesses may also not manifest until the time limit for accident at work claims has passed. Therefore, these cases may also be heard in those circumstances. If you are in any doubt about whether or not you could claim compensation after the three-year time limit has passed, the team at Legal Expert will be able to advise you.

Common exceptions to the personal injury claims time limit

If you’re wondering ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’ there are certain exceptions to the time limit that could apply to you.

The next part of this guide will run through some of the most common exceptions to the injury at work claim time limit, however, you should call us at Legal Expert if you are unsure whether or not your claim fits into any of these categories.

Mental Health Exceptions to Injury at Work Claims Time Limit

If, at the time of the accident, the victim was being treated under the Mental Health Act 1983, then the three-year time period does not start until the victim has been discharged by their doctor and nay treatment has ceased. If the accident resulted in the injured party being rendered immediately mentally incapable, then the three-year time period will only begin when the person is discharged.

Where mental health is concerned, personal injury claims can be extremely delicate and complex. Call Legal Expert to discuss your claim as we have plenty of experience in this area.

Asbestosis and Mesothelioma at Work Claims Time Limit

You may be wondering ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’ in regards to cases of mesothelioma or asbestos exposure.

As asbestosis and mesothelioma can take years to be diagnosed, the three-year time period only commences once you become aware of the condition and that it was linked to your employment. This is known as the date of knowledge.

Due to the aggressive and often fatal nature of mesothelioma, many claimants, unfortunately, pass away before the completion of their claim. As long as the three-year time limit has not expired during the victim’s life then the family can pursue a claim on the deceased person’s behalf. The three-year injury at work claim time limit will begin from the victim’s date of death.

Claims For the Under 18s at Work Claim Time Limit

If you’re under 18 and you’re wondering ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’, this section could help.

If you have been injured as an under 18 at work, the time limit for claims does not start until your 18th birthday, as this is when you’ll legally be able to claim. Once you turn 18, you have until your 21st birthday to make a claim for compensation.

If you wish to secure your compensation before this, you could have a loved one act as a litigation friend to pursue your claim on your behalf.

Brain Injury Accident at Work Claims Time Limit

Although brain injuries are some of the most serious, the three-year time limit for accident at work claims still stands. If the brain injury is so severe that the person is incapable of filing their own claim then their family may do it on their behalf and the injury at work claim time limit begins on the day of the incident or the day when the injuries were linked to the accident.

In cases where there has been severe brain injury but no family to file a claim, the courts may consider waiving the time limit if the victim has not had the opportunity to file a claim due to their injuries

Injury at Work Compensation Amounts

This section includes a table of potential compensation amounts for an injury at work claim. When you make a personal injury claim, you could claim under both general and special damages. General damages compensates you for the suffering you have experienced, and special damages covers specific financial losses caused by the accident.

The figures in the table below look at potential general damages amounts for different injuries, taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. These amounts are not a guarantee, as each case is assessed according to the individual circumstances.

InjurySeverityAmountNotes
AnkleModestUp to £12,900Ligament injuries, sprains and minor fractures.
ThumbVery Serious£18,390 to £32,850Thumb may have been severed at the base and grafted back. The digit will be deformed and virtually useless.
BackModerate (i)£26,050 to £36,390There will be some form of residual disability. Examples of injuries here could include: compression or crush fractures, traumatic spondylolisthesis, and prolapsed or damaged discs.
Facial DisfigurementLess Severe£16,860 to £45,440Issue is substantial and causes a serious psychological reaction.
Complex Regional Pain SyndromeModerate£26,300 to £49,270Significant effects have been experienced for a prolonged amount of time. Prognosis assumes some future improvement enabling a return to work.
Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders(A)£20,560 to £21,700Continuous bilateral disability. Surgery will be necessary and there will be a loss of employment.
Vibration White FingerSerious£15,740 to £29,690Injury will result in issues with work and domestic activity.
ArmAmputation (B) (ii)£102,890 to £122,860One arm is amputated above the elbow.
Asbestos-Related Disease(B)£65,710 to £91,350Lung cancer, fatal in most cases.
BrainModerate (i)£140,870 to £205,580Personality change, moderate to severe intellectual deficit and an effect on speech, sight and senses. There will be a related significant risk of epilepsy with no prospects of employment.

More payouts for injury at work claims

When you make a successful claim for an injury at work, the amount you could receive may also include special damages. As mentioned earlier, these are costs that accrue as a direct result of your injuries.

Therefore, each claim for compensation for an injury at work is assessed individually. This is because not every claimant will experience the same losses. Even if they do, the level of loss won’t be identical.

There are a number of different areas of your life that can be affected by your injuries. Because of this, the money you spend or lose can vary in its value. We’ve included some special damages examples below. This should better illustrate the kinds of costs that can be included in a compensation payment.

Damage to property – The accident that caused your injuries may also have caused your personal property to be damaged or destroyed. If so, the costs of having the items replaced or repaired may be awarded to you as part of your settlement.

Loss of earnings – If, for example, you are prevented from working until your injuries heal. This inability to work could also affect how much money you can earn. Therefore, the earnings you lose over this time can also be included in a compensation calculation.

Medical costs – This could include costs for prescriptions, treatments, or walking aids.

You will need to provide evidence in order to be reimbursed. For more information on this, and topics such as how long you can claim after an injury at work, get in touch with us today.

Hiring a Personal Injury Solicitor For Injury at Work Claims

If you’re wondering ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’, you may also be wondering whether you need a solicitor.

'how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?'

‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’

Having an experienced solicitor in your corner can really help your case as they should know exactly what evidence you’ll need to strengthen your case. Having a solicitor represent you will also take a load of stress off your shoulders so that you can focus on your own recovery.

If you do choose to hire a solicitor to support your potential claim, then we recommend choosing one who has previous experience in handling work accident claims. If you contact Legal Expert, our advisors can assist with reviewing your potential case.

If they find you have strong grounds to make a claim, then they may be able to connect you with one of our experienced work accident solicitors.

Legal Expert – Free guidance on accidents at work claims time limit

Legal Expert can connect you with an experienced and qualified solicitor to help guide you through your personal injury case and to ensure that your case is heard within the injury at work claim time limit. Our panel of solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis so there is not any financial risk on your behalf. Unless your claim is successful, you won’t need to pay the legal fees of the solicitor supporting you.

Contact Legal Expert today

Whether you’re still wondering ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’ or you’d like to learn more about the services we offer to help you claim, please contact Legal Expert today.

You can get in touch by calling us on 0800 073 8804 where we will be able to connect you with a solicitor if you have grounds to make a claim.

In the meantime, why not use our live chat feature to get an immediate response from one of our specialist team members?

Injury at Work Compensation FAQs

What is the personal injury claims time limit?

Typically, this limitation period is 3 years, effective from the incident date or date of knowledge.

Can I claim on behalf of my child?

If your child is yet to reach their 18th birthday but they wish to secure compensation as soon as possible, it’s possible for you to claim on their behalf by acting as their litigation friend. Once you assume this responsibility, the usual time limit would come into effect.

Can I claim for an accident after 3 years?

There are certain exceptions that may make claimants capable of claiming for an incident when it occurred more than 3 years ago. For example, if you lack the mental capacity to claim, then the time limit may be suspended unless you recover. While you’re unable to claim, a litigation friend can do so on your behalf.

In summary, if you’re asking ‘can I claim for an accident after 3 years?’, then the answer is that it may be possible but only in very limited circumstances.

It is always recommended that you start proceedings to get an accident at work claim underway as soon as you can. You can contact Legal Expert if you still have any questions about time limits for personal injury claims.

Should I get a lawyer?

Though there is no legal requirement for you to have a lawyer in order to make a claim, having one can help a lot. A lawyer experienced in handling work injury claims can guide you through the legal process. They could also improve your chances of receiving the compensation that you’re entitled to.

Where can I get a lawyer?

Look no further than our panel of lawyers to help you make your claim today. They have over 30 years of experience successfully securing clients’ compensation for personal injuries.

Should I accept first offer of compensation?

If you choose to work with our panel of personal injury lawyers, you’ll always have their expertise on your side when it comes to making big decisions on your claim. This includes advising you on which offer of compensation to accept and when to push for more.

What happens if I lose my personal injury claim?

As all our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis, you won’t have to pay their legal fees if they lose your claim. This way, the usual financial risk that’s involved in the claims process is minimized, helping you have peace of mind.

How can I contact Legal Expert?

Please refer to our contact section or use the live chat for an immediate response from one of our specialist advisors.

Useful Links

In this final section of our guide which answers the question how long after an accident can you claim compensation, we’ve provided links to relevant pages and other guides you may find useful.

GOV Information about compensation

GOV’s page on compensation as well as expenses and benefits can be found here.

HSE health and safety statistics page

You can visit this page to access all the work safety, accident and injury statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

NHS page for mesothelioma

This NHS page talks about mesothelioma, a type of cancer that has been diagnosed in many workers who’ve worked in environments containing asbestos.

For more advice on different kinds of personal injury claims, you’re welcome to check out the following guides below:

Thanks for reading our guide, where we’ve looked at the question of ‘how long after an injury at work can I claim compensation?’

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