What Is The Time Limit For An Accident At Work Claim?

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Accident At Work Claim Time Limits Explained

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 23rd June 2023. In this guide, we’ll explain work accident claims and the time limit for starting these kind of cases.

If you have had an accident at work that was not your fault you may be able to make a compensation claim. However, some of the most common questions personal injury solicitors receive are about the UK’s personal injury claim limitation period. Below, you can find out the rules and time limits around making an accident at work claim in the UK.

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Select a Section

  1. Are You Eligible To Make An Accident At Work Claim?
  2. Accident At Work Claim Time Limits
  3. Can I Claim For An Accident After 3 Years?
  4. Evidence You Could Gather Before The Deadline
  5. Accident At Work Compensation Amounts
  6. No Win No Fee Accident At Work Claims

Are You Eligible To Make An Accident At Work Claim?

time limit for accident at work claim

Time limit for accident at work claims guide

No matter how many precautions are put in place in a workplace, people across the country still suffer accidents at work.

Work accident claims can involve injuries that range in severity. From relatively minor lacerations, bruising and sprains through to broken bones, severe burns and even amputation in severe cases. In the worst cases, an accident at work can even lead to a fatality.

Any employer in the UK is responsible for the safety and welfare of their staff, as well as any visitors or customers. They must meet health and safety regulations as well as having sufficient (and valid) insurance in place. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be able to make a claim for an accident in the workplace.

Injury Claims At Work – Examples

The statute of limitations in the UK applies to injury claims at work. However, an injury at work compensation claim can only made if your injuries were caused by employer negligence. This is when they breach the duty of care they owe you, and you are injured as a result.

Here are some examples of instances where you could claim for an injury at work:

  • Slips, trips and falls – If your fall has been caused by certain hazards that your employer was aware of but were not handled in due time, then you could claim if you’re injured as a result.
  • Inadequate training – Some roles in the workplace require specialised equipment that can be dangerous if not used properly. Your employer must supply sufficient training before you use such equipment.
  • Not supplying PPE – Hard hats, steel toecaps, and safety goggles are all among the protective equipment you may need to be safe at work. If your injury could have been avoided by the provision of this equipment, then you could have a valid claim.

Get in touch today for more examples, and information on the personal injury claim time limit in the UK.

Accident At Work Claim Time Limits

Workplace accidents can involve a very wide range of circumstances and injury types. Some of the most common types of accidents in the workplace include the following;

The standard time limit for accident at work claims in the UK is three years from the date of the accident or the date of discovery of the injury (unless in exceptional circumstances). This is known as the ‘date of limitation’ on the claim.

For most cases, the three year period will begin from the date of the accident. If the injuries do not present straight away or are accumulated over a period of years (such as exposure to loud noise), the claim will be made from the date the injury is discovered. This is known as the ‘date of limitation’.

Fatal Accident Claim Time Limits

If you are claiming on behalf of a loved one in a fatal injury at work claim, the limitation period is set at typically three years by the Limitation Act 1980. This could be three years from the day they died, or from the date that their injuries were connected to negligence, such as following an inquest. As we looked at above, some exceptions to the time limits for personal injury claims apply. These also apply when claiming on behalf of a loved one for their death.

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 1934 allows for the estate of the deceased to bring a claim on their behalf for the physical pain and mental suffering they experienced due to the fatal accident. This must be made within the first 6 months following the death.

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 allows dependants of the deceased to make a claim for the impact the death had on them if a claim is not made by the estate. This must generally be done within 3 years of the death. Under the act a dependant is defined as:

  • A current or former spouse or civil partner.
  • Someone who lived with the deceased as a spouse for at least two years before their death.
  • The deceased’s parent or a person they treated as their parent, such as a stepparent.
  • Children of the deceased, or people they treated as their children, such as stepchildren.
  • Siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins.

As with other injury claims at work, if you are claiming on behalf of a fatality, you will need to submit evidence. We look at this later on in this guide.

Call our advisors if you need help starting a claim on behalf of a loved one for a fatal accident. The advice they give is free.

Can I Claim For An Accident After 3 Years?

If you’re wondering whether you can claim for an accident after 3 years, this will depend on the circumstances of your accident and injury.

As per the Limitation Act 1980 the general time limit for a work accident claim for employer negligence is either:

  • Three years from the date you suffered the accident
  • Or three years from the date you became aware that negligence caused or contributed to your injury.

The time limit can vary as injuries and their effects are not always apparent from the onset. In some situations an injury may develop gradually. If you only became aware of your injury at a later date, then your personal injury claim time limit will begin on the date you were made aware of the injury and its connection to the accident, or your employer’s negligence. This will generally be the date of your medical diagnosis for the injury.

There are other factors that can extend your time limit, we’ll discuss a few below but if you have suffered a workplace injury, then please reach out to one of our advisors for more information about the time limit in personal injury claims and how they could affect your claim.

Accident At Work Claim Time Limit – Other Exceptions

Work injury claims can be made on behalf of those under 18 though children cannot pursue their own claim. However, a litigation friend can be appointed to claim for them. Additionally, a child’s time limit does not begin until their reach adulthood. Before their 18th birthday, a litigation friend is free to claim for the child without time constraints.

If someone with reduced mental capacity is injured in an accident at work, the claim time limit is also suspended. It doesn’t matter if the mental condition of the individual in question was caused by or pre-dates the accident. If the claimant ever reaches the point where they are deemed capable of making a claim without assistance, this is also the date their 3-year time limit would begin. A litigation friend must also claim for them if the injured party cannot.

If you’ve been injured at work, and compensation could be owed to you, get in touch if you have any questions.

Evidence You Could Gather Before The Deadline

The personal injury claim time limit for UK claims is a time limit to issue court proceedings. Once a claim’s time limit has expired, the claim can become statute-barred; meaning you would no longer be able to make a claim.

This is one of the main reasons it is advised to start a claim as soon as possible following the accident. Additionally starting your accident at work claim before your time limit could ensure that you still have time to gather and prepare the necessary documents.

When making a claim, you will need evidence of:

  • Liability for your injuries
  • The extent of your injuries
  • Financial losses caused by your injuries

This can be presented in several forms including:

  • CCTV or similar recordings
  • Witnesses (whose contact details you could collect)
  • Pictures taken of the cause of injury
  • An independent medical report of your injury
  • Receipts of your spending or payslips showing your affected income

Starting a claim late could potentially make it harder to gather these types of evidence and can harm your chances of success.

If you have questions about the time limit in personal injury claims, or want to learn more about the time limits that may apply to you, then please reach out to a member of our team for free legal advice.

I Suffered A Personal Injury At Work – Am I Owed Sick Pay?

If you suffered a personal injury at work and need to take time off to recover, you may be able to receive sick pay. However, this will depend on your contract and whether your employer offers this.

Alternatively, you may be eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You could receive up to £109.40 per week in SSP. This is paid to you by your employer for up to 28 weeks. To be eligible to receive SSP, you would need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer.
  • Have been off work for at least 4 days in a row, including non-working days.
  • Earn an average of at least £123 per week.

If you make a successful personal injury claim, you could also be compensated for your loss of earnings under special damages. We’ll look at special damages and how compensation is awarded later in this guide.

Contact our advisors to learn more about seeking compensation for the way your injuries have affected you. They can also discuss the time limit on personal injury claims in more detail.

Accident At Work Compensation Amounts

If you suffered due to a work place injury, you might be interested to learn how compensation could be awarded in a successful claim. In this section, we examine injury at work compensation.

You may have used our compensation calculator to estimate how much your injuries could be worth. However, a calculator may not be able to consider all aspects of your claim when providing a figure. For example, some claims include special damages, which we look at shortly.

General Damages

To compensate for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, you will be awarded general damages if your injury at work claim is successful. When assigning value to this element of a personal injury claim, legal professionals use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them. The JCG lists injuries in varying severities alongside compensation brackets.

In our table below, we’ve provided a selection of potential injuries you could suffer at work with compensation brackets from the JCG. It is not representative of what your claim could be worth and is provided for guidance only.

Neck InjurySevere (i)Severe neck injury usually associated with incomplete paraplegia, that could result in severe headaches with little neck movement.In the region of
Arm InjurySevereInjury will be extremely serious and just short of amputation, such as a severe brachial plexus injury.£96,160 to £130,930
Hand InjurySeriousThe hand's capacity is reduced to 50%, potentially due to the fingers being amputated.£29,000 to £61,910
Leg InjurySeriousSerious fractures, joint injuries or ligament issues that result in instability, prolonged treatment and extensive scarring.£39,200 to £54,830
Elbow Injury(A)Severely disabling elbow injury.£39,170 to £54,830
Wrist Injury(B)A wrist injury resulting in permanent disability but some useful movement will still remain.£24,500 to £39,170
Back InjuryModerate (ii)A soft tissue injury that accelerated an existing condition by by 5+ years. Or backache caused by the muscles and ligaments being disturbed.£12,510 to £27,760
Back InjuryMinor (i)Short-term or temporary back injuries such as sprains and strains. A full recovery will be made within 2-5 years.£7,890 to £12,510
Knee InjuryModerate (ii)Injuries that result in weakness and mild disabilities, such as dislocation or a torn meniscus.Up to £13,740
Shoulder InjuryModerateThe shoulder will be frozen, and symptoms will last for about two years. Or, there will be soft tissue injuries with persistent symptoms for longer than 2 years.£7,890 to £12,770

Special Damages

As stated above, some claims may include special damages. Under special damages, you could be compensated for any expenses incurred due to your injuries. It is likely you will need to submit proof of your costs, such as receipts.

Examples of special damages that might be recovered include:

  • Medical expenses, such as plastic surgery or therapy required to cope with your injury.
  • Loss of earnings, including present and future earnings as well as pension contributions and missed bonuses.
  • Home adaptions, such as fitting a ramp and railings or a stairlift.

If you would prefer, our advisors can value your claim for free. They can discuss your individual circumstances and what costs you may have incurred to cope with your injuries. Call on the number at the top of the screen to find out more.

No Win No Fee Accident At Work Claims

When making a claim for a work injury, you may want to consider legal representation. One of our accident at work solicitors could help you with your claim be offering their years of experience and knowledge. They may also offer to represent you under a specific type of No Win No Fee agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement.

There are many benefits of being represented with a No Win No Fee agreement, such as:

  • You are usually not expected to pay anything upfront for your solicitor to begin working on your claim.
  • If the claim is successful, you will pay your solicitor a success fee from your compensation. The amount that your solicitor can take as a success fee is capped by law.
  • However, if the claim fails, you will not be expected to pay your solicitor for their services.

Contact our advisors today if you have any questions concerning your potential claim. If they believe that you may be eligible for compensation, they could connect you with our work injury solicitors.

To contact our experts, call us today on 0800 073 8804 for a free consultation. We can tell you whether you’re within the time limit for accident at work claims to how much compensation you could be eligible for. You can also contact Legal Expert and start your work accident claims process by using our online contact form or sending an email.

Thank you for reading our guide to work accident claims and the time limit for accident at work claims.

Useful Links

Below, you can find a list of guides and other resources which may tell you more about accident at work claims:

Reporting Accidents And Incidents In The Workplace
Guidelines from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for how to report accidents and incidents in the workplace.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.