What Is the Time Limit For Car Accident Claims?

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Car Accident Claim Time Limits Explained

By Daniel Archer. Last Updated 9th May 2022. Welcome to our car accident claim time limit guide. In the UK there are limitations on when and how you can make a personal injury claim, including a personal injury claim limitation period. If you need to make a car accident claim, talk to the accident claims specialists at Legal Expert today.

In this guide, we’ll clarify what time limits apply if you have grounds to start a car accident claim. We’ll also explain circumstances where the time limit may work differently. In addition to this, we will talk you through the process of starting this type of claim. This guide also takes a look at compensation estimates for different injuries you may claim for following a car accident. Furthermore, we explain the advantages of claiming for a car accident with a No Win No Fee solicitor.

Below you can read the rest of our guide to the personal accident claim time limits in the UK. For more information, you can call our advisors for free on 0800 073 8804. You can also get advice online by either using our contact form or our 24/7 live chat service.

Select A Section

  1. How Long After A Car Accident Can You Make A Claim? 
  2. Car Insurance Claim Time Limit in the UK
  3. Court Proceedings And Car Accident Claim Time Limits
  4. Making Car Accident Claims Close To The Three Year Time Limit
  5. Car Accident Claim Time Limits For Children
  6. Further Information On The Car Accident Claim Time Limit
  7. Average car accident claim payouts
  8. No Win No Fee Car Accident Claims
  9. How Legal Expert Can Help With Car Accident Claims
  10. Useful Links 
  11. Car Accident Claim Time Limit FAQs

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Make A Claim

car accident claim time limit

car accident claim time limit

As standard, the car accident claim time limit is three years from when the incident took place. This is the same limitation period as the one applied to other personal injury claims such as medical negligence, pavement accidents and accident at work claims. If your injuries could not be diagnosed until a later date, then the time limit will start from when they could be identified. Once the time limit begins, you’ll have three years to start your claim.

Common car accident claims can involve whiplash, head, neck, back and chest trauma as well as other injuries The resulting injuries may last only a few day or week, but for other people, symptoms and injuries may last for a month, a year or even be permanent. Accident claim and personal injury claims are subject to a time limit, called a ‘date of limitation’. Typically, personal injury claims must be made within a three year period from the date of the accident or the date of discovery of the injury.

The graph below is data provided by the Department for Transport. They report road traffic accident casualties in Great Britain. As you can see below, from January to June 2021, there were 55,390 reported casualties from accidents on the road. As the car insurance claim time limit is three years, if an injured party attempted to claim after this limitation period, they would most likely be unable to.

car accident claim time limit statistics graph

car accident claim time limit statistics graph

Car Insurance Claim Time Limit In The UK

You may be wondering, “what is the car insurance claim time limit in the UK?” The personal injury claim limitation period is typically three years from the date of the accident, though the extension of the limitation period for personal injury claims is possible in certain circumstances.

If the injuries did not immediately present, the three year period can also begin when the injuries are discovered as being caused by negligence, which is referred to as the ‘date of knowledge’.

However, regarding Scotland, the limitation period may differ. To learn more about the car insurance claim time limit for Scotland or if you just have further questions, please contact us at a time that works for you.

Court Proceedings And Car Accident Claim Time Limits

Most personal injury claims, such as car accident claims, become statute-barred after a three year period. This means that unless the claim has started and reached the court, or have met one of the criteria above, claimants will not be able to bring the claim to court.

The law states that by the time the three-year car accident claim time limit has ended, the claim will need to have been settled (with the personal injury compensation paid to the victim), or, the court case will need to have begun. Please note, any court cases must have started before the statute of limitation ends. This is detailed under section 11 of the ‘Limitation Act 1980

Making Car Accident Claims Close To The Three Year Time Limit

Many people ask if it is possible to claim for an accident after three years, generally, the answer will be no. However, even when you are close to the time limit, you still may not be able to successfully make a personal injury claim. This is because of the car accident claim time limit for personal injury claims.

Some parts of making a personal injury claim, such as a car accident claim can take several months to complete, making it impossible to complete within the given time. Claims can often take between four and thirty-six months to complete, as such, it is advisable to start your claim as soon as possible. If you are close to your date of limitation, you may find it difficult to find a solicitor to work on your claim. If your limitation period has passed, you will not be able to make a car accident claim.

Car Accident Claim Time Limits For Children

Children can be an exception to the usual three-year personal injury claim time limits. Child personal injury settlements can be brought by a parent, guardian or other adults before the child’s 18th birthday. However, the claim can be left for the child to make themselves. Any claim which is brought on behalf of a child must go through the courts. Court rules in the UK state that child personal injury claim awards must be listed before a County Court judge who will decide the amount of the award. This is designed as part of the overall system to protect children.

Further Information On The Car Accident Time Limit

Whilst we have explained generally how long after a car accident you can claim, it’s also important to know when and how these time limits can work slightly differently.

Whilst it is true that when making a claim against a driver’s insurance, the claim time limit is generally 3 years, this can sometimes be extended. Below, we’ve included the main examples of when the personal injury claims time limit can be longer than 3 years from the date of the accident.

  • Date of knowledge – In some scenarios, it’s possible that you could only become aware that your injuries were related to negligence at a date later than the accident that caused them. If so, then the three years may start from this point.
  • Child injury claims – Anyone under the age of 18 is not permitted to represent themselves in a claim. Before they reach adulthood, their claim can only be made on their behalf by an appointed litigation friend. For example, this could be a parent or guardian. Additionally, the 3-year limit does not apply until the child turns 18. Before this date, their time limit is frozen.
  • Claims on behalf of those whose mental capacity is reduced – The rules here are similar to those regarding child claims. A litigation friend must be appointed to make a claim on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to do so. The 3-year time limit only applies once the claimant’s mental capacity reaches a stage where they can make their own claim. Before then, it is suspended.

Get in touch if you have any questions. We can tell you whether you are still within your window of eligibility to make a claim.

Average car accident claim payouts

Below, you’ll find a table containing the average compensation amounts for some of the most common car accident injuries. These figures should only be used as a guide, as actual payouts will vary based on the severity of the injury and any special damages awarded.

Type of injury Amount Description
Neck injuries (Severe) In the region of £139,210Injuries associated with incomplete paraplegia or where the injured person has little to no movement in the neck after a period of years will attract this amount.
Neck injuries (Severe) £61,710 to £122,860Injuries involving severe fractures or damage to discs in the spine which give rise to disabilities of a considerable severity will attract payments of this amount.
Neck injuries (Severe) £42,680 to £52,540Severe damage to soft tissue, fractures, dislocations and ruptured tendons that lead to permanent significant disabilities will attract payments of this bracket.
Neck injuries (Moderate) £7,410 to £36,120Moderate soft tissue damage, chronic conditions, serious limitation of movement, exacerbation of pre-existing conditions and vulnerability to further trauma can all attract payouts of this bracket.
Neck injuries (Minor) Up to £7,410Awareded where the injuries have affected the injured person's ability to work, socialise and function in everyday life, but a full receovery is made within three months to two years.
Leg injuries (Severe) £36,790 to £127,530Awarded in cases where there have been serious compount fractures resulting in instability and prolonged treatment and non-weight bearing, permanent problems with mobility or severe deformity. In the most serious cases, the leg will be little better off than if an amputation had been peformed.
Leg injuries (Moderate) £26,050 to £36,790Awarded to cases with multiple fractures or severe crushing injuries, usually to a single limb. There may be limited joint movement, degenerative changes and an increased vulnerability to damage in the future.
Leg injuries (Less serious) Up to £26,050Includes fractures and soft tissue injuries. Payments at the top of the bracket will be awarded where an incomplete recovery has been made.
Multiple fractures of facial bones £13,970 to £22,470Involving permanent facial deformity.
Fractures of nose or nasal complex (Serious) £9,990 to £21,700Injuries at this level will require numerous operations . May result in permanent damage to the airways, damage to the tear ducts and nerves and facial deformity
Fractures of nose or nasal complex (Less serious) £3,710 to £4,790Injuries in this bracket may include displaced fracture where a complete recovery is only possible after surgery
Fractures of nose or nasal complex (Moderate) £2,370 to £2,960Injuries in this bracket might include a displaced fracture where only manipulation is requried
Fractures of nose or nasal complex (Minor) £1,600 to £2,370Simple undisplaced fracture with full recovery

No Win No Fee Car Accident Claims

No Win No Fee is a special type of legal contract. They are commonly used between personal injury solicitors and their client, and their technical name is a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ (CFA).

Conditional Fee Agreements form the basis of the relationship between a solicitor and client, setting out the terms and conditions of the services which will be provided. It will also detail what the solicitor will do for the client and when, how, and if the solicitor will be paid. It will stipulate that the solicitor will only be paid in the event of a ‘win’.

The No Win No Fee agreement means that clients don’t have to pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. The way your solicitor will be paid is also set out in the agreement. No Win No Fee agreements were designed to help relieve what can sometimes be an additional burden after the costs of a personal injury. At Legal Expert, the panel of solicitors we work with across the UK won’t ask for any upfront fees or charge you any hidden costs either. Start your car accident claim today by talking to Legal Expert.

How Legal Expert Can Help With Car Accident Claims

At Legal Expert, we work with specialist legal car accident solicitors from across the country to bring personal injury claims cases and win compensation within the car accident claim time limit. Our dedicated personal injury lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help people make a successful car accident claim, getting the compensation award they deserve. We can provide you with all the legal help and advice needed after a car accident. For further information, talk to our dedicated personal injury experts today. You can call us on 0800 073 8804. You can also contact us by sending a detailed email, or by using our contact form.

Useful Links

Car Accident Compensation Claims

Find out how to make a successful car accident compensation claim with our detailed guide.

Whiplash Compensation Calculator

Our guide to claiming whiplash.

Motorcycle Accident Claims

You can read this guide to learn more about claiming for motorcycle accidents.

Bus Accident Claims

In this guide, we explain how you could potentially claim compensation if you’re injured in a bus accident.

Car Accident Statistics In The UK

View the latest car accident statistics for the UK.

The Highway Code

This section of the UK Government website allows you to read through the sections of the Highway Code.

How To Claim Through The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or untraced driver, you could potentially claim through the MIB. You can visit the organisation’s website to learn more about how filing a claim through the MIB works.

Other Personal Injury Claims Guides

Car Accident Claim Time Limit FAQs

In this section, we’ll answer some car accident claim time limit questions briefly.

Can I make a personal injury claim after 3 years?

Personal injury claims have a 3-year time limit, which runs from the date the accident occurred. So you may be ineligible if you wait too long before making your claim.

How long does it take to get paid after a settlement?

This depends. If your case is fairly uncomplicated and there’s no dispute over liability, your claim could be settled within a matter of months. More complicated claims, or ones in which there’s an argument over who’s at fault, may take longer.

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

You may be able to make a claim if you were partly to blame for an accident. A contributory negligence payout will take into account that you’re partly to blame and your compensation will reflect this.

Can I claim for anxiety after a car accident?

It is possible to claim for anxiety after an accident. If your anxiety isn’t in conjunction with any physical injuries, it needs to be severe enough to be classed as psychiatric damage in order for a claim to be made.

What is the average settlement for a minor car accident?

There’s no one-size-fits-all payout for an accident of any severity. The amount you receive will depend on your injuries, how severe they are and how they’ve affected your daily life.

Can you claim for an accident in which someone lost their life?

Yes, you can make a claim if your loved one has passed away in a car accident. The claim should be made within three years of the accident taking place.

How long do I have to claim against an uninsured or untraced driver?

The three year limitation period still applies to those claiming for an accident with an uninsured driver, or one who couldn’t be traced. These claims will be processed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

Is the accident claims time limit the same for children?

If your child was injured in an accident, and you haven’t claimed for them by the time they reach the age of 18, then they have 3 years from the date of their 18th birthday to pursue their own claim.

What is the UK car insurance claim time limit?

If you are involved in a car accident or another kind of road traffic accident in your own car, then you should inform your insurance company about it as soon as possible. It’s worth checking your policy to confirm the maximum time limit for claiming on your insurance, as it can vary between policies.

Can I Claim For An Accident After 3 Years?

You may be able to but only in certain circumstances. If, for example, you were injured as a child, you have three years from the date of your eighteenth birthday to begin claims proceedings if nobody’s already done so on your behalf. This means that you may have longer than 3 years after the accident to claim.

The time limit is frozen if you lack the mental capacity to claim. 

How Long Does A Claim Stay On Your Insurance?

This partly depends on your insurer. You would need to contact your insurer to confirm how long the claim would remain on your policy. 

How Long Does An Insurance Claim Take?

It depends on the complexity of your case and other mitigating circumstances, such as if the road user or driver is willing to accept liability for the accident. If they aren’t, it can take longer as it can sometimes result in your case going to court. 

Thank you for reading our guide about the car accident claim time limit.

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