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Car Accident Claim Time Limits Explained

By Cat Way. Last Updated 4th October 2023. 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.

car accident claim time limit

car accident claim time limit

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. Can I Claim For An Accident After 3 Years
  3. How Long After A Car Accident Can You Claim On Insurance In The UK?
  4. Car Accident Compensation Examples
  5. Evidence Needed For Motor Accident Claims
  6. Claim For An Accident In A Car With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  7. Useful Links 

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Make A Claim?

All valid car accident claims must be started within the relevant limitation period. The Limitation Act 1980 states that the personal injury claims time limit is three years from the date that the accident occurred. There are certain exceptions to this time limit, which we will explain later in this guide.

However, to be able to make a personal injury claim for a car accident, you must be able to meet the relevant eligibility criteria. This is:

  1. Another road user must have owed you a duty of care.
  2. This road user breached their duty of care.
  3. Due to this, you suffered an injury in a road traffic accident.

Road users must adhere to the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Highway Code as part of their duty of care. Per their duty of care, they must also navigate the roads in a way that avoids causing harm to themselves and others. If another road user were to fail to adhere to this duty of care, this could cause a road traffic accident, and you could become injured.

To find out if you are eligible to make a personal injury claim and are within the time limit, you can contact our advisors.

Can I Claim For An Accident After 3 Years?

As we mentioned earlier, you have three years to start your personal injury claim under the Limitation Act. However, if your case falls outside of this time limit, you may still be able to make a claim for car accident compensation. This is because there are some exceptions to this time limit.

For example, the time limit is frozen for those who are injured while under the age of 18 and isn’t reinstated until they reach their 18th birthday. Then, it runs until they turn 21. If you are injured while under the age of 18, a litigation friend can start your claim on your behalf at any time while the time limit is frozen.

Similarly, the time limit is suspended indefinitely for those who lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves. In these cases, a litigation friend can claim on their behalf. If they regain the appropriate mental capacity, then the time limit will be reinstated on the date of their recovery.

Contact our team of advisors today to learn more. They can evaluate your claim for free and can answer any questions you may have, such as “How long after a car accident can you claim compensation?”

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Claim On Insurance In The UK?

The time limit for a claim such as this depends on your insurance provider; as such, the best way to find out how long you have to claim for damage to your car would be to contact your insurance provider.

However, if you were injured in a car accident, then you could also make a personal injury claim. As we have already mentioned in the section above, the personal injury claims time limit is set out by the Limitation Act 1980, which states that you will generally have three years to start a claim for compensation. However, there are certain exceptions that apply to this limitation period.

For more information on claiming for a car accident, contact our team of advisors today. They can answer questions such as “How long after a car accident can you claim on your insurance in the UK?” and “Who is eligible to claim compensation?” Following this, they can evaluate your claim, and if it is valid, they may connect you with a solicitor.

Car Accident Compensation Examples

Now that we’ve discussed how long after a car accident you can claim for damage in the UK, we’ll explore personal injury compensation in car accident claims. You can receive up to two heads of claim if your case is successful; these are general damages and special damages.

All successful claimants receive general damages. This head of compensation addresses your injuries and the pain and suffering they cause you. When legal professionals value this head of the claim, they can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) as a reference.

Type of injury Description Amount
Back Injuries (Severe i)Pain and discomfort with incomplete paralysis following the nerve roots or spinal cord being severely damaged.£91,090 to £160,980
Arm InjuriesOne of both forearms have suffered serious fractures that will result in a functional or cosmetic disability.£39,170 to £59,860
Arm InjuriesA significant degree of recovery has or is expected to take place following an injury that caused serious disabilities. £19,200 to £39,170
Neck injuries (Severe iii) Severe damage to soft tissue, fractures, dislocations and ruptured tendons that lead to permanent significant disabilities.£45,470 to £55,990
Neck injuries (Moderate iii) Moderate soft tissue damage or an injury that has accelerated a pre-existing condition by 5 years.£7,890 to £13,740
Leg injuries (Moderate iv) 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. £27,760 to £39,200
Leg injuries (Less serious i) An incomplete recovery is made from a fracture. The person may also be left with a limp or defective gait.£17,960 to £27,760
Skeletal InjuriesMultiple facial bones have been fractured, which results in a permanent facial deformity.£14,900 to £23,950
Fractures of nose or nasal complex (i) Injuries at this level will require numerous operations. May also result in permanent damage to the airways, damage to the tear ducts and nerves and a facial deformity.£10,640 to £23,130
Whiplash TariffFor this tariff, the claimant suffers a whiplash injury alongside a minor psychological injury with symptoms lasting between 18-24 months.£4,345
Whiplash TariffFor this tariff, the claimant suffers with a whiplash injury. The symptoms last 18-24 months.£4,215

Special damages address the financial costs you incur as a result of your injuries. For example, under this heading, you may be able to claim back the cost of:

  • Lost earnings
  • Prescriptions
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Childcare
  • Help with housekeeping 
  • Travel 

In order to claim under this heading, you must be able to prove your losses. To learn more about what you could receive for a personal injury after making a successful road traffic accident claim, contact our team today.

What Is The Whiplash Reform Programme?

The Whiplash Reform Programme has changed how certain claims are made for road traffic accidents in England and Wales. The reforms apply to those aged 18 and over, who suffered injuries valued at £5,000 or less as a driver or passenger in a vehicle. This includes minor soft tissue injuries and whiplash.

Your whiplash injury will be valued in line with the tariff set out in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. Any other additional injuries you may have suffered in a car accident that are not covered by this tariff will be valued traditionally.

You can get in touch with our advisors to discuss whiplash claims using the contact information at the top of this page. They could also offer you free advice for your personal injury claim.

Evidence Needed For Motor Accident Claims

A very important part of the car accident claim process is gathering evidence. This way, you can prove that your injuries were caused by the negligence of another road user.

For all UK claims, a car crash may present differing opportunities for evidence. In other words, not all circumstances will be the same. However, we have compiled a short list of possible examples:

  • Dashcam/CCTV footage – If there is clear video evidence of the incident, then this can be difficult to dispute.
  • Photographs – Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and of any physical injuries.
  • Contact information for witnesses – If anyone saw the accident, then make sure you have a way of reaching them so they can submit a statement if they agree to do so.
  • Medical evidence – Your medical records will contain information on your injuries and any treatment you receive.

If you want to make a car crash settlement claim and want to know more about evidence or any other aspect of a claim, get in touch with our advisors today.

Claim For An Accident In A Car With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

If you have strong grounds to make a claim for an accident in a car, then you could seek help from a solicitor. If you speak to our advisors about your claim, then they may connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

One of our No Win No Fee solicitors may offer to support your car accident claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). With this agreement in place, you won’t need to pay your solicitor any upfront or ongoing fees for their services. You also won’t need to pay for your solicitor’s services if your claim proves unsuccessful.

If your claim is a success, then the No Win No Fee solicitor who supported your claim will take a legally capped percentage from the compensation awarded to you. This is known as a success fee.

To learn more about claiming for a car accident with a No Win No Fee solicitor, get in touch with our advisors today. You can reach them by:

Useful Links

Below, you can find some useful links on car accident claims and the time limits involved when claiming compensation.

Other Personal Injury Claims Guides

We also have some other guides on car accident claims that you may find useful:

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

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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.