What Is the Time Limit For Car Accident Claims?

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Car Accident Claim Time Limits Explained

Is there a time limit to file a claim for a car accident?

By Olivia Jones. Last Updated 23rd March 2021. 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.

Below you can read our guide to the personal accident claim time limits in the UK, or call us today on 0800 073 8804 for free legal advice or to get your claim started.

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Make A Claim

car accident claim time limit

car accident claim time limit

Car and motor vehicle accidents can be complex and difficult claims to make. The car accident claim time limit is the standard three year period within which people can make accident claims in the UK. This is the same limitation period as medical negligence, public liability and accident at work claims.

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 using data from the Department of Transport shows that there’s been a general downward trend of casualties in RTAs since 1979. However, in 2019 there were still over 150,000 casualties in reported road accidents. If any of these injured parties allowed their three-year limitation to pass, they’d no longer be eligible to claim for their injuries.

car accident claim time limit statistics graph

car accident claim time limit statistics graph

Car Accident Claim Time Limit UK

The personal injury claim limitation period is typically three years in the UK, though the extension of the limitation period for personal injury claims is possible in certain circumstances. The three-year time limit period applies to the vast majority of car accident claims in the UK. however, if the injuries did not immediately present, the three year period can also begin when the injuries are discovered, which is referred to as the ‘date of discovery’.

Court Proceedings And Car Accident Claim Time Limits

All personal injury claims in the UK, 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.

Extension Of The Limitation Period For Personal Injury Claims

Whilst car accident claim time limits in the UK are three years there are exceptional circumstances where you may be able to make a compensation claim. These are;

  1. If the injuries you sustained did not immediately present after the accident. Some car accident claim injuries may present later. The date of limitation will then begin from the ‘date of knowledge’ when the injury was discovered. However, most injuries will present within a brief period of time, if not immediately.
  2. Injuries sustained by people under the age of 18 do not have to make the claim straight away. A parent, guardian or another suitable adult may be able to make a claim on their behalf. However, the claim can be left until the child has become eighteen. The new date of limitation will be the claimant’s 21st birthday (a three year period).
  3. Claimant’s who are deemed to lack the mental capacity needed to understand and make a claim, there will not be any date of limitation. These people are free to make a claim at any point in the future.

Average car accident claim payouts (Updated March 2021)

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 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.

Car Accident Statistics In The UK
View the latest car accident statistics for the UK.

Making a claim for an accident that wasn’t your fault

Citizen’s advice on making legal proceedings after a road traffic accident.

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.

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