Time Limit For Personal Injury Claims

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What Is The Limitation Period In Personal Injury Claims?

By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 29th September 2023. Do you have evidence of someone causing you injury after breaching the duty of care they owed you? If so, you may have grounds to seek compensation. However, there is a limitation period in personal injury claims.

Our guide will look at how long you have to put forward your case. The time limit may vary depending on the circumstances under which you’re making your claim. For that reason, we will highlight how the limitation period for personal injury can change based on the circumstances surrounding your claim.

What is the limitation period in personal injury claims guide

What is the limitation period in personal injury claims?

For instance, did you sustain an injury abroad that wasn’t your fault? Did someone cause you physical or psychological harm in an act of violence? Perhaps a school failed to provide a duty of care to your child, causing them to suffer harm?

As you can see, there are various scenarios in which you or someone you know could have been injured. Our guide aims to explore how the time limit may change depending on the nature of your case. Furthermore, we will also show how the Limitation Act 1980 and personal injury claims relate to one another and how that is important when claiming.

However, if you have any questions whilst or after reading, our advisors are available to help. Contact them using the following details:

  • Telephone number – 0800 073 8804
  • The contact form – fill out your details and an advisor will call you back
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Please read on to learn more about the personal injury claims time limit.

Select A Section

  1. Time Limit For Personal Injury Claims
  2. Personal Injury Claim Limitation Periods
  3. Limitation Periods For Child Injury Claims
  4. Fatal Injury Claim Limitation Period
  5. Is There A Time Limit On Holiday Accident Claims?
  6. What If I Did Not Start My Claim In Time?
  7. Personal Injury Compensation Claims Calculator
  8. Limitation Periods For No Win No Fee Claims
  9. Essential References

Time Limit For Personal Injury Claims

If you’re eligible to make a claim, it’s recommended you start as soon as possible as there is a time limit for personal injury claims. You may be asking, ‘how long after an accident can you claim?’. Generally, there is a 3-year time limit to start your personal injury claim. The 3-year time limit to starting your claim begins from the time of your injury.

Sometimes, you may not be immediately aware of the negative impact a negligent act has on your health. For instance, if you’ve been continuously exposed to unsafe noise levels, you may not know when you were injured. In such cases, the time limit can count from the time of knowledge of your injury.

There can be exceptions to the time frame within which you are expected to start a claim. These exceptions are found in the Limitation Act 1980 and are discussed in the next section of this guide. Read on to understand when the time limits to personal injury claims could be suspended.

Examples of personal injury accidents

In order to put forward a valid claim, it must meet the three requirements of negligence that are:

  • Someone owed you a duty of care
  • Someone breached this duty of care, causing an incident or accident
  • You sustained injuries as a result

If you’re unsure whether negligence occurred in your accident, here are some examples to help you:

  • An employee suffering stress at work due to continued discrimination in the workplace, even after informing their employer who failed to act on it.
  • A car crashing into the back of another car after failing to slow down at a set of traffic lights causing the driver who was hit to sustain a fractured kneecap.

In these examples, the employer breached their duty of care to protect the employee’s safety and wellbeing resulting in psychological injury. Similarly, the driver owed all other road users reasonable care by driving with standard caution and skill but failed to do so, resulting in the other driver suffering physical harm.

The limitation period for personal injury would apply to incidents such as the two listed above. This means that the claimant would still need to begin claims proceedings within the required time limit.

Personal Injury Claim Limitation Periods

As we have discussed, the UK time limit for personal injury claims is typically three years from the date that the accident happened. However, there can be exceptions made in certain circumstances.

For example, if the claimant is under 18, they’ll have 3 years from when they turn 18 to take action. Before this point, the time limit is frozen and a litigation friend can claim on their behalf.

The limitation period also differs for someone who lacks the mental capacity to claim. The 3 year time limit is frozen unless they regain their mental capacity. If they never do, the time limit will be permanently suspended. A litigation friend may claim on their behalf.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know any additional information on the limitation for personal injury claims. Our advice is free, and we’re available to speak to 24/7. We can answer any questions, including, ‘how long can a personal injury claim stay open?’.

Limitation Periods For Child Injury Claims

If you have evidence that someone who owed your child a duty of care caused their injuries through negligence, you could make a personal injury claim on the child’s behalf.

The following are examples of how a child could be injured by someone else’s negligence:

  • The owner of a children’s indoor play centre failing to remove or reduce hazards they noticed on the premises. As a result, this caused a child to sustain a minor head injury after tripping over a known hazard in the centre.
  • Someone under the age of 18 sustaining an ankle fracture after falling from a faulty ladder at work. This resulted from their employer failing to check the safety of the equipment they provided employees.

For anyone under the age of 18, the limitation period for personal injury doesn’t start until their 18th birthday. However, before this point, someone could apply to act as a litigation friend and make the claim on their behalf.

Fatal Injury Claim Limitation Periods

If someone has been involved in a fatal accident due to someone else’s negligence, the estate could pursue legal action. Some examples of fatal accidents caused by negligence might include:

  • Someone suffering from a fatal allergic reaction after a restaurant provided incorrect information on the allergens in their food.
  • An employee sustaining a fatal head injury after their employer failed to provide them with a hard hat, though it was necessary, and asked them to work regardless.

Generally, as per Section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980, the person claiming will have three years from the date of death.

However, this may differ in other circumstances. For instance, if an inquest into the cause of death is carried out, the date of knowledge may apply.

For further details on the options you have, please get in touch with an advisor on the number at the top of the page. They can answer any queries you have about the personal injury claims time limit.

Is There A Time Limit On Holiday Accident Claims?

The time limit for holiday accident claims may vary depending on the specific nature of your case. For instance, if a personal injury claim is made against a UK-based company such as one offering package holidays, the time limit is generally three years.

A few examples of accident claims made against a package holiday company might include the following:

  • A guest sustaining a soft tissue injury after slipping because a spillage wasn’t attended to in a hotel picked by the package holiday company
  • Someone suffering from severe food poisoning after eating in the unhygienic hotel restaurant
  • Sustaining a fracture in an unsafe activity that was pre-arranged by the package holiday company

However, in other cases where your accident didn’t happen in relation to a UK-based company, the time limit may vary. For instance, if you slipped in a shop or suffered an allergic reaction in a restaurant abroad, the time limit in place in the country you had the accident will apply. This could also be the case regarding other types of claims abroad, such as medical negligence claims. The time limit may be  dependent on the country where the accident occurred.

Furthermore, if your accident happened on an international flight, you’ll have two years as per the Montreal Convention 1999.

As you can see, the limitation period for holiday accident claims varies depending on many factors and isn’t necessarily always the general 3-year limitation period in personal injury claims. So, if you require further help and advice, speak to a member of our advisors on the number above. If you have any questions about what the general limitation for personal injury claims is, we can help

What If I Did Not Start My Claim In Time?

We understand any injury or illness caused by someone else’s negligence can have a serious impact on your life. Especially if you’ve suffered life-changing injuries. For that reason, there may be some instances where the time limit to put forward your claim has expired.

However, you may be able to ask for an extension of the time limit. The court will then consider the evidence that you acted as swiftly as reasonably possible.

Under Section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980, the court will need to set aside the time limits for personal injury claims where it’s equitable to do so. For instance, you may have been in the hospital for a long time whilst recovering from severe injuries which prevented you from submitting your claim on time.

There may be other cases where an extension applies. For more information on the limitation period in personal injury, contact our advisors and they can provide further help and advice.

Personal Injury Compensation Claims Calculator

As part of your potential personal injury claim, you could have the right to seek compensation for your injuries plus any financial losses incurred as a result of the injuries.

Compensation for your physical or psychological injuries may be awarded under general damages. Several factors will be considered when valuing your claim, including the:

  • Severity of your injury
  • Long term impact
  • Impact on your quality of life

However, in order to accurately calculate how much compensation you could be awarded for your injuries, you will need to provide evidence. This may be in the form of medical evidence such as doctor reports that detail the treatment, diagnosis and/or medication you were prescribed.

Furthermore, as part of the claims process, you may be required to attend an independent medical assessment that can provide a report on your current state. This can be particularly helpful if you’re claiming a while after you sustained harm. It can provide an understanding of how the injury has impacted you long term and how it may have affected your quality of life.

The report could also act to prove that your injuries were caused or worsened by the incident. If it doesn’t prove this, you may find it difficult to claim.

Calculating General Damages

In addition to the evidence, your claim may be valued alongside the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a document that provides recommended compensation figures for personal injury claims and is often used to help value injuries.

We have used figures from the JCG to create a compensation table to give you an idea of how much your claim could be worth. The table includes injuries you may have sustained in various types of personal injury accidents. It doesn’t include tariffs for applications made to the CICA or the AFCS.

Moderate Shoulder Injuries (c)Moderate: A shoulder injury that's moderate in nature such as frozen shoulder causing discomfort and issues with movement.£7,890 to £12,770
Wrist Injuries (e)A Colles' fracture that's simple in nature.In the region of £7,430
Modest Foot Injuries (g)Ruptured ligament causing ongoing issues.Up to £13,740
Toe Injuries (a)Injuries leading to the amputation of all toes.£36,520 to £56,080
Moderate Knee Injuries (ii) Examples of injuries might include laceration, twisting or bruising.Up to £13,740
Less serious Leg Injuries (iii)A tibia or fibula fracture that's simple in nature or soft tissue injuries.Up to
Arm Injuries (b)Injuries resulting in permanent and substantial disablement such as serious fractures of one or both forearms.£39,170 to £59,860

Finger Injuries (j)A fracture to the index finger.£9,110 to £12,240

It’s important to note that you should only use the figures as a guide, as your actual compensation settlement will vary.

If you can’t see your injuries in the compensation table above, why not use our compensation calculator? Alternatively, you can call our advisors who can provide a free valuation service of your injuries.

Can I seek compensation for financial losses?

It may be possible for you to seek compensation for any financial losses incurred as a result of your injuries.

For instance, if you have been unable to work either permanently or temporarily, you could claim back any loss of earnings. These may be claimed under special damages. Other financial losses might include:

  • Cost of care, for yourself or someone else dependant on you
  • Travel expenses
  • Medical expenses, such as counselling the NHS couldn’t cover for psychological injuries

You would need to claim within the limitation period for personal injury to potentially receive this head of claim, as with general damages. You will also need evidence to prove any financial losses, such as receipts or payslips.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that not every claim will incur financial losses. For that reason, they will be calculated separately to general damages. While this can greatly increase the amount of compensation you receive, please bear in mind that if you don’t receive general damages compensation, you wouldn’t be eligible to receive compensation for financial losses.

Limitation Periods For No Win No Fee Claims

Now that you have read this article and know whether your personal injury claim is in the limitation period, our expert solicitors could assist you on a No Win No Fee basis. Essentially, this is a type of arrangement where you are offered a Conditional Fee Agreement.

The benefits of this type of No Win No Fee agreement usually include:

If your claim succeeds you’ll pay a success fee. In this case, your solicitor will take a percentage of your compensation. However, to avoid excess charges, the percentage they can take is restricted as per the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013

If you are interested in working with one of our specialist No Win No Fee solicitors, all you need to do is speak with our advisors. They can evaluate your claim for free, and may connect you with a solicitor

Below are just some of the ways you can reach out to arrange your consultation:

Essential References

Use the useful links below to learn more about what the general limitation for personal injury claims is and how you could receive compensation.

Did you sustain an injury after a slip or trip caused by the council’s negligence? If so, our guide could help.

For further details on making an accident at work claim, see our guide.

See our guide on whiplash claims after a road traffic accident.

Visit the government guide on claiming compensation after an accident.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents can provide information on preventing accidents in the workplace, on the road, in public and at home.

The NHS can help if you require any medical advice on injuries you’ve sustained.

Further Helpful Guides

Thank you for reading our guide exploring the limitation period in personal injury claims. If you have further questions about the personal injury claims time limit, please contact us for free legal advice.

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      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.