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What Is The Limitation Period In Personal Injury Claims?

Updated by Max Mitrovic on 6th April 2022. 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.

How Long After My Accident Could I Start A Personal Injury Claim?

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
  • Live chat – an advisor can provide you with instant advice

Please read on to learn more about the personal injury claims time limit.

Select A Section

  1. A Guide On The Limitation Period In Personal Injury Claims
  2. What Are Limitation Periods In Personal Injury Claims?
  3. Summary Of Limitation Periods In Personal Injury Claims
  4. When Are There Exceptions To The Three Year Rule?
  5. Limitation Periods For Child Injury Claims
  6. Fatal Injury Claim Limitation Period
  7. Is There A Time Limit On Holiday Accident Claims?
  8. How Long Do You Have To Make A Claim For Criminal Injuries?
  9. Time Limits For Medical Negligence Claims
  10. Time Limits For Applications To The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
  11. What If I Did Not Start My Claim In Time?
  12. Personal Injury Compensation Claims Calculator
  13. Limitation Periods For No Win No Fee Claims
  14. Speak To Us
  15. Essential References
  16. FAQs On Limitation Periods In Personal Injury Claims

A Guide On The Limitation Period In Personal Injury Claims

The main purpose of our guide is to provide details on the personal injury limitation period. However, it’s equally important that you’re aware of how to submit a claim.

For instance, you may be wondering about the evidence you need to support your claim and seek compensation. Therefore, we’ll explore this in our guide.

Furthermore, we’ll look at your options for claiming with the help of a solicitor. For instance, we consider how you could access legal representation under a No Win No Fee agreement.

If it’s something you want to consider further, we’ll look at the service our solicitors can offer. Additionally, we look at how our experienced solicitors could help you through the different stages of your claim.

Despite the legislation in place to outline the time limit, it can be complex. Although we’ve tried to provide enough information in our guide, we understand you may have questions.

Whether your queries relate to the medical negligence claims time limit or the general limitation for personal injury claims, we can help you. We provide free legal advice so contact us using the details above at a time that suits you.

What Are Limitation Periods In Personal Injury Claims?

When making a personal injury claim, there are time limits you should be aware of. Generally, you’ll have three years to put forward your claim. As per Section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980), this can either start from:

  • The date that the accident occurred
  • The date you gained knowledge that another party’s negligence at least contributed to your injuries

However, there are various exceptions to this. Please continue reading to find out more.

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.

Summary Of The Limitation Period In Personal Injury Claims

In order to answer the question ‘what are the limitation periods?’, we have created the table below to provide you with an overview.

What is the general time limit for someone making a personal injury claim?  
Three years either from the date of the accident or the date the person obtained knowledge that someone else's failings either caused or contributed to you suffering injuries.
Who suffered harm?How long do they have to claim?What are the exceptions?
Someone under the age of 183 years from the date of their 18th birthday to put forward a claim themselves, unless someone's already claimed on their behalf. 3 years is frozen until they turn 18. During that time, someone could apply to act as a litigation friend to claim on their behalf. This could be a parent, guardian, solicitor or other representative.
Someone who lacks the mental capacity but recovers3 years from the date of their recovery to claim for themselves, unless someone has already claimed on their behalf. 3 years is frozen until they regain their mental capacity. During that time a parent, guardian or solicitor could claim as a litigation friend.
Someone who lacks the mental capacity but doesn't recover3 years is frozen indefinitely and a parent, guardian or solicitor may claim on their behalf as a litigation friend.

Due to the complex nature of the time periods, we have provided further details in the following sections throughout our guide.

However, if you have any questions about how they may apply to your specific situation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

When Are There Exceptions To The Three Year Rule?

For general personal injury claims, you have three years to put forward a claim. However, there are exceptions to the personal injury claims time limit. For instance:

  • If the person is under the age of 18
  • If the person lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves

In these instances, someone can apply to act as a litigation friend and claim on their behalf. For example, a parent, guardian or solicitor could act as a litigation friend.

For anyone who lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves, the three years are paused. During this time, as per the Mental Health Act 1983, a litigation friend can act on their behalf.

Alternatively, if they recover their mental capacity, they will have three years starting from the date of recovery. If they don’t, the three years are frozen indefinitely.

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

How Long Do You Have To Make A Claim For Criminal Injuries?

For criminal injury claims, you have the option to apply for compensation under the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA). You could apply for compensation through them if you’ve been the victim of a violent crime in Scotland, England or Wales. This is for cases where the defendant is unknown or they don’t have the means to pay.

CICA recommends applying as soon as it’s reasonably possible for you to do so. Alternatively, you should apply no later than 2 years after the date of the incident. There are exceptions; however, they may only apply in certain circumstances.

Furthermore, regarding the limitation period for personal injury in these cases, you would also be expected to report the crime to the police before contacting the CICA.

Injuries would be valued using a tariff set by the government under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.

For more information, you can contact our advisors on the number above.

Time Limits For Medical Negligence Claims

A medical negligence claim may be made if you have evidence of a medical professional failing to provide you with the standard level of care. As a result, the substandard care will have led to you suffering further or avoidable, unnecessary harm. For instance:

  • A surgeon negligently cutting you too deeply during a cesarean section leading to you suffering from a perforated bowel
  • Suffering from an infection after surgery due to receiving poor aftercare
  • A general practitioner (GP) prescribing you the wrong dosage of medication, despite clear reason not to, leading to you overdosing and suffering harm

For a medical negligence case, you will generally have three years from the date the incident occurred. Alternatively, the three years will start from the date you obtained enough knowledge that the medical professional’s failings caused or contributed to your injuries.

This is because, in some cases, you may not be aware of the medical professional’s negligent actions until years after the procedure.

Although this is the general time limit, there may be cases where this doesn’t apply. For instance, for children under the age of 18 or for anyone who lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves the time limits vary. Get in touch if you’d like to check these time limits.

Time Limits For Applications To The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is in place to compensate those who suffered an illness, injury or death that was caused by service on or after 6th April 2005.

The scheme doesn’t look at attributing any fault. Instead, it allows those who’ve been affected by an injury, illness or death to make an application for compensation. Any compensation that’s awarded under the scheme is calculated using a tariff set by the government.

Generally, any applications to the AFCS must be made within 7 years, although there may be exceptions to this. Additionally, the 7 years could start from numerous dates, including the date:

  • The incident causing the injury or illness occurred
  • An existing injury or illness was made worse by service
  • You first sought medical advice for an illness caused by the service
  • You were discharged from service

Furthermore, it’s important to note the scheme doesn’t prevent you from making a claim against the department. However, you must have evidence that they were at fault for the harm you suffered.

Visit the government guide for more information on the AFCS. Alternatively, if you have any questions about the personal injury claims time limit or if you would like to know if you can claim, contact us using the above details.

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.

InjuryDetailsCompensation
ShoulderModerate: A shoulder injury that's moderate in nature such as frozen shoulder causing discomfort and issues with movement.£7,410 to £11,980
WristA Colles' fracture that's simple in nature.In the region of £6,970
FootModest: Ruptured ligament causing ongoing issues.Up to £12,900
ToeInjuries leading to the amputation of all toes.£34,270 to £52,620
KneeModerate: (ii) Examples of injuries might include laceration, twisting or bruising.Up to £12,900
LegLess serious: (iii) A tibia or fibula fracture that's simple in nature or soft tissue injuries.Up to £11,110
ArmInjuries resulting in permanent and substantial disablement such as serious fractures of one or both forearms.£36,770 to £56,180
FingerA fracture to the index finger.£8,550 to £11,480

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

When making a personal injury claim, you have the option to put forward your case with or without legal representation. If you’d like a solicitor appointed to your case, we have an option that you may find beneficial.

Here at Legal Expert, all of our solicitors operate on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning you can avoid upfront solicitor fees and any solicitor fees that incur during the course of your claim. Additionally, if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t be asked to pay solicitor fees.

If your claim is successful, you will need to pay a small success fee. However, this is legally capped. Furthermore, as part of the No Win No Fee agreement, your solicitor will make you aware of this before going ahead with your claim.

Most importantly, all of our solicitors are experienced in handling claims. For more information on how an advisor can connect you, call our advisors on the number above.

Speak To Us

We hope you’ve found our guide exploring the limitation period in personal injury claims helpful. However, if you have any questions or require any further clarification, don’t hesitate to contact our advisors.

Furthermore, they can assess whether you hold a strong, valid claim and appoint one of our solicitors to your case if you do. A solicitor can then take you through the next stages of your claim.

No matter whether you need further help or you’re ready to get the compensation you deserve, our advisors are available. So please get in touch using the following details:

  • Telephone number – 0800 073 8804
  • The contact form – fill out your details and an advisor will get back to you
  • Live chat – get instant advice on anything you’re unsure of

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.

FAQs On The Limitation Period In Personal Injury Claims

The following section will explore answers to some commonly asked questions about compensation and waiting times in personal injury claims.

What legal fees will I have to pay?

When claiming under a No Win No Fee agreement, you won’t be asked to pay solicitor fees if your claim is unsuccessful. If your solicitor does win your case, you’ll be asked to pay a success fee which is legally capped.

How long will it take to get my payout?

This can vary depending on whether your claim is settled in court or out of court. Most claims are settled out of court.

Do I need to wait till the case is settled to get a payout?

In some circumstances, where the defendant has admitted liability, you may be able to get an interim payment. This is an application to have part of your compensation paid early to help cover immediate costs incurred by your injuries.

Will I go to court?

This may depend on a few factors such as whether the defendant has admitted liability or whether both parties can agree on a settlement figure.

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.

Written by Mitchell

Edited by Victorine

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