Time Limit For Personal Injury Claims

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What Is The Limitation Period In Personal Injury Claims?

By Stephen Hudson. Last Updated 23rd January 2024. 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.

Personal injury solicitor working at their desk

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? Maybe you wonder how long after an accident at work can you claim?

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 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 time limit for personal injury cases.

Select A Section

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

What Is The 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 compensation 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 compensation claims could be suspended.

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 fatal 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.

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. 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 compensation 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 compensation 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

In addition to questions about the limitation period in personal injury claims you may have, you may also be wondering how much compensation may be offered to you if you make a successful claim. 

The compensation amounts for personal injury claims vary on a case-by-case basis. That’s because the final payout is determined by certain factors, such as what injuries you’re claiming for and how severe they are.

Your compensation settlement will include general damages if you make a successful personal injury claim, which  compensates you for the pain and suffering your injuries have caused. 

Those responsible for valuing this head of your claim may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document provides a list of different injuries at varying severity levels and assigns them guideline compensation brackets. We have used some of these brackets for our table below.

The table should be viewed as a guide only. Please also note that the first entry in this table is an estimated figure that is not taken from the JCG.


Injury Severity Of Injury Compensation Details
Multiple Serious Injuries With Special Damages Serious Up to £500,000+ If you able to claim for multiple severe injuries, then you may receive a payout covering all of these plus any related special damages you’ve claimed for, such as loss of earnings.
Head/Brain Injuries Moderately Severe £219,070 to £282,010 Injuries covered by this bracket will leave the victim very seriously disabled. There may be physical disabilities, such as limb paralysis, or cognitive, with marked impairment of intellect and personality.
Head/Brain Injuries Moderate (i) £150,110 to £219,070 The injuries covered under this bracket will result in moderate to severe intellectual deficit. Other symptoms may include a personality change and disruptions to the injured party’s speech and sight.
Chest Injuries (a) £100,670 to £150,110 This bracket applies to chest injuries severe enough to result in total removal of one lung and/or serious heart damage. There will also be serious and prolonged pain and suffering and permanent significant scarring.
Arm Injuries Severe injuries £96,160 to £130,930 Injuries under this bracket do not result in amputation, but they are still very serious and leave the injured party little better off than if the arm had been lost.
Arm Injuries Injuries causing permanent and substantial disablement £39,170 to £59,860


Injuries covered by this bracket may include serious fractures of one or both forearms.
Foot Injuries Very severe £83,960 to £109,650 A foot injury may fall under this bracket if it causes permanent and severe pain or really serious permanent disability.
Toe Injuries Injuries leading to the amputation of all toes £36,520 to £56,080 How high the final payout will be will depend on factors such as whether the amputation was traumatic or surgical.
Neck Injuries Severe (iii) £45,470 to £55,990 Injuries under this bracket may include fractures, dislocations, severe damage to soft tissues and/or ruptured tendons. Such injuries will lead to chronic conditions and significant disability that is permanent.


If you’re eligible to claim general damages, then you may also be able to claim special damages, which cover financial losses or expenses that are relevant to your injuries. For example, if your injuries have forced you to take unpaid time off work, then you may be able to claim back the loss of earnings under special damages.

Examples of other costs you may be able to claim for include:

  • Prescription fees.
  • Travel expenses.
  • Care costs.

When claiming for your financial losses under special damages, you will need to provide evidence of them. Examples of evidence could include bank statements, payslips and invoices.

For more advice on how much compensation you may receive if you have a valid personal injury claim, contact our advisors for free today.

Could I Make A No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claim?

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 compensation 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 time limit for a compensation claim, please contact us for free legal advice.

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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.

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