What Is the Time Limit For Whiplash Claims?

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Whiplash Compensation Claim Time Limits Explained

By Stephen Hudson. Last updated 16th November 2023. If you need to make a personal injury compensation claim, speak to the accident claims specialists at Legal Expert today. Read our guide below to understand more about whiplash compensation claim time limits in the UK.

Whiplash is a type of neck injury that commonly happens as a result of a car or other vehicle accident. It is caused by the sudden and snapping movement of the head and neck. The soft tissue in the neck is damaged as it is suddenly stretched and strained. For the majority of people the symptoms, such as stiffness, pain, and spasms only last a few weeks or months. For others, they can last much longer and have a severe impact on their lives.

Accident claims and personal injury claims in the UK do have a time limit or date of limitation. Typically, accident claims, such as whiplash compensation claims can be made up to three years after the date of the initial accident. This guide will go into more detail regarding the personal injury claim time limit and answer important questions such as “can you prove you have whiplash?”

There are a number of ways you can get in touch with us.

Please read on to learn more about whiplash claims.

Whiplash Compensation Claim Time Limit

Select a Section

  1. How Long Does A Whiplash Claim Take?
  2. When Could I Be Eligible To Make A Claim For Whiplash?
  3. How To Prove A Whiplash Claim
  4. Whiplash Compensation – How Much Could I Receive?
  5. No Win No Fee Legal Help With Claims For Whiplash
  6. Useful Links

How Long Does A Whiplash Claim Take?

If you have suffered whiplash in a road traffic accident, you may be wondering, ‘How long does a whiplash claim take?’

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you will have three years to start a personal injury claim for whiplash, running from the date the accident occurred.

However, there are certain expectations that apply to this time limit. These are:

  • Minors – The time limit is frozen until they reach the age of 18. They will then have until they turn 21 to start a claim.
  • Those who lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves – For these parties, the time limit is frozen indefinitely. If they were to regain this mental capacity, the three-year time limit will start from the date of recovery.

In both cases where the time limit is frozen, a litigation friend could make a claim on behalf of the injured party.

Contact our advisors today if you have any questions regarding the personal injury claims time limit. Or, continue reading this guide to see when you could be eligible to make a claim for whiplash.

When Could I Be Eligible To Make A Claim For Whiplash?

Road users owe each other a duty of care to use the roads responsibly to avoid others and themselves from coming to harm. They must also adhere to the relevant regulations and rules set out for them in the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Highway Code.

In order to be eligible to make a personal injury claim for whiplash, the following criteria need to be met:

  1. Another road user owed you a duty of care.
  2. They breached this duty of care.
  3. Due to this, you suffered an injury, such as whiplash.

Whiplash Reform Programme

The Whiplash Reform Programme introduced changes to the way claims for whiplash injuries are made in England and Wales. As per the changes, adult passengers or drivers with whiplash injuries valued at £5,000 or less, will make their claim in a different way. In addition, whiplash injuries will be valued in line with the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 tariff of injuries.

In some cases, you may not be required to make your claim via this avenue. For example, you may have sustained other injuries that take the total value of your claim over £5,000. In this instance, your claim will be made the traditional way but your whiplash injuries will still be valued according to the tariff. T Any other injuries you sustain not included in the tariff will be valued in the traditional way.

Contact our advisors today to learn which avenue you should take when making your claim.

How To Prove A Whiplash Claim

Providing evidence is a crucial part of making a whiplash compensation claim. You’ll need proof that confirms your injuries, including the severity and how they have affected your life. You also need to show how another party breached their duty of care and that this led to your injuries. Evidence for your case may include:

  • Your medical records with details of your injuries and the treatment for them
  • The contact details of any witnesses to the accident to ensure their statements can be taken later
  • Photographs of the accident scene or your injuries
  • CCTV or dashcam footage of your accident

If you contact our advisors for free, they can offer more insight into the evidence that you could use to prove your claim. They can answer questions like “How long does a whiplash claim take?” and “What is the whiplash time limit?”.

Whiplash Compensation – How Much Could I Receive?

When claiming for whiplash following a road traffic accident, you might be curious to know how much compensation you could receive.

If your claim succeeds, you will receive general damages. These relate to the physical or mental pain you suffer along with your injuries. If you have suffered a loss of amenity, which is a reduction in your quality of life, this will also be accounted for under this head of claim.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) are a useful way for solicitors to work out how much compensation you may be awarded for certain injuries. The 16th edition features various injuries alongside guideline compensation amounts. We have taken figures from the JCG to produce the table below. At the top of the table you will see two entries looking at the fixed tariffs for whiplash injuries found in the Whiplash Injury Regulation 2021.

Type of InjurySeverityCompensation BracketFeatures of Injury
Multiple Severe Injuries And Their Financial LossesSevereUp to £100,000+Compensation for multiple severe injuries and the financial losses they cause such as travel costs.
NeckModerate (i)£24,990 to £38,490This bracket may apply to fractures and dislocations that cause severe and immediate symptoms. May also cover cases involving pre-existing degenerative changes or existing symptoms have been accelerated.
NeckModerate (ii)£13,740 to £24,990Soft tissue or a wrenching-type injury that, if particularly severe, can lead to recurring or permanent pain as well as serious limitation of movement.
NeckModerate (iii)£7,890 to £13,740Injuries like this can accelerate or exacerbate a pre-existing condition, usually for less than five years.
BackModerate (i)£27,760 to £38,780This bracket may cover a wide variety of back injuries that could lead to residual disability.
BackModerate (ii)£12,510 to £27,760Ligament and muscle disturbances that cause backache or prolapsed discs discs that lead to a laminectomy being required.
BackMinor (i)£7,890 to £12,510Less serious sprains, disc prolapses or strains where a recovery to nuisance level or a full recovery is achieved without surgery within two to five years.
WhiplashOne whiplash injury or more + one psychological injury or more£4,345Symptoms last between 18-24 months.
WhiplashOne whiplash injury or more £4,215Symptoms last between 18 - 24 months.

Another element to consider when assessing the value of your whiplash compensation is any financial losses or out-of-pocket expenses inflicted by your injuries. Special damages are awarded to compensate for this type of loss.

Examples of financial harm losses covered by special damages include:

  • A loss of earnings if you require time off work to recover from your whiplash injuries.
  • Care costs
  • Prescription or over-the-counter medication costs
  • The cost of childcare

Get in touch at any time for free advice from our team of friendly advisors. If you seek legal support, they could connect you with our expert No Win No Fee solicitors.

No Win No Fee Legal Help With Claims For Whiplash

There are many benefits to working with a No Win No Fee solicitor. Whiplash claims may seem daunting or complex, but our solicitors have years of experience handling various types of road traffic accident claims. Because of this, they can guide you through the whiplash claims process, answering any questions you may have and explaining any legal jargon along the way.

Under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement, one of our solicitors could help you through the claims process without asking for any upfront service fees. Similarly, they won’t ask for payment for their services if your claim fails.

If your claim succeeds, then your solicitor will receive a success fee. This is a small, legally-capped percentage which is taken directly from your award.

Our advisors are here to help if you’d like to learn more about claims for whiplash. Get in touch today to find out if you could be eligible to work with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

Useful Links

We hope this article has answered important questions, such as “how long do I have to make a whiplash claim?” However, if you have further questions about the personal injury claim time limit or if you’re eligible to claim, please contact us using the details above. We offer free legal advice at a time that works for you.

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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.