How Long Is The Limitation Period For Injury Claims?

This guide will look at the limitation period for injury claims for a number of different claim scenarios. There are time limits for personal injury claims that you have to start your claim within. As long as you begin your claim within this time limit, you don’t have a specific deadline to complete the claim.

Limitation period in injury claims guide

A guide on the limitation period for injury claims

Generally, the time limit in which to start a claim is 3 years. However, in this guide, we look further into this and exceptions to the rule.

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Jump To A Section

  1. A Guide On Limitation Period For Injury Claims
  2. What Are Limitation Periods For Injury Claims?
  3. Holiday Accident Claim Limitation Periods
  4. Fatal Injury Claim Limitation Periods
  5. Clinical Negligence Claim Limitation Periods
  6. Child Injury Claim Limitation Periods
  7. Criminal Injury Claim Limitation Periods
  8. Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Limitation Periods
  9. Injury Claim Time Limits Table
  10. Does The Three-Year Limit Always Apply?
  11. Could I Still Claim If The Limitation Period Has Expired?
  12. Calculating Compensation Settlements
  13. Claim With A Specialist No Win No Fee Solicitor
  14. Contact Legal Helpline Today
  15. Useful Links On The Limitation Period For Injury Claims
  16. FAQs

A Guide On The Limitation Period For Injury Claims

The focus of this guide is to help you discern which limitation period for injury claims may apply to your potential claim. When we say limitation period, we mean the time limit you must start your claim within. We begin this guide with a basic overview and introduction to what a limitation period is.

The middle part of this guide looks at different types of compensation claims, and the limitation period that could apply in each case. We will cover holiday accident claims, fatal accident claims, and child accident claims. Additionally, you will find information about the limitation period for clinical negligence claims, criminal injury and armed forces claims. We finish this part of the guide with a compensation table that explains many of the different claim time limits that might apply in your own case.

We then consider in what circumstances the general limitation period of three years might not apply. You will also learn about whether you can start a claim once the limitation period has expired. We have also added a table that gives examples of possible compensation ranges for injuries.

No Win No Fee agreements are also covered. The guide ends with some general advice on starting a claim, some useful reference links and an FAQ section to close.

What Are Limitation Periods For Injury Claims?

To make a successful personal injury claim, you’d need to show that:

  • Another party owed you a duty of care; and
  • They breached this duty, causing an accident; and
  • You were injured as a result.

It’s important to understand the limitation period for injury claims if you intend to make one. Here is a quick tip: the term ‘limitation period’ just means the deadline you have to start your claim within. As long as you meet this deadline, you have however long you need to complete that claims process. This holds true for various claims, such as:

  • Holiday accident claims
  • Fatal injury claims
  • Clinical negligence claims
  • Child injury claims
  • Criminal injury claims
  • Claims made by members of the armed forces

Under the Limitation Act 1980, the general limitation period for personal injury claims is three years. This can be from the date of injury or from the date of knowledge (explained below).

However, some types of claims have different limitation periods. Additionally, there are other factors that might have an impact on the limitation period, which we will explain later in this guide.

What Is The Date Of Knowledge?

The term date of knowledge refers to the date that you gained knowledge that negligence at least contributed to your injuries.

For example, you may suffer from an industrial illness. Because these illnesses can take time to build up, you might not immediately link your symptoms to your work. However, you may visit a doctor who helps you connect the illness with the hazards of your workplace. This would be the date of knowledge.

Holiday Accident Claim Limitation Periods

Here, we will look at the limitation period for injury claims for holiday accidents. There are many ways that accidents on holiday can happen that could result in personal injury claims. However, the time limit for holiday claims can be complicated if you were injured outside of the UK and the injury wasn’t caused by a UK-based organisation’s negligence.

Below we have covered some holiday accident scenarios.

  • For an accident that took place while you are on holiday in the UK, the limitation period would be, in general, three years.
  • For accidents that took place abroad, the applicable limitation period defined by local laws would apply. In Spain, for instance, this time limit could be 1 year.
  • If you are injured in an accident on a plane that is in flight, or you were embarking or disembarking, the Montreal Convention of 1999 would come into effect. The Convention was implemented into UK law via The Carriage by Air Acts (Implementation of the Montreal Convention 1999) Order 2002. The limitation period would be 2 years. This applies to claims made in the departure country or the arrival country.
  • If you’d booked a package holiday and were injured due to the providers of that package, you could claim. If the package holiday provider is a UK-based company, you’d need to claim within UK time limits (generally 3 years). However, if you were on a package holiday but the accident happened on a part of the holiday that was not included in the package, you’d need to adhere to the time limits of that country instead. 

We understand that this is a potentially confusing situation. Our claims team can clarify which limitation period should apply, based on your own circumstances. Give them a call to learn which claims time limit could apply.

Fatal Injury Claim Limitation Periods

This section will cover the limitation period for injury claims for a fatal accident. You could be able to claim for the passing of a loved one if it was caused by the negligence of a third party.

The length of time the person lived after the incident, and the level of suffering this caused the victim and their family, would have a direct impact on the level of compensation that is claimed.

The limitation period for a fatal injury claim is generally three years from the date of death. However, other factors might come into play that change this deadline, so call our team to check for sure.

Clinical Negligence Claim Limitation Periods

The medical negligence limitation period is generally three years. This is from the date of injury or the date you became aware that negligence at least contributed to it. The claims deadline would apply for all types of clinical negligence that caused harm, such as those listed below.

  • A negligent error during surgery injures the patient.
  • Misdiagnosis through negligence causes the patient to suffer further harm.
  • A negligent pharmaceutical error results in the patient being harmed by taking the wrong medication.

You’d need to show that the medical professional’s substandard care led to your injuries.

Child Injury Claim Limitation Periods

The limitation period for a child personal injury claim is also different from the general three years. Because a child is classed as a minor under the age of 18 in England and Wales, they cannot make their own claim. So the limitation period for injury claims for minors works differently. There are two basic options here for making a claim, covered below.

  1. The child waits until they are old enough to make their own claim. In this case, the claims time limit will be three years from their 18th birthday.
  2. A parent, guardian or another representative acts as a litigation friend to represent the child in a claim. In this case, the claims deadline would be any time up to the child’s 18th birthday. However, it should be noted that if this route is chosen, any compensation that is won will be held in a trust until the child is 18 years old, though it can be accessed in certain instances. For example, the minor may need medical treatment or ongoing care at home.

Criminal Injury Claim Limitation Periods

The limitation period for injury claims for criminal injuries can also differ from the general three years. If you’re claiming through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), you could have 2 years to claim. CICA is a special public body that has been put in place to compensate the victims of criminal injuries, when no other route to compensation exists.

The limitation period for CICA claims is 2 years from the date of the incident. However, there are reasons why this time limit might be extended. Exceptional circumstances must have stopped you from filing the claim. For example, if you were the victim of a crime, such as sexual abuse, you may not have reported it due to exceptional circumstances. In this case, the time limit could run from the date you reported the crime to the police.

If the perpetrator is identified and they have the funds to compensate you, you could make a personal injury claim against them. In this instance, you’d generally have 3 years to start a claim.

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Limitation Periods

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government-run scheme that specifically deals with claims for compensation made by members of the armed forces. And as such, the limitation period for injury claims under the AFCS is different to the general three-year deadline.

You should begin your claim against the AFCS within seven years, but the date this deadline runs from depends on the circumstances of the claim. The start date could be any of these listed below.

  • The date the incident took place that caused you harm.
  • The date that an incident took place that exacerbated a medical condition that was not caused by the armed forces.
  • For illnesses, the claims time limit will start on the day you first sought medical help for the condition.
  • The date of your discharge for service.

There are, however, certain times that claims would be accepted outside of the time limit.

Injury Claim Time Limits Table

We have added this useful table that summarises the limitation period for injury claims.

Claim TypePossible Time Limit
General personal injury claims3-years from the date of knowledge.
Fatal injury claims3-years from the date of death.
Holiday injury claims (where the injury is caused by the negligence of a non-UK based party)Local laws will apply so varies.
Package holiday claimsGenerally 3 years
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claims2 years from the date of the crime.
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) claimsGenerally 7 years
Injury claims on behalf of a minorAny time up to the child’s 18th birthday.
Injury claims where the injury happened as a minor and nobody claimed on your behalf before you were 183 years from the date of your 18th birthday
International flight injury claims2 years
Claims on behalf of those who lack mental capacityTime limit is frozen unless the person recovers mental capacity. If they do, the time limit is 3 years from the date of recovery.

Does The Three-Year Limit Always Apply?

As we have seen so far, the limitation period for injury claims very much depends on the circumstances of the claim.

However, something that could affect this general three-year limitation period is whether the claimant lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves. They would need the help of a litigation friend to make a claim on their behalf. If they lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves, the time limit would be frozen.

However, if they regain mental capacity, they could have three years to claim from the date of recovery.

If you are in any doubt as to which claim deadline is going to apply, you can call and speak to our claims team. Explain to them your circumstances and they will tell you which time limit could be in play.

Could I Still Claim If The Limitation Period Has Expired?

The limitation period for injury claims is quite strict. However, that being said, in some circumstances, a court may grant an extension to the limitation period. You would need to show that you have a very strong claim, and that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented you from starting your claim within the limitation period before it expired.

Calculating Compensation Settlements

A personal injury claims calculator might be able to give you a rough estimate of how much you could claim. You can also check the compensation table below. It was made using the figures found in the guidelines produced by the Judicial College. Solicitors use these guidelines to help them when valuing injuries.

InjuryDamagesInformation
Brain (Less Severe Brain Damage)£14,380 to £40,410In this bracket, the injured person will be able to take part in a normal social life and return to work due to a good recovery. However, there may not be a restoration of all normal functions so there will still be persisting problems, such as a poor memory.
Psychiatric Damage Generally (Moderately Severe)£17,900 to £51,460This bracket includes injuries that cause significant problems to their ability to function in everyday life and return to work. It will also potentially affect their relationships with loved ones. However, the prognosis will be more positive than in more severe cases.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Moderate)£7,680 to £21,730In this bracket, the injured person will have largely recovered and there will be no grossly disabling effects from the injury.
Chest and lungs£29,380 to £51,460This bracket includes injuries leading to continuing disability due to damage caused to the lung(s) and chest.
Neck (Moderate ii)£12,900 to £23,460In this bracket, cases include soft tissue injuries or the most severe type of disc lesions causing cervical spondylosis.
Shoulder (Serious)£11,980 to £18,020Injuries in this bracket include damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus or shoulder dislocation.

Damages You Could Pursue

If your claim is a success, you could claim damage for physical or psychological harm (general damages) or monetary loss associated with your injuries (special damages).

Factors included in a general damages compensation value include:

  • Mental anguish, or psychological injuries.
  • Permanent disability or long-term impairment.
  • Traumatic or invasive treatment.

Special damages examples include:

  • Private medical fees if the NHS couldn’t cover the treatment
  • Loss of earnings
  • Lowered lifetime earnings
  • Care costs

In order to claim special damages successfully, you’d need to provide proof. This could include payslips, invoices or bills, for example.

Claim With A Specialist No Win No Fee Solicitor

A No Win No Fee solicitor can give you more advice about the limitation period for injury claims. Under such a fee structure, you don’t pay anything upfront to your solicitor, or while it is being processed.

If the claim doesn’t succeed, your solicitor won’t need to be paid a fee. If it is won, they would. This would be in the form of a small percentage of your compensation. It’s capped by law and only taken after the compensation comes through. You’d agree on the percentage with the solicitor before you make the claim so there are no surprises.

Contact Legal Helpline Today

Do you need some more advice about the limitation period for injury claims? Or perhaps you think the personal injury claims time limit might be approaching fast and you need to begin a claim quickly? Contact our team using the info below to get the help you need.

Useful Links On The Limitation Period For Injury Claims

Here are some links to other claims guides.

Claiming For Assault

How To Claim For A Wrongful Death

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Claims

Here are some links to useful websites.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995

Information About Clinical Negligence Claims

FAQs

Here are some simple answers to commonly asked claims questions.

How long could my claim take to process?

It will depend on factors such as the complexity of your claim, and whether the claim is refuted. Our team can help you with more advice about this, so give them a call.

How much could I get for my injury?

This will depend upon the level of harm and financial loss you have suffered.

What types of accidents could you claim for?

In relation to the limitation period for injury claims, there is no restriction on the types of accidents you can claim for. That is, providing the resulting injury is caused by a third party’s negligence and they’d owed you a duty of care.

Written by MW

Edited by RV