Welcome to our guide on what the time limitations are for personal injury claims. Now, you could claim personal injury compensation for a wide variety of injuries. This is so long as you can prove a third party’s negligence as the primary cause. However, there is a limitation period for personal injury claims.
This means you have to start your claim within that period for it to be valid. Even if all of the evidence is in your favour, a failure to initiate the claim within the correct timeframe could mean you’re unable to. We will discuss this and the time limits for personal injury claims as the guide progresses.
Ahead of you reading through the guide, you could always contact our team here at Legal Helpline. Our advisors work around the clock and can handle your enquiry at any time. They could then connect you with our panel of personal injury solicitors.
That could then allow you to begin your claim before the limitation period expires. To get in touch with us today, you can do one of three things:
Remember, though, that there’s no requirement for you to claim just because you have an initial consultation with us. Note that the consultation would be completely free of charge.
Select A Section:
- A Guide About Limitations For Personal Injury Claims
- What Are Limitations For Personal Injury Claims?
- When Does The Limitation Period Start?
- When Does The 3-Year Limit Not Apply?
- Claiming After The Limitation Period Has Expired
- Claiming Involving The Mental Health Act 1983
- Limitation Periods For Under 18s
- Limitation Periods For Accidents Outside The UK
- Fatal Accident Claim Time Limits
- Limitation Periods For Assaults
- Personal Injury Claim Time Limits
- Calculating Personal Injury Compensation Claims
- Steps To Take When Making A Personal Injury Claim
- Could I Make A No Win No Fee Claim?
- Contact Legal Helpline Today
- Read More About Personal Injury Claims
- Personal Injury Claim FAQs
This personal injury limitation period guide will cover what you should know about claiming within time.
For any personal injury claim to succeed, the case must have negligence of a third party as its foundation. This means proving that:
- A third party owed you a duty of care; and
- They breached this duty of care; and
- Consequently, an accident took place that left you with injuries.
Please speak with us at the earliest opportunity to learn more about proving a duty of care breach via negligence.
Limitations for personal injury claims are in place to ensure that all valid claims are made within a reasonable timeframe.
After too long, the claimant may no longer recall the circumstances causing the accident. On top of that, the defendant may also no longer have the evidence that could disprove the injury was caused by their negligence.
A limitation period for a personal injury claim ensures that those suffering from accidents caused by third-party negligence have a reasonable amount of time to pursue legal action. The legislation relating to this is the Limitation Act 1980.
The limitation period for personal injury claims generally starts from one of two dates. The first of these is the date of the accident itself if you were aware that negligence caused your injuries on that date. Alternatively, the second date is from the day you gain knowledge that negligence at least contributed to your injuries (the date of knowledge).
This is important for any situations where you only learn at a later date about how an accident or incident impacted your health. For example, with industrial diseases, many workers don’t discover they’re ill due to employer negligence until they’re suffering symptoms and a medical professional asks them about their working history, connecting the workplace to the illness.
Our Live Chat is accessible all day and every day if you want to have a word with us.
There are two main exceptions where the 3-year time limit doesn’t apply:
- Those under the age of 18
- Those who lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves
In both scenarios, the limitation period for personal injury claim adjusts somewhat.
That’s because an appointed representative, often a parent or guardian, could claim on behalf of the sufferer. The representative would be a litigation friend, meaning that they act in the person’s best interests. In both of these situations, the typical 3-year claims window wouldn’t apply.
However, if the child turns 18 or if the victim regains mental capacity, things change. At that point, in both cases, their 3-year window then begins as it would for anybody else. Please leave us a message to find out more about exceptions to the limitation period for personal injury claims.
The majority of valid claims rely on the case getting underway within the appropriate timeframe. If the time limit passes, your case may not be heard even if the evidence is overwhelming. For that reason, a solicitor may not even take the case on.
However, there is another instance where the limitation period for personal injury claims may not be a deterrent. This comes from section 33 of the Limitation Act. It notes that the court does have the power to disapply the time limit where they deem it appropriate. The court has to balance how much both the defendant and claimant could be prejudiced by a time extension.
To find out more about whether your claim could have the time limit extended, why not get in touch?
If the claimant is sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983, they wouldn’t be able to claim for themselves because they wouldn’t have the mental capacity to claim. In this scenario, the 3-year limitations for personal injury claims is still in place. However, it doesn’t begin from the date of the accident or the date of knowledge. Instead, the 3-year window starts from the date of their recovery.
Alternatively, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf before this. The time limit is frozen unless the claimant recovers the mental capacity to claim.
We noted earlier how the limitation period for personal injury claims alters for those under 18. This is because minors don’t have the legal right to file their own claims. They may have full awareness of their accident and of the impact of their injuries.
Furthermore, they could know everything about the circumstances leading to the accident taking place. However, they are legally unable to process their claim until they turn 18.
Therefore, a litigation friend must handle a minor’s claim. Therefore, the 3-year time limitations for personal injury claims doesn’t come into effect until the child turns 18. They could file their own claim at that point.
It’s important that the litigation friend has the minor’s best interests at heart. They should communicate with them about what is happening to find out their wishes during the claim.
Make sure to talk to one of our advisors for additional advice.
The situation about limitations for personal injuries changes somewhat when it concerns foreign countries. If an accident happens on a holiday or while working abroad, it’s still possible to claim.
If you were injured abroad on a package holiday where the holiday company was based in the UK, you could claim with the time limits already mentioned applying. Package holiday providers should ensure that the products they offer, such as hotels, are safe for use.
If you were injured abroad while working and the employer was UK-based, you could also be able to claim within the time limits mentioned.
However, if your injuries abroad weren’t caused by the negligence of a UK-based company, you may need to adhere to different time limits. These vary from country to country.
Our advisors could help you get answers. Why not get in touch for free legal advice?
After the fatal accident of a loved one, the deceased’s family could claim if it was caused by the negligence of a party that owed the person a duty of care.
The time limit is still three years. However, it would generally begin from the date of the victim’s death. Even if the deceased began a claim before their passing, the dependents could start to continue it within 3 years of the death.
Please ring us up on the telephone number at the top of this page for extra guidance.
The limitation period to start a claim does differ when it comes to claims for assaults. Firstly, the claim may go through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to handle accident claims for criminal injuries. If so, the time limit to start a claim would be two years. This is generally from the date of the criminal injury.
There are exceptions where the CICA determines it appropriate, however. For example, some sexual abuse claims may start years after the incident took place due to the victim’s trauma and inability to tell the police about the crime.
If the claimant can identify the perpetrator and they have funds to compensate the victim, the victim could make a personal injury claim against them. This would mean the victim generally has 3 years (not 2) to start a claim.
Allow us to clarify the different rules and limitation periods for personal injury claims in various scenarios:
- In general situations, time limitations for personal injury claims is three years;
- This 3-year period starts from the accident date or the date of knowledge;
- A person under 18 or a person who lacks the mental capacity to claim requires a litigation friend to handle their claim;
- This means that the 3-year window doesn’t necessarily apply in their situations;
If the child turns 18 or if the person regains mental capability, the 3-year window then begins;
- The limitation period is 2 years for claims made through the CICA;
Contact us if you wish to know more.
A personal injury claim could cover all sorts of different injuries encompassing various types, severities and consequences. Furthermore, some injuries have the potential to bring about life-changing impacts. There may also be multiple injuries. This is partly why compensation for personal injury claims is judged on a case-by-case basis.
With all of this in mind, we have the table below for you to consider potential compensation settlement figures for injuries. These come from the official Judicial College Guidelines. This is a publication solicitors use when valuing injuries. However, these are only potential figures, and therefore these are by no means guarantees of what someone might receive.
|Tetraplegia||also known as Quadriplegia||£304,630 to £379,100||Permanent disability with significant reduction in limb mobility & a shortened life expectancy|
|Brain Damage||Very Severe||£264,650 to £379,100||Permanent brain damage causing a major impact on the person's mental capabilities|
|Psychiatric Damage||Severe||£51,460 to £108,620||Significant psychiatric problems with a very poor long-term prognosis of potential recovery|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||Moderately Severe||£21,730 to £56,180||PTSD in the aftermath of a traumatic incident with some recovery but also a potential disability|
|Loss Of Taste||(d) Loss of Taste||£18,020 to £23,460||The inability to taste food or drink due to an injury or fume exposure|
|Chest Injury||(d) A relatively simple injury||£11,820 to £16,860||A chest injury impairing lung function & causing some pain but with a full recovery|
|Hernia||(b) Direct||£6,580 to £8,550||A direct inguinal hernia injury requiring surgery for a full recovery but with a chance of a future recurrence|
|Asthma||(e) Mild asthma||Up to £4,830||Asthma brought on by an unhealthy environment with recovery expected within months|
|Eye Injury||Minor||£3,710 to £8,200||A strike to the eye causing temporary pain & an impact on vision|
|Brain or Head Injury||Minor||£2,070 to £11,980||A noticeable injury with a full recovery|
There are two potential heads of claim in personal injury cases: general damages and special damages.
General damages compensate you for the physical and psychological injuries you suffered due to the negligence of a third party that owed you a duty of care. You can see examples of potential compensation in the table above.
Special damages compensate you for the financial loss associated with your injuries. This can include, for example, travel expenses to and from the hospital. You’d need proof such as receipts to claim special damages.
With the limitations for personal injury claims in mind, consider the steps you should take to initiate the claims process. To begin with, you should consider whether your injury and the third party’s contribution truly warrant legal action.
From there, you should begin to gather evidence such as photographs, CCTV footage and any witness contact details for statements at a later date.
You are not required to use the services of a solicitor to claim. However, it could be beneficial. Solicitors have legal experience, can value your claim accurately, and can negotiate with the other side.
Find out more by chatting with us today.
When considering limitations for personal injury claims, don’t forget about No Win No Fee. If you’d like to use the services of a solicitor but are concerned about funding them, No Win No Fee can help.
Under a No Win No Fee agreement, there would be no requirement to pay the solicitor’s fee upfront or while the claim is progressing.
A success fee is paid to your solicitor only if the claim wins. This success fee is capped by law for your benefit.
If the case is unsuccessful, you wouldn’t have to pay the solicitor’s fee at all.
Want to know more about No Win No Fee? Leave us a message on our Live Chat.
With all of this being said about limitations for personal injury claims, you may want to know more. If that’s the case, you can get in touch with Legal Helpline at any time of the day.
Furthermore, we can explain how to begin processing a case before the limitation period for personal injury claims expires. To contact us, you can:
Once again, remember that there’s no pressure to initiate a claim if you have a free consultation with us.
If you still wish for further guidance, why not check out these internal and external sources below?
For starters, there’s our section on assault at work claims.
There’s also our page on making a claim online.
Not forgetting our guidance on slips, trips and falls.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 relates to employer responsibilities.
Alternatively, an accident in a public place could indicate a duty of care breach as per the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957.
A road traffic accident (RTA) causing your injuries may represent a duty of care breach as per The Highway Code.
What is the limitation period for civil cases?
In many situations, the limitation period for personal injury claims is three years.
What is the average payout for a personal injury claim in the UK?
This varies depending on factors such as how the injury happens, as well as the severity of the injury.
Thank you for reading our guide on the time limitations for personal injury claims.
Written by MA
Edited by RV