How Long Can You Claim After An Accident At Work?

What Is The Workplace Injury Claim Time Limit?

The answer to the question ‘How long can you claim after an accident at work?’ is not always as simple as you might think. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a workplace accident that causes injuries, and the person claiming, the work injury compensation time limit could vary. We have created this guide to illustrate the differences between the workplace injury claim time limit that could apply to a variety of claims.

How long can you claim after an accident at work guide

How long can you claim after an accident at work guide

In the sections that follow, you can read about how the work injury claim time limit could differ when someone is under the age of 18 or is mentally incapable of claiming. We also discuss the difference between the date of an incident and the date of knowledge, and how this could affect how long you could have to claim. In addition to all this, we show you how solicitors and courts calculate compensation payouts and show you how our advisors could offer free legal advice tailored to your situation. To start your claim right away, or to ask us anything about the claims process, simply call our team on 0161 696 9685. We’d be delighted to help you.

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How Long Can You Claim After An Accident At Work?: A Guide

Employers have a responsibility towards their employees to protect them from reasonably foreseeable harm related to their work or workplace. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 enshrines this duty in law. Employers must ensure as much as could be reasonably practical that workers do not suffer harm to their health because of:

  • Systems of work
  • The transport, storage and handling of articles and substances
  • Lack of information, supervision, instruction or training
  • An unsafe workplace

If an employer fails in their duty of care towards you and you sustain injuries in a workplace accident that isn’t your fault, you could launch a personal injury claim against your employer.

As well as wondering how to prove that your employer was at fault for your workplace accident, you might also be wondering how long can you claim after an accident at work. We have created this guide to answer common questions surrounding the work injury claim time limit, such as:

  • What is a work injury damages claim?
  • How do you calculate compensation amounts?
  • Is there a time limit to report an accident at work?
  • Does the personal injury claims time limit differ if I wasn’t aware of my injuries at the time?

We also explain how our advisors could provide free legal advice over the phone, and connect you with a lawyer from our panel to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Work Injury Compensation Calculator

Before we answer the question of ‘What is the time limit on a personal injury claim?’, let us look at how compensation payouts are calculated. Solicitors and courts assess each case according to the facts, circumstances and evidence, and no two claims are precisely the same.

An important piece of evidence that could affect your compensation payout significantly is the medical report. You would obtain this vital piece of evidence by attending an appointment with an independent medical professional. They would assess your injuries, look at any appropriate past medical notes, and put together a medical report.

This report would evidence your injuries and give a professional opinion on your prognosis. Solicitors and courts could use this to come to an appropriate payout for your injuries.

The Judicial College Guidelines

As a personal injury claims calculator could not assess all this evidence, the figures they produce would only be rough estimates. To give you some idea of payout amounts for specific injuries, we have chosen instead to take figures from a legal publication known as the Judicial College Guidelines and put them into the table below. Solicitors may use this publication to help them value your injuries.

The below could give you some idea of how much your injury could be worth.

InjuryGuideline compensation bracketSeverity
Shoulder£18,020 to £45,070Severe
Shoulder£11,980 to £18,020Serious
Shoulder£7,410 to £11,980Moderate
ShoulderUp to £7,410Minor
Clavicle£4,830 to £11,490Fracture
Wrist£44,690 to £56,180Leading to a complete loss of function
Wrist£22,990 to £36,770With some movement remaining, but significant permanent disability.
Wrist£11,820 to £22,990Less of a severe injury but some permanent disabilities such as stiffness and pain.
Knee£65,440 to £90,290Severe (i)
Knee£48,920 to £65,440Severe (ii)
Knee£24,580 to £40,770Severe (iii)
Knee£13,920 to £24,580Moderate (i)
KneeUp to £12,900Moderate (ii)
Ankle£46,980 to £65,420Very severe
Ankle£29,380 to £46,980Severe
Ankle£12,900 to £24,950Moderate
AnkleUp to £12,900Modest
NeckUp to £7,410Minor
Neck£7,410 to £36,120Moderate
Neck£42,680 to £139,210Severe
Leg£26,050 to £36,790Moderate
Leg£36,790 to £127,530Severe
Back£36,390 to £151, 070Severe
BackUp to £11,730Minor
Back£11,730 to £36,390Moderate

How Is Work Injury Compensation Calculated?

Solicitors and courts calculate work injury compensation by assessing all the evidence of your injuries and how they affect you, as well as any financial impact of those injuries. The types of damages you could claim could include:

General Damages

We illustrated these types of damages in the table above. General damages compensate victims of personal injury for the non-pecuniary costs of their injury. This means they are meant to compensate the victim for the suffering, the pain and the loss of amenity the injured party sustains.

Special Damages

These compensate victims for the pecuniary (financial) cost of their injury. There are several different costs and losses that you could experience if you’re injured in a workplace accident. Some common special damages claims could relate to:

Loss Of Earnings

Your injuries may cause you to take time off work while you recover. If this is the case, you could lose out on income. Loss of earnings payouts could include actual and future losses, as well as taking into account bonuses and overtime.

Travel Costs

Some claimants incur travel costs from attending appointments with their lawyer or medical appointments. They could include these costs within a personal injury claim.

Care Costs

Some victims of personal injury are so badly injured that they are unable to look after themselves and need care at home. The costs of this type of care could be included within their claim.

Medical Expenses

It is not uncommon for victims of personal injury to incur medical expenses relating to medications and other types of medical care. If you incur costs for physiotherapy, prescription medications or other medical treatments, you could include these within your claim.

What Is An Injury At Work Claim Time Limit?

To claim compensation for an accident at work, you would need to demonstrate that:

  • Your employer had a duty to protect you from harm at work.
  • They failed to do so.
  • That failure caused or contributed to your injuries.

You would also need to claim within the accident at work claim time limit. The Limitation Act 1980 was enshrined in law to set limits on how long claimants could have to make certain types of claim, but there is not one set limit for all. If you’re wondering ‘how long can you claim after an accident at work?’, the answer would largely depend on who was making the claim and when they were aware of their employer’s contribution to their injuries. It could also depend on their age, whether they have the mental capacity to claim, or whether they are claiming on behalf of another person.

What Is Section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980?

Section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980 refers to legal actions relating to wrongs that cause death or personal injury. It sets a time limit of 3 years for making a claim for most claims. The 3-year period begins either on:

  • The date of the incident – If you’re aware you have sustained injuries right away, the limitation period would begin on the date of the accident.
  • The date of knowledge – If you sustain injuries that manifest themselves some time after the workplace accident, or you are unaware of your employer’s contribution to your injuries, you could have 3 years from the date you became aware of this.


How Long After An Injury Can You Claim Compensation If Your Case Involves Exceptional Circumstances?

While the 3-year time limit applies to many personal injury claims, there are some exceptions to the limit. We explain more about these in later sections of this guide.

I Am Close To The Time Limit, Could I Claim?

If you’re getting close to the accident at work claim time limit, you may fear that you have left it too late to successfully claim compensation. While it is true that personal injury solicitors prefer to have time to put together the evidence and negotiate compensation outside of court, in some cases, they could launch protective proceedings. This means they would file court paperwork before your claim was time-barred. This could give them more time to negotiate a settlement, gather evidence and investigate your claim.

If you’re wondering if you’ve left it too late to claim, why not call our team. We could provide free legal advice and quickly connect you with a solicitor if there is still time to claim.

Fatal Work Injury Claim Time Limits

If you’re wondering how long can you claim after an accident at work in which a loved one died, there is, again, a 3-year time limit. However, the date the 3-year limitation period begins could be:

  • The date of the person’s death
  • The date the death is linked to the accident

Who Could Claim For Someone Who Has Sustained A Fatal Injury?

Under section 1 of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, the following people could claim compensation for a wrongful act causing death:

  1. The husband or wife of the deceased person
  2. A civil partner of the person who died
  3. Parents or ascendants of the deceased person
  4. Anyone the deceased person treated as a parent
  5. Children or descendants of the deceased person
  6. A child of the family by marriage or civil partnership
  7. Brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles of the deceased person

If you have lost someone in a workplace accident, we at could help you. Our experts could give you free legal advice over the phone and put you in touch with a solicitor from our panel to help with your claim.

Under-Eighteen Work Injury Claim Time Limits

If you are under eighteen and you sustain injuries in a workplace accident, you may be wondering if you could make a claim for yourself. Or, if your under-eighteen-year-old has been injured while at work, you may wonder whether you could claim on their behalf. And, if so, you may wonder what the injury at work claim time limit is.

How Long After An Injury Can You Claim Compensation As A Parent?

If you’re launching a claim on behalf of your child, you would do so as their litigation friend. You could have until your child’s 18th birthday to claim. If your child turned 18 during the claims process, they could ask you to step down as their litigation friend. They would then be able to handle their claim themselves.

How Long Do I Have To Claim For An Accident At Work If No-one Has Claimed For Me?

If you sustained injuries when you were under 18 and no one made a claim on your behalf, you could claim at any time up until your 21st birthday. However, we would urge you to claim as soon as you are able, as it could be more difficult to gather evidence as time passes.

Diminished Mental Capacity Work Injury Claim Time Limits

When someone has diminished mental capacity, as defined in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, there is no time limit to claim for personal injury. Like child injury claims, a litigation friend could claim on the injured party’s behalf.

How Long Can You Claim After An Accident At Work If You Recover Mental Capacity?

In cases where those who did not have mental capacity went on to recover their capacity, they would be subjected to a 3-year work injury claim time limit which would begin from the date they were discharged from the treatment they were receiving.

If you would like to benefit from free legal advice from the team relating to a claim that involves diminished mental capacity, our advisors would be happy to help you. All you need to do is call.

When Can I Claim After The Work Accident Claims Time Limit?

As we have already mentioned, there are some situations in which you could claim beyond 3 years from the date of an accident at work. These could include:

  • Where you only became aware of your injuries some time after the accident
  • When you were injured as someone under 18 and a parent has not launched a claim for you
  • Claims that involve persons with diminished mental capacity

How Long Can You Claim After An Accident At Work In Exceptional Circumstances?

Section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 allows a court to use discretion with the work accident claim time limit in exceptional circumstances. The court must take into account several factors when using its discretion, including:

  1. How long the delay in taking action was and what caused the delay
  2. Any relevant evidence and any steps you took when obtaining such evidence
  3. The defendant’s conduct – for example, did they cause the delay?
  4. The duration of any disability which arises from the date the claim became time-barred
  5. How swiftly you acted when you became aware of the defendant’s contribution to the accident and your injuries
  6. The steps you took to get advice and the nature of the advice you got

One case that illustrates the use of Section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 is Pearce & Others -v- The Secretary of State for Business, Energy And Industrial Strategy & Others [2018], in which a judge ruled that a deceased person’s spouse could have a valid claim for her husband’s death, despite years having passed from the date of knowledge.

Injury At Work Claim No Win No Fee Agreements

Now we’ve answered the question of ‘how long can you claim after an accident at work?’ let’s move on to getting help with your claim. Many people prefer to have assistance from a personal injury lawyer. While you may be worried about the cost of this assistance, we should inform you that with No Win No Fee claims, you don’t have to pay your lawyer until your claim ends, and the liable party settles your compensation payout.

The No Win No Fee Claims Process

  1. You receive a No Win No Fee Agreement from your lawyer, which details a success fee. This is a fee that you only pay if your lawyer negotiates a compensation payout for you. The success fee is subject to a legal cap and represents a small proportion of the total payout.
  2. You read, sign and send back the agreement. Your lawyer begins to build your case a negotiate a settlement for you, supporting you through the court process if your case goes to court. Many cases never reach this stage and are settled via negotiation between the parties involved.
  3. Once your lawyer successfully negotiates compensation for you and the liable party or their insurers pay it, the solicitor deducts the agreed success fee. You would benefit from the rest.

If your lawyer didn’t secure you any compensation, you would not pay their success fee. If you’d like to discuss these payment terms with us in more detail, we’d be happy to advise you. Or, if you prefer, you can take a look at our guide which explains No Win No Fee terms.

Contact Us

Now you have the answer to ‘how long can you claim after an accident at work?’, you might be ready to begin a workplace accident claim. Our advisors could help you with this by providing free legal advice and checking your eligibility to claim. They could also put you in touch with a No Win No Fee personal injury solicitor, who could assist with your claim. All you need to do is get in touch. You can do so by:


Below, you can find links to lots more guides on accidents at work:

  1. Accidents at work FAQ
  2. How to make an accident at work claim
  3. Agency worker accident claims
  4. How to make a claim if injured as a temporary worker
  5. I hurt myself at work, can I make a claim?
  6. Can you sue your employer for an accident while still employed?
  7. How to prove an injury at work
  8. Will claiming against my employer create problems?
  9. Advice on claims if injured working for cash
  10. Do I need accident at work solicitors near me?
  11. Employers’ responsibilities after an accident at work
  12. What happens if an employee does not report an accident or injury at work?
  13. Do I need a lawyer if I get an injury at work?
  14. New employee had an accident at work – can they claim?
  15. I had an accident at work, what are my employers’ responsibilities?
  16. I didn’t take time off work after an accident, can I still claim?
  17. Who pays my work injury medical expenses?
  18. How to claim for a work accident
  19. What to do if I injured myself at work?
  20. Workplace accident claim time limits
  21. Accidents caused by tiredness and fatigue
  22. Can you be fired for a work-related accident?
  23. Foot injuries caused by a lack of safety books
  24. Could I make a workplace injury claim if I’m not an employee?
  25. Tendon injury at work claims
  26. Can you claim for an accident at work if you suffered no injury?
  27. How to claim for an injury at work when self-employed
  28. Can I claim if assaulted at work?
  29. Can I be sacked for having an accident at work?

What Is A Safe Workplace? – This shows how employers could provide a safe place for their employees to work in.

General Health And Safety Guidance – The Health and Safety Executive offer a wealth of guidance and information to employers when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.

Workplace Health And Safety Statistics – You can find information on workplace injury statistics here.

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