Is There A Time Limit On Car Accident Claims?

By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 26th October 2023. You might think that answering the question, ‘Is there a time limit on car accident claims?’ would be quite straightforward. However, because no two accidents are the same, the standard time limit can vary. In this article, we’ll explore the different time limits that apply in different cases. For instance, we’ll look at the injury claim time limit for accidents involving children and also accidents involving fatalities. Additionally, we will provide information on the sort of compensation amounts that could be paid for injuries sustained in a car accident. can guide you through the process. Our advisors provide valuable free legal advice and will review your claim on a no-obligation basis. After reviewing it, they could refer you to a personal injury lawyer from our panel. They will work on a No Win No Fee basis if they agree to take your claim on.

To learn more about which car accident time limit applies in your case, please read on. Alternatively, if you are ready to discuss your case with us, please call 0161 696 9685 today.

is there a time limit on car accident claims?

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What Is The Car Accident Claims Time Limit?

To help clarify your options, we need to refer to the Limitation Act 1980. It states that claims for personal injuries must be made within 3 years of the date of the injury or the date of knowledge.

Therefore, if you’re involved in a car accident, and you are aware of your injuries straight away, you’ll have 3 years to claim from the date of the accident. However, if your injuries are diagnosed later or you’re given enough information to make the connection between your employment and your condition, your 3-year time limit will begin from the date of knowledge.

Eligibility For Car Accident Claims 

All road users owe each other a duty of care to use the roads in a way that prevents injury and damage to themselves and others. To uphold this duty, road users need to comply with the Highway Code as well as adhere to the Road Traffic Act 1988. If another road user fails to adhere to their duty of care and you are injured as a result, you may wonder whether you could be eligible to seek road traffic accident compensation for your car accident injuries. 

To do so, you must meet the personal injury claims criteria. This means that you must prove that:

  • Another driver owed you a duty of care. 
  • They breached this duty. 
  • You suffered injuries because of this breach. 

If you have been involved in a non-fault road accident then generally you would claim against the third-party driver’s insurance. The time limit to claim for a personal injury is usually 3 years. This means you must initiate legal proceedings within this time.

If you need to know more about the time limits or would like to find out if you meet the eligibility criteria, speak with one of the advisors from our team.

Calculating Car Accident Claim Payouts UK

Before we consider the different time limits which apply to car accident claims, let’s look at compensation amounts. It is important to tell you that every claim is unique. That means that even though we’ll provide guidance in this section, you’ll get a more personalised potential compensation figure if you speak to our team.

In our compensation table below, you’ll see some potential figures for injuries sustained in car accidents. The data has come from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Lawyers, barristers, and judges use the JCG to help choose the right level of compensation for injuries. The part of your claim which covers pain and suffering is called general damages.

The whiplash entries in the table come from the tariff in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. These are fixed amounts. However, you should use the JCG figures as a guide.

InjurySeverityRange of CompensationAdditional Details
BackModerate (i)£27,760 to £38,780Cases of muscle disturbance causing backache, prolapsed discs leading to laminectomy or soft tissue damage which extends suffering caused by a pre-existing condition are included in this category.
Hips and PelvisModerate (ii)£12,590 to £26,590Where surgery or hip replacement is required.
KneeModerate (i)£14,840 to £26,190Minor instability caused by a torn meniscus, weakness, wasting or other mild disabilities are covered by this category.
ShoulderSerious£12,770 to £19,200Pain in the shoulder and neck caused by damage to the lower brachial plexus and dislocation of the shoulder is an example of an injury covered by this category.
LegFracture (ii)£9,110 to £14,080Fractures affecting the femur but where there is no damage to articular surfaces.
WristFractureIn the region of £7,430This covers injuries like uncomplicated Colles' fractures of the wrist.
Whiplash TariffWhiplash with minor psychological damage£4,345The claimant suffers from the symptoms of whiplash with a minor psychological injury for 18-24 months.
Whiplash TariffWhiplash£4,215The claimant suffers from the symptoms of whiplash for 18-24 months.

The table shows us that the severity of any injury is important when deciding compensation amounts. To prove this, you will need to supply medical evidence. During the claims process, you will therefore need to attend a local medical assessment. During the meeting, an independent medical expert will analyse how the injuries have affected you. They’ll physically assess your injuries, ask questions and review your medical notes. After the appointment, the specialist will document their findings in a report and send it to your lawyer.

Whiplash Reforms

The Whiplash Reform Programme changed how certain road traffic accident claims are made. The reforms mean that both drivers and passengers aged 18 or older with injuries valued at £5,000 or less, must claim in a different way.

Your whiplash injury will be valued in accordance with the tariff set out in the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. If you suffered injuries not covered by the tariff, these will be assigned value in the traditional manner.

Also, if you have other injuries that take the total value of your claim over £5,000, you will claim the traditional way, but your whiplash injuries will still be valued as per the tariff.

Special Damages

In addition to general damages, you could claim ‘special damages’ too. This is compensation for any financial expenses or losses caused by your injuries. Again, every claim is unique, but special damages could include:

  • Care costs. If you require support with daily activities, then you could claim care costs. This might be for the time a friend spent helping you or a professional carer.
  • Medical expenses. You will usually be treated for free by NHS staff. However, you could ask for the cost of prescription medicines or non-NHS services to be paid back.
  • Travel costs. Should you incur fuel, parking or other travel-related costs linked to your injuries, you could claim them back.
  • Lost earnings. Taking time off work to recover can prove costly. Therefore, if you lose income because of your injuries, you could ask for the loss to be paid back.
  • Future lost income. Should your earning capacity reduce because of your injuries, it might be possible to ask for future lost income too.
  • Adaptations to your home. In some cases, if you’re left disabled, you may be able to claim for changes that make daily life easier.

For free legal advice on what special damages you could claim, please speak to an advisor today.

Time Limits On Fatal Car Accident Claims

Close relatives could make an injury claim for somebody who has been killed in a car accident caused by somebody else’s negligence.

Importantly, the time limit for relatives who claim on behalf of a deceased loved one doesn’t begin on the date of the accident. Instead, the 3-year time limit starts again on the date their relative died. This is true even if the deceased had started a claim before they passed.

Our advisors are trained to be compassionate when dealing with this type of claim and won’t put any pressure on you. If you’d like free legal advice on claiming on behalf of a relative, please contact us today.

Time Limits On Children Injured In Car Accidents

When a child is injured in a car accident, it can be a very distressing time. Due to their age, children are unable to represent themselves legally which means they can’t make their own personal injury claim.

However, a responsible adult is able to represent a child by becoming a litigation friend. This process is something we could help with. If you decide to take on the claim on behalf of your child, the 3-year time limit doesn’t apply. Regardless of when the accident took place, you can start the claim at any point before their 18th birthday.

By being a litigation friend, you act in the interests of the child and deal with solicitors and courts on their behalf. If compensation is won, a court will check it is fair and then place the funds in a trust. Money can be drawn down from the settlement with the agreement of the court if it will benefit the child.

If you decide not to claim, when the child turns 18, they will have 3 years to make their own claim. can review the case with you and help you with the process of becoming a litigation friend. Therefore, please call today if you’re interested in proceeding.

Evidence For Car Accident Claims

As well as ensuring you start your car accident claim within the relevant limitation period, you must also be able to prove that negligence occurred. Gathering sufficient evidence could help you with this, as it could illustrate who was liable for the accident as well as the injuries you suffered.

Some examples of the evidence you could collect to help support your claim include:

  • The details of the offending driver, including their vehicle registration and insurance details
  • The contact details of any witnesses to the accident so that they can provide a statement at a later date.
  • Medical evidence of your injury, such as a copy of your medical records stating the injury you suffered and the treatment you needed.
  • CCTV footage or dash cam footage of the accident.
  • Photographs of any visible injuries and the accident site.
  • A copy of the police report if they were called to the scene of the accident.

Contact our advisors today to see if you could be eligible to claim compensation for a car accident. If they think you may have a valid claim, they could connect you with a solicitor on our panel who could help you gather evidence for your claim.

Injuries From Car Accidents – Claim With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

For those who suffered injuries in car accidents, a claim could be made with a solicitor helping you, provided you have valid grounds to seek compensation. One of the road traffic accident solicitors from our panel could support your case. They typically use a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to work on your claim. This is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement.

If your car accident solicitor works with you under this type of agreement, they won’t ask you for upfront or ongoing fees for their work. You also won’t be charged a fee for their work if you are not awarded compensation following an unsuccessful claim.

However, should your claim outcome be positive, your solicitor will deduct a success fee out of your award. The amount that can be taken as this fee is a legally limited percentage.

If you have valid grounds to start a personal injury claim, you could be connected to one of the No Win No Fee solicitors from our panel. Get in touch with our team for more information about seeking legal representation.

To speak to an advisor:

More Information

In this article, we’ve tried to answer the question, ‘Is there a time limit on car accident claims?’ Hopefully, you now know which limitation period applies to you. Now we are going to provide some resources which might prove useful if you’re involved in a car accident and are considering claiming.

  • Motor Insurers’ Bureau – Compensation can sometimes be paid by the MIB if the driver responsible for the accident is uninsured.
  • Report A Car Accident – Advice from the Metropolitan Police about when a car accident should be reported.
  • Concussion And Head Injuries – Information from the NHS about when to seek treatment for a head injury.
  • In addition to car accident claims, our team is able to support you with other types of claims too. Therefore, we have listed some further guides below:
  • Surgical Negligence Claims – Details on when you could be compensated for suffering caused during negligent surgery.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries – This article explains how a personal injury solicitor could help you claim for soft tissue injuries.
  • Falls At Work – An article that explains your right to claim for injuries sustained in a workplace accident.

Other Car Accident Claim Guides

We can answer any questions about your claim besides, ‘Is there a time limit on car accident claims?’ Therefore, please get in touch if you need any further information.

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