Is There A Time Limit On Personal Injury Claims?

By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 26th June 2023. You may already know that claiming compensation for accidents that aren’t your fault, medical negligence, and criminal injury could be possible. However, did you know there is a time limit on personal injury claims, and if you leave it too late, your case may become time-barred? When it comes to claiming compensation, we advise claimants to take action as soon as possible after they sustain their injuries.

However, there are instances where claimants may not have taken action because they were unaware of their injuries. Or, they may not have been in a position to claim right away. So how long could people have before their claim becomes barred?

Time limit on personal injury claims guide

Time limit on personal injury claims guide

We have put together this guide to explain why the time limit on personal injury claims could differ between cases. In the sections below, we explain how the Limitation Act 1980 enshrines in law how long people have to claim in a variety of different situations. We also guide on claiming on behalf of other people, such as children or those with diminished mental capacity. 

We also offer insight into how to best calculate compensation payout estimates for personal injury claims and how you could make a claim under No Win No Fee terms. If you would like free legal advice relating to the personal injury claims time limit, or you’d like us to connect you with an injury lawyer, please do not hesitate to call the team on 0161 696 9685. We’d be happy to help you.

Select A Section

  1. How Much Are Personal Injury Claims Worth?
  2. Additional Compensation You May Be Awarded
  3. What Are Limitation Periods For Personal Injury Claims?
  4. When Does The Limitation Period Begin?
  5. The Time Limit For A Child Injury Claim
  6. Is There A Time Limit On Making A Car Accident Claim?
  7. Is There A Time Limit On Making A Fatal Accident Claim?
  8. What If The Victim Has A Diminished Mental Capacity?
  9. Time Limits On A Personal Injury Claim
  10. No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claims
  11. More Information

How Much Are Personal Injury Claims Worth?

You may wonder how value is assigned to personal injury claims. Compensation payouts for a successful claim may consist of general and special damages. We’ll look at special damages in the next section.

If your claim is successful, you will be awarded general damages to compensate for the physical pain and mental suffering caused by your injury.

Legal professionals will refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them assign value to claims. This text lists compensation guidelines for different types of injuries.

Our table below provides some of the figures found in the 16th edition of the JCG. Please only use it as a guide.

Injury Site Severity Compensation Bracket
Back Severe £38,780 – £160,980
Back Moderate £12,510 – £38,780
Back Minor Up to £12,510
Neck Severe £45,470 – £148,330
Neck Moderate £7,890 – £38,490
Neck Minor Up to £7,890
Leg Severe £27,760 – £135,920
Arm Severe £90,250 – £122,860
Pelvis/Hips Severe £39,170 – £130,930
Pelvis/Hips Moderate £12,590 – £39,590
Shoulder Severe £18,020 – £45,070
Shoulder Moderate £7,410 – £11,980

Get in touch with our advisors if you would like to know more about compensation. They can also provide guidance on the time limit on personal injury claims.

Additional Compensation You May Be Awarded

Special damages are the other head of claim that could be awarded as part of your settlement. They compensate for the financial expenses that result from your injuries. There are lots of different types of special damages you could claim back. They could include:

Travel Costs

If you pay to travel to hospital appointments to get treatment for your injuries or visit your lawyer as part of your claim, you could claim travel costs. This also includes the use of public transport if your injuries hinder your ability to drive. 

Care Costs

If you sustain severe injuries causing you to need help at home with toileting, washing, or dressing, your claim could include such care costs. This will cover both professional and gracious care. Gracious care is when you are helped by friends or family members. 

Medical Costs

You may have to pay for things associated with your medical care, such as medicines, private physiotherapy or private counselling. If you do, you could include such costs within your claim.

Loss Of Earnings

If you sustain income losses because you have to take time off work to recover from your injuries, you could claim income loss. This also covers missed overtime or bonus opportunities. 

Funeral Costs

If you are claiming for someone who has passed away in a fatal accident, you could claim for funeral costs.

Proof Of Special Damages

Bills, payslips, receipts and bank statements should all be useful when claiming special damages. If you do not have proof of any expenses, it will be difficult to claim them back.

What Are Limitation Periods For Personal Injury Claims?

When it comes to claiming personal injury compensation, there are certain things you would have to prove. One is that someone else had a responsibility (duty of care) towards you, and their action or inaction breached that responsibility.

You would also have to prove that their negligence caused you to sustain an injury. But these are not the only restrictions to making a personal injury claim. You would also have to claim within the appropriate time limit for the type of personal injury claim you’re making.

Why Is There A Time Limit On Personal Injury Claims?

Time limits for different claim types are enshrined in law under the Limitation Act 1980, which came into force on 1st May 1981. This act lists how long people could have to take legal action in a variety of cases. Most limitation periods for personal injury claims are detailed in section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980). However, some exceptions appear in section 33 of the Act related to discretionary exclusions.

If you’re wondering how long after an accident you can claim in the UK, you can always call our team for free legal advice. Our experts could help ascertain whether you still have time to claim before the limitation date. If you are within a reasonable timeframe before the end of the limitation period, they could quickly connect you with a personal injury solicitor to help you start your claim.

When Does The Limitation Period Begin?

In general terms, the limitation period begins on either the date of the incident or the date you obtained knowledge of the incident and subsequent injury caused by someone else.

What Is The Date Of The Accident Or Incident?

This is the date you sustained injuries as the victim of medical negligence, a car accident, a workplace accident, or a slip, trip or fall in a public place, for example. In many cases, people are aware of their injuries immediately as an accident occurs. In this situation, your limitation period would begin on the date you sustained those injuries.

The Date Of Knowledge

In other cases, you might not be aware of your injuries right away. This may be because your injury symptoms were not present at the time of the incident. In other cases, you may develop symptoms after a long time has passed. For example, work-related asbestosis symptoms may begin some years after your exposure to asbestos in the workplace. In this case, the date of knowledge would be when you either receive a diagnosis of work-related asbestosis or are given enough information to make the connection between your past employment and your condition

The Time Limit For A Child Injury Claim

The personal injury claim time limit that applies to child injury depends on who is claiming:

  • If a child is injured in an accident, their litigation friend (usually a parent or guardian) could claim compensation on their behalf from the date of the accident to their eighteenth birthday.
  • If no one has claimed on behalf of the child before them turning eighteen, they could launch a claim themselves. The three-year limitation period would begin on the date of their eighteenth birthday. Therefore, they could have until they turn 21 to claim for themselves.

Is There A Time Limit On Making A Car Accident Claim?

If you sustain injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation. You could make a car accident claim as a:

  • Passenger
  • Driver
  • Pedestrian
  • Cyclist
  • Motorcyclist

Usually, the time limit on personal injury claims of this type is three years from the date of the accident.

Is There A Time Limit On Making A Fatal Accident Claim?

If you are claiming because you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you may wonder if the time limit is different from other types of personal injury claims. Whether you are claiming as a dependent or the estate of the deceased, the limitation period is three years from:

  • The date of the person’s death


  • The date the death is linked to an accident/incident

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, we could offer free legal advice on whether you could make a claim.

What If The Victim Has A Diminished Mental Capacity?

Those who have diminished mental capacity are not subject to a time limit when claiming personal injury compensation. Similar to child injury claims, a litigation friend could file a claim on their behalf.

If a claimant recovered their mental capacity, they would be subject to a limitation period. For example, this period would only begin once they were discharged from treatment.

Time Limits On A Personal Injury Claim

Below, we have put together a table showing some of the most common time limits on personal injury claims.

Situation Time Limit
Criminal Injury Claims (Via CICA) Usually 2 years
Personal injury claims (workplace accidents, slips, trips and falls, public place accidents) Usually 3 years
Medical negligence claims Usually 3 years
Package holiday accident claims Usually 3 years
Child accident claims made by an adult acting on their behalf Usually until child’s 18th birthday
Claims for injuries sustained as a child, made once the child becomes an adult Usually Until 21st birthday
Fatal illness/injury Usually 3 years
Claims made by others for those with diminished mental capacity Usually no limit
Claims for those treated under the Mental Health Act Usually 3 years from discharge date

As we mentioned, it would be wise to obtain advice on your own specific claim as soon as possible after the date of knowledge or the date of the accident. We would be happy to offer free legal advice over the phone.

No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claims

If you have strong grounds to start a personal injury claim, then you could seek help from a solicitor. If you get in touch with our advisors, they may connect you with a solicitor on our panel.

A No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel may offer to help with your claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under such an agreement, you won’t need to pay any upfront or ongoing fees for their services. Also, if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t need to pay your solicitor for the work they have done on your case.

If your claim is successful, then the solicitor who has provided their services under a CFA can take a legally capped percentage from the compensation awarded to you. This is referred to as a success fee.

To learn more about No Win No Fee solicitors or the personal injury claim time limit, you can contact our advisors, who can provide free advice.

All you need to do to contact our advisors is either:

More Information

Claiming For Medical Negligence And Wrongful Death – Here, you can find out how to make a claim for medical negligence and wrongful death.

Criminal Injury Claims For Victims’ Families – If you’re considering claiming for a loved one killed through criminal injury, this guide could be useful.

Accident At Work Claims Process – If you have suffered a personal injury while at work you can find everything about the claims process here.

Child Injury Claims -We provide further guidance on claiming for a child here.

Criminal Injury Claims – You can find out more about claiming for criminal injury from the CICA here.

Health And Safety At Work – You can read more about safety and health at work on the HSE website.

Litigation Friend – If you intend on claiming on behalf of someone else, you may need to apply to be their litigation friend.