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How Long After An Accident Can I Claim?

Find out how much your personal injury claim may be worth



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Contact us today by calling 0330 1332 857 to find out if you have a claim.

Wondering how long after an accident you can make a claim? This is one of the most common questions people ask when thinking about the compensation claim process.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault or you were the victim of medical negligence, then your first priority will have been taking care of your injuries and well-being. Most people will not start considering making a claim until they are at least partially recovered from their injuries or trauma.

Personal injury claims are bound by strict time limits and the common answer to ‘how long after an accident can I claim?’ is three years after the accident. However, like many things in law, there are exceptions and caveats to be aware of.

If you are considering making a personal injury claim for compensation, then read on to find out how long after an accident you are eligible to make a claim. Our team of personal injury solicitors at Beacon Law are on hand to assist you with any questions you may have about the claims process.

What is the Limitation Period?

As outlined in the section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980, the limitation period for personal injury claims is generally three years from the date of the accident, or from the date when the injury was first diagnosed. This means that a person typically has three years to file a claim for compensation for their personal injury.

However, there are some exceptions to the general personal injury claims time limit as outlined in the next section.

What are the different time limits for making a claim?

Claims involving children

If the injured person is under 18 years old at the time of the incident, the three-year time limit begins on their 18th birthday. However, a parent or legal guardian can make a claim on behalf of the child before they turn 18.

Mental capacity

If the injured person lacks mental capacity at the time of the incident, there is no time limit for making a claim until they regain capacity. Once capacity is recovered, the three-year limitation period applies.

Fatal accidents

In cases where someone has died due to negligence, such as in a car accident, the family or dependents may have three years from the date of death to make a claim.

Industrial disease

For illnesses or diseases caused by exposure to harmful substances in the workplace (such as asbestos-related diseases), the three-year limitation period may start from the date of diagnosis or the date when the link between the illness and the working conditions became known.

Criminal injuries

The time limit for making a criminal injuries claim is usually two years from the date of the incident. The compensation is typically awarded through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a government-funded organisation that provides financial compensation to victims of violent crimes.

Injuries or illnesses on planes or boats

If you suffered an injury that was not your fault on a plane or a ship, then the time limit for making a personal injury claim is typically two years.

Can you make a claim if the time limit has passed?

If you miss the legal time frame for making a personal injury claim, then your claim will be ‘statute-barred’ or ‘time-barred’. These are legal terms that mean the injured party has missed the deadline for initiating legal proceedings to seek compensation for their injuries.

Why should you make a claim sooner rather than later?

There are several important reasons aside from the legal time limits as to why it’s generally advisable to make a personal injury claim sooner rather than later, including:

  1. Preservation of Evidence: Over time, evidence related to the accident or injury may degrade, become lost, or be destroyed. Promptly gathering evidence such as witness statements, photographs, medical records, and other documentation can be crucial in establishing the circumstances of the incident and proving liability.
  2. Memory and Witness Testimony: Memories fade over time, and witnesses may become more challenging to locate, or their recollections may become less reliable. By initiating the claims process promptly, you increase the likelihood of obtaining accurate and detailed witness testimony, which can strengthen your case.
  3. Medical Treatment and Rehabilitation: Seeking compensation early can help ensure that you have the financial resources to access necessary medical treatment, rehabilitation, and support services promptly. This can contribute to a faster recovery and better long-term outcomes.
  4. Financial Stability: Personal injuries can result in significant financial burdens, including medical expenses, lost income due to time off work, and other related costs. Pursuing a claim promptly can provide economic stability and alleviate some of the financial pressures associated with the injury.
  5. Negotiation and Settlement: Initiating the claims process early allows for more time for negotiation and settlement discussions with the responsible party or their insurance company. Early settlement can expedite the resolution of your claim and provide you with compensation sooner.
  6. Peace of Mind: Taking proactive steps to address your injury through the legal process can provide peace of mind and a sense of closure, allowing you to focus on your recovery and moving forward with your life.

Overall, making a personal injury claim sooner rather than later can help protect your legal rights, strengthen your case, and ensure that you receive the compensation and support you deserve in a timely manner.

How can Beacon Law assist?

If you have suffered an accident that was not your fault, a personal injury claim may help you to get your life back on track. Beacon Law is a leading law firm of personal injury solicitors, offering expert legal advice and a range of personal injury claim services to our clients. We provide a high level of service to all our clients and work hard to ensure they receive the appropriate treatment and the highest level of compensation for their injuries.

We provide all personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis. This means that we can help you get the compensation you deserve without you having to worry about the costs of making a claim.

If you require advice on your potential claim, please contact us on 0330 1332 857. Alternatively, please complete our online form and one of our specialist solicitors will contact you to help you start your claim.

Beacon Law are a Solicitors registered in England and Wales with our registered office based in Manchester. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.


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