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How long can you make a claim after an accident?

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What is the time limit for making a personal injury claim?

There is a strict limitation period on personal injury claims. Before you start your claim for compensation and begin court proceedings, it is important that you are aware of the limitation period to ensure that your claim is not time barred.

In the UK, there is a 3 year time limit starting from the date of the accident in which the claimant must begin their personal injury claim for compensation. If a compensation claim is not brought by the claimant within 3 years from the date of the accident, their claim will be time barred.

Due to the strict 3 year limitation for making a compensation claim, we recommend that you get in contact with our personal injury solicitors as soon as possible after the accident occurred in order to discuss your personal injury or illness and begin your compensation claim.

When does the 3 year period in which a claim must be made begin?

In the majority of personal injury cases, the limitation period will start from the date of the accident which caused your injury or illness. Starting from the date on which the accident occurred, you will then have a 3 year period in which to start your claim for compensation.

Following road traffic accidents, a claimant has the same 3 year limitation period in which to start their road traffic accident claim. It must be noted, however, that it is important to collect witness statements and contact your insurance company following a road traffic accident to strengthen your compensation claim.

In the case of a fatal accident, the deceased’s loved ones will have the same time period from the date of the fatal accident in which to make a compensation claim. The compensation that could be awarded in cases such as this could include bereavement damages to compensate for the pain and suffering caused by the loss of a loved one. If a person was financially dependent on the deceased person prior to their death, compensation would also be awarded to reflect the financial loss suffered.

What is the limitation period for children who wish to make a compensation claim?

The time limit for children to begin a compensation claim is different to that of adults dealing with personal injury cases. A child that has suffered a personal injury or illness due to the negligent actions of another person will have a 3 year period, starting from the date of their 18th birthday, in which to start their personal injury compensation claim. This time period will then ‘expire’ on the date of the child’s 21st birthday.

 It must be noted, however, that if a parent or guardian started a claim on behalf of the child suffering from an illness or injury before the child’s 18th birthday, the child will not be eligible to make another personal injury claim when they then turn 18.

Are there any exceptions to the 3 year limitation period?

A compensation claim for a criminal injury has a different time limit than the 3 year time limit that is present for other personal injury cases. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority handles personal injury cases that involve criminal injury. In these cases, a time limit of 2 years is present for claims to be brought, rather than the usual 3 year period.

Another example includes injuries caused by medical negligence that may not be instantly apparent. In this situation, a claimant will have a 3 year time limit in which to start their claim for compensation, but the limitation period will commence from the date of knowledge. In other words, the limitation period will start from the date that the claimant was first made aware that their injury or illness was caused by medical negligence.

Another exception can be seen in accidents, such as road traffic accidents, that left the claimant incapacitated for an extended period of time. In situations such as these, the claimant will have 3 years from the date of recovery to start their compensation claim and commence court proceedings.

Compensation claims for injury or illness caused by accidents that occurred abroad may have different time limits. The time limit for these personal injury cases will depend on the laws of the country in which the accident occurred.

Also, those that lack the mental capacity to make a claim on their own accord are protected under the Mental Health Act 1983. Therefore, the time period will not begin until they cease to be a patient under the act.

Do I need to finish my claim within the 3 year time limit?

Your intention to start your claim for compensation must be registered with the court within 3 years from the date of the accident. In some personal injury cases, depending on the complexity of the case, it may not be possible to reach a settlement or conclude the claim within the specified period. However, as long as you have started your compensation claim within the 3 year limitation period, your claim will not be time barred.

How Beacon Law can assist you

Beacon Law are specialist personal injury solicitors with a wealth of experience in dealing with personal injury claims. We can provide you with specialist legal advice on making a claim and guide you through the process whilst negotiating the best settlement for your accident and injuries.

We understand that the time limits for making a compensation claim can be confusing. If you have been left wondering ‘how long can you make a claim after an accident’, call one of our specialist personal injury lawyers today on 0330 1332 857 or complete our online enquiry form, and one of our experts will call you back.

Beacon Law is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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