Personal Injury Compensation – what are the time limits for making a claim?

Posted Mar 05, 2020.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer an injury through an accident that was not your fault, you may well want to begin your claim for compensation straight away. As well as ultimately being able to settle your claim and receive any compensation more quickly, it is also more probable that the details of your accident will still be clear in the minds of any witnesses. Getting started with your claim immediately also gives your solicitor, should there be any uncertainty, more time to establish who the claim is to me made against.

However, a large number of injury claims are made well after the date of the accident, and for many different reasons. If a claim is being made by an adult, then generally speaking, you have 3 years from the date of the accident or incident in which to start your claim. This means that within the 3 year period, you must have either settled your claim or have issued court proceedings.

There are important exceptions though; if you are making a claim as a result of an industrial accident or illness, this 3 year time limit (known as the Limitation Period) only starts from the date that you first became aware of your illness. This knowledge is usually following the results of a professional medical examination by a doctor. Another significant exception is if you have suffered an injury or illness as a result of negligence by a medical professional (referred to as a clinical or medical negligence claim). In these cases, the 3 year period starts from when the negligent act has been formally identified as being the cause of your injury or illness; in some cases, this may happen many years after the original negligence.

Compensation Claims for Children

When it comes to making an injury claim for a child, the limitation laws are different. Whilst the ‘standard’ 3 year limit still applies (apart from a strange exception for accidents occurring on an aeroplane, in which case it is 2 years), it only starts from the child’s 18th birthday, which in legal terms is the formal age of maturity. The law is different here to give the parents or legal guardians of the child a choice: they can decide to either start a claim straight away, with any compensation awarded being placed in special fund until the child turns 18; or they can wait till the child is 18, at which time they can make their own decision as an adult as to how to proceed with their claim. This is an important decision for a parent or guardian, and we highly recommend seeking professional advice about your own circumstances from a solicitor experienced in child claims.

Type of Accident

Time Limit to Make a Claim

Road Accident (‘RTA’)

3 years for all vehicle types

Trip / Slip or Fall

3 years from date of accident or injury

Work Accident

3 years from date of accident or injury

Medical / Clinical Negligence

3 years from date of cause of injury or date of knowledge

Industrial Disease

3 years from date of knowledge or diagnosis

Criminal Injury

2 years from the date of the criminal act (e.g an assault)

Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors


At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing both adult and child claimants who have been injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault, and helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love delighting our clients when they receive injury compensation they deserve. 

If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us 
online or by phone on 01252 744600.