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Time limits for making a claim

As a general rule to make a claim for personal injury compensation in England, Wales and Scotland, you have 3 years from the date of the accident to pursue a claim.  If the claim is not settled or Court Proceedings issued by the 3rd anniversary then your claim may be lost forever, or statute barred. There are, however, certain exceptions to this:

  • In England and Wales if the injured party is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident the 3 year time limit does not start running until they reach the age of 18 and in Scotland the age of 16.
  • If the person does not have mental capacity either before or as a result of the accident, the 3 year time limit does not begin to run until they regain the capacity to bring a claim.  Issues regarding capacity are complicated and we would be happy to speak to you in detail on this point. 
  • There are certain types of cases where a claimant may not be aware that they have suffered an illness or injury until some period of time later. For example, if you have been exposed to loud noise or harmful substances at work, it may take more than 3 years for any symptoms to appear (such as hearing loss or some types of respiratory disease). In those types of situations, the time limit does not start to run until the date you are aware (or should have been aware) you have sustained an injury, such as being told about it by your doctor and that this is due to your employment. As this is a complex subject, it is best to seek professional advice from your solicitor.
  • If your case involves a claim under the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) Untraced Drivers Agreement, then you need to have the completed application form with the MIB by the third anniversary of the accident. However if your claim includes a claim for compensation for damage to property, then the application needs to be with the MIB within 9 months of the date of the accident, whether or not the claim includes personal injury as well.
  • Injuries sustained as a result of a criminal act, for example assault, and where a claim is made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICA claims), then a limitation period of 2 years applies. The same exceptions apply in relation to those under the age of 18 at the time of the injury and those lacking capacity. There may also be other exceptions where the consequence of the assault is not discovered until after the 2 year period has expired, for example an infection.
  • Accidents that occur abroad will be the subject of a variety of different time limits, which can be as short as a year. The sooner you contact us the better, so we can identify the appropriate time limit and give you the best chance of successfully pursuing your claim.


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