By Cat Mulligan. Last Updated 29th September. If you have been harmed in a road accident that was not your fault, you may be curious as to know how long a car accident claim may take. Personal injury claims after a road traffic accident can take different lengths of time to complete depending on each unique circumstance. However, what is important is how long you have to start a car accident claim. In this guide, we shall look at the time limits set in law, how to claim compensation if you were injured in a car accident that another party caused, and what No Win No Fee means.
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, all road users owe a duty of care not to cause accidents and harm. In other words, they are responsible for operating their vehicles safely to protect themselves and others. So, if another driver acts negligently and causes an accident which injures you, you could claim compensation.
Public Interest Lawyers could help. Our panel of personal injury claim lawyers have solid experience assisting claimants to get the compensation they deserve for road traffic accident injuries. A skilled lawyer from our panel can work on your case if you are eligible to claim.
Please get in touch with our team to see if you can make a No Win No Fee claim:
- Call 0800 408 7825
- Contact us about claiming via our website
- Or ask an advisor a question using the support widget below
Select A Section
- How Long Does A Car Accident Claim Take?
- What Factors Could Affect How Long A Claim Takes?
- Does The Severity Of Injury Affect How Long A Car Accident Claim Takes?
- Other Ways To Claim For Car Accidents
- Check Examples Of Payouts For Car Accident Claims
- Talk To Us To See How Long A Car Accident Claim May Take
As we mentioned earlier, all road users owe each other a duty of care. To fulfil this duty of care, they must follow the mandatory rules set out by the Highway Code. If a road user breaches their duty of care, and you are injured as a result, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
The time it takes to make a claim can vary, and we’ll discuss this further later on in this guide. However, you have to start your claim within three years of the accident. This time limit applies to all personal injury claims and is set out by the Limitation Act 1980. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. You can talk to our advisors to learn more about this.
If you’re wondering, “How long does a car accident take to settle?” then read on, or contact a member of our team. Our advisors can answer any questions you might have about the claims process.
If you are making a personal injury claim after a car accident, these factors would affect how long it takes to settle your claim:
- The severity of your car accident injuries. For example, if you are seriously injured, you may need extensive treatment and care before a value can be put on your injury.
- A defendant who is not admitting liability can delay a claim.
- Whether the claim is settled out of court or in court by a judge.
- The length of time it takes to collect evidence. For example, if there is a lengthy police investigation, it will take longer to get a police report.
If you choose to work with a lawyer from our panel, they will arrange for you to have a medical appointment. During the appointment, a physician will examine your injuries, what medical treatment you may need and how your injuries may impact your quality of life. The medical report will help value your claim.
If you have severe or complex injuries, you may need further medical tests or assessments, which can lengthen the claims process.
Securing An Interim Payment
After an accident, an injured person may have immediate expenses. For example, if your injuries cause a disability, you may require mobility equipment and adaptations to your home. Suppose the defendant has admitted liability or the claim looks in your favour, in that case, the claimant may be entitled to an interim payment to cover these expenses before the final settlement has been agreed upon.
Now, let’s look at alternative ways to claim compensation for injuries after a car accident.
How Long Do Claims Through The Official Injury Claim Portal Take?
The Whiplash Reform Programme might apply to you if you suffered whiplash injuries. The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 mean that personal injury claims for whiplash caused in a road traffic accident valued at £5,000 or less must be made through the government’s Official Injury Claims portal. This portal is for drivers and passengers over the age of 18. The claims are normally a 5 step process, which hopefully ends with an offer of compensation.
The rules of the Whiplash Reform Programme do not apply to cyclists, motorcyclists, sidecar passengers and pedestrians who wish to make a whiplash injury claim.
How Long Do Criminal Injury Claims Take?
You can sometimes make a criminal injury claim after a road traffic accident if illegal activity is involved. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) may process the claim. The CICA aims to settle most criminal injury claims within 12 months. However, factors such as your injuries’ severity or difficulty obtaining evidence can affect how long your claim for criminal injury compensation takes.
If your car accident claim is successful, these damages may be paid:
- General damage payment: to compensate you for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity your injuries caused.
- Special damage payment: to compensate you for any unavoidable financial losses your injuries caused. For example, a loss of earnings if you had to take unpaid time off work to recover.
We have created a compensation table to help you understand how much your general damage payment could be worth. Just look up the injuries you experienced to see how much compensation you could receive. The table does not include a special damage payment.
|Severe Back Injuries (A) (i)
|£91,090 to £160,980
|Spinal injuries which result in pain and disability. The injury has also resulted in some level of paralysis.
|Severe Arm Injuries
|£96,160 to £130,930
|Extremely serious injuries falling short of amputation.
|Leg Injury – Amputation (A) (iii)
|£104,830 to £137,470
|An above the knee amputation of one leg.
|Leg Injury Less Serious (i)
|£17,960 to £27,760
|Soft tissue injuries or a fracture of a leg bone that does not make a full recovery.
|Severe Neck Injuries (A) (iii)
|£45,470 to £55,990
|An injury which results in chronic conditions and permanent levels of significant disability. The injury could have been a fracture, dislocation or severe soft tissue injury.
|Hearing Loss (Deafness/ Tinnitus)
|£31,310 to £45,540
|Complete loss of hearing in one ear. The hearing loss could include tinnitus.
|Injuries to the Pelvis and Hips (A) Severe (i)
|£78,400 to £130,930
|Severe fractures of the pelvis that cause a ruptured bladder.
|Whiplash Amounts According to The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021
|More than 15 months, but not more than 18 months
|Whiplash Amounts According to The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021
|More than 18 months, but not more than 24 months
We referenced the Judicial College’s 16th edition guidelines for the compensation brackets in the table. If your claim is successful, other factors will determine how much you receive, so the contents of the table are not guaranteed payments. Please call Public Interest Lawyers today; our team can value your claim.
If you make a whiplash injury claim, through the government’s compensation portal, the tariff will determine the amount of compensation you can receive. Please refer to the bottom two entries in the table to see how much you could receive in whiplash compensation.
Every claim is different. So if you are wondering, “How long does a car accident claim take?” please call our advisors, who can estimate how long it may take to settle your claim.
A solicitor from our panel can take on your claim as a No Win No Fee case. When you make a No Win No Fee claim, you will not pay a fee upfront. As an alternative, you will pay a success fee on the condition that you win your claim.
Please get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers to see if you can claim.
- Call our helpline on 0800 408 7825 for free legal advice
- Contact us to request a callback
- Or type a question into the support bar
Learn More About Time Limits For Injury Claims
The following resources could be helpful if you want to make an injury claim.
Legal obligations of drivers and riders – a UK government guide
Check your vehicle is safe to drive – help and advice from the UK government
Information about whiplash injuries from the NHS
If you have more questions about how long a car accident claim takes, please get in touch with our team today.