How Long After An Accident At Work Can I Make A Claim?

This article aims to answer the question, ‘how long after an accident at work can I make a claim?’ This guide will look at the time limitations of making a claim and how this could affect the claims process. 

how long after an accident at work can I make a claim?

A guide answering the question ‘how long after an accident at work can I make a claim?’

Read on to find out more about how long after an accident at work you can claim. You can also get in touch with our advisors at any time to find out more or be passed through to a solicitor from our panel. 

Select A Section

  1. How Long After An Accident At Work Can I Make A Claim?
  2. Does The Accident At Work Claim Time Limit Always Apply?
  3. Time Limits For Asbestosis And Mesothelioma
  4. Time Limits For The Under 18’s
  5. Check Our Accident At Work Claims Calculator
  6. Contact Us To Get Answers To The Question, How Long After An Accident At Work Can I Make A Claim?

How Long After An Accident At Work Can I Make A Claim?

To make a valid claim, you must start it within a certain time period. It could be time-barred if you attempt to start a claim outside this time period.

Time limitations are outlined in the Limitation Act 1980. This states that the general time limit for personal injury claims is 3 years. This could be 3 years from the date the incident occurred or 3 years from when you became aware that the accident at work had caused you harm. 

For example, if you were exposed to hazardous substances at work, this could cause internal damage that you are unaware of until later. If you can still prove that the harm was a direct result of your employer’s negligence, you could still potentially claim compensation. 

However, there are exceptions to this 3-year limitation. This article will look at these exceptions in more detail in further sections. You can also get in touch with us to find out more.

Does The Accident At Work Claim Time Limit Always Apply?

As mentioned, the answer to, ‘how long after an accident at work can I make a claim?’ is generally 3 years. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

One exception to this rule is in the cases of adults with diminished mental capacity. If an adult with limited mental capacity comes to harm in an accident at work, they may be unable to represent themselves in civil proceedings. They would need a litigation friend.

Litigation friends are court-appointed representatives of the claimant. An adult can apply to the court to be a litigation friend, and the court will assess if they can be trusted to make decisions on the claimant’s behalf. The court can also appoint a litigation friend. 

The 3-year time limit is suspended indefinitely for those with diminished mental capacity. If the claimant ever makes a recovery, this suspension ends. The claimant would have 3 years from the recovery date to start a claim on their own behalf.

There is also an exception if the work accident has led to accidental death. In these cases, a relevant family member under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 can start a claim within 3 years from the date of death. They could also potentially start a claim within 3 years of becoming aware the workplace accident caused the death. 

If the deceased started a claim before their passing, but it was not settled, the family can still make a new claim within 3 years of their death. They can claim for the personal injury the deceased suffered including the psychological damage they experienced. 

Time Limits Explained

Please see below for a table explaining how long after an accident at work you can make a claim. 

Injury Claim TypeTime LimitNotes
General Workplace Accident Claims3 years from the date of accident or knowledge.
Claimant is Under 18Any time up until the child turns 18. Alternatively, 3 years from their 18th birthday. A litigation friend is required until the claimant turns 18.
Claimant Has Diminished Mental CapacityTime limit is suspended unless the claimant recovers. Once recovered, the claimant has 3 years.A litigation friend is needed unless the claimant makes a recovery.
Work-Related Asbestosis & Mesothelioma Claims3 years from the date of knowledge.
Fatal Injury Claims3 years from the death date.

Time Limits For Asbestosis And Mesothelioma

You may also be wondering, ‘how long after an accident at work can I make a claim if I have asbestosis or mesothelioma?’ In these cases, the time limit can work a little differently as the symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma may not manifest for many years after exposure. 

Because it may be difficult to determine the specific date of asbestos exposure, the 3-year time limitation will generally be from the date of knowledge. 

Time Limits For The Under 18’s

If someone under the age of 18 is injured in the workplace, how long after the accident at work can they make a claim? If the claimant is under 18, they cannot represent themselves in civil proceedings. This means they will need a litigation friend.

A litigation friend can start a claim on behalf of a child at any time until the claimant turns 18. After their 18th birthday, they have until they are 21 to start a claim for themselves. 

Get in touch with our advisors today to find out more. 

Check Our Accident At Work Claims Calculator

The table in this section includes bracketed compensation amounts you could receive in an accident at work claim. These figures are in the Judicial College Guidelines, which legal professionals use to help evaluate how much you could be paid for the suffering caused by the accident. This is also known as general damages. 

Part of the claims process will also include a medical appointment for a full evaluation of the severity and effects of your injuries.

InjurySeverityAmountNotes
DeathFull Awareness£11,770 to £22,350Lung damage and severe burns but there will be full awareness for a short period and then fluctuating consciousness for between 4-5 weeks. There will also be related intrusive treatment or serious physical/orthopaedic injuries. Death will happen within a couple of weeks to 3 months.
Asbestos-Related Disease(A)£65,710 to £118,150Mesothelioma that causes severe pain and has a negative effect on quality of life and functionality.
Hernia(A)£13,970 to £22,680Continuous pain with a limitation on sport, employment and physical activities after repair.
PsychiatricLess Severe£1,440 to £5,500This bracket is judged upon the extent to which activities were affected and how long for.
Mental Anguish-£4,380Reduction in expectation of life or fear of impending death.
Partial Hearing Loss and/or Tinnitus(iii)£11,820 to £13,970Mild tinnitus and noise induced hearing loss.
BackModerate£11,730 to £26,050Could include a disturbance of the ligaments and muscles. The results could be soft tissue injuries or backache.
Lung Disease(D)£29,380 to £51,460Breathing difficulty that leads to fairly frequent use of an inhaler.
Head/BrainMinor£2,070 to £11,980If there is any related brain damage, it will be minimal.
FootSerious£23,460 to £36,790Injuries that lead to prolonged treatment, a risk of fusion surgery and continuous pain from traumatic arthritis. Or a risk of future arthritis.

It is also possible to claim back the costs of specific financial loss relating to your accident or injury, e.g. loss of earnings. This is special damages.

You can also claim for the potential financial loss you could experience in the future. You can prove special damages by providing payslips, bank statements or receipts, for example. 

Contact Us To Get Answers To The Question, How Long After An Accident At Work Can I Make A Claim?

Though we recommend hiring a solicitor to help you with a claim, you may be concerned about the costs attached. The workplace accident solicitors from our panel can offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. What could this mean for you?

  • Only paying your solicitor a legally capped success fee if they help you with a successful claim
  • Not paying your solicitor at all if your claim is unsuccessful
  • No upfront or ongoing solicitor fees

If this sounds appealing to you, why not get in touch today? Our advisors can offer free and personalised guidance to help you. They could also connect you with a specialised injury at work solicitor from our panel.

How Long After An Accident At Work Can I Make A Claim?

We hope this article answered the question, ‘how long after an accident at work can I make a claim?’, and any other questions you may have had. For further guidance, please see below. 

What Could You Claim For Work-Related Back Injuries? – If you’ve suffered a back injury at work, learn how much you could claim. 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Work Claims – You could claim if being exposed to carbon monoxide at work has caused you harm. Find out how in our article. 

What Are My Rights After An Accident at Work? – Learn more about your rights if you’ve had an accident at work. 

Managing Risks And Risk Assessment – The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) page on risk assessment. 

HSE Statistics – Statistics about accidents at work. 

Mesothelioma UK – This registered charity aims to support those suffering from mesothelioma. 

Please get in touch if you have any further queries about ‘how long after an accident at work can I make a claim?’

Article by AO

Publisher UI