How Long After A Road Traffic Accident Do You Have To Claim?

If you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident, you may be wondering how long after a road traffic accident can you claim? When someone acts negligently on the roads, road traffic accidents could happen, and people could be hurt. If this has happened to you, you could claim compensation. 

how long after a road traffic accident can you claim

How long after a road traffic accident can you claim guide

On the roads, all road users have a duty of care to adhere to the average motorist’s standard of care and skill. Road users also take into account pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, there is a requirement to adhere to the standards laid out in The Highway Code

When this duty of care is breached, accidents and harm could occur. If you’ve been harmed in a road traffic accident, caused by a road user breaching their duty of care you may be considering claiming compensation. But you may be wondering how long after a road traffic accident can you claim?

Read on to find out more about how long after a road traffic accident you can claim. You could also get in touch with us about your claim directly by contacting our advisors for free legal advice. If they think your case could have a good chance of success, they could pass you on to a solicitor from our panel, who can help you start your road traffic accident claim today. 

Select A Section

  1. How Long After A Road Traffic Accident Do You Have To Claim?
  2. Does The 3-Year Rule Always Apply?
  3. How Does The Mental Capacity Act 2005 Affect Limitation Periods?
  4. How Long After A Road Traffic Accident Can You Claim?
  5. Road Traffic Accident Compensation Guidelines
  6. Why Choose Our Service?

How Long After A Road Traffic Accident Do You Have To Claim?

Like all types of claims, a road traffic accident claim has to be started within a certain time after the accident. These time limitations are outlined in the Limitation Act 1980. It will likely be time-barred if someone attempts to start a claim after the limitation period has ended. However, there may be exceptions to this rule. This guide will look at these exceptions in more detail later. 

What Are Limitation Periods?

As we’ve established, you have to start a claim within a certain time frame for it to be considered valid. This could be measured from the date of the accident, the date of knowledge, or the date of death. The date of knowledge means when the injured person became aware of their injury or when they connected the injury to negligence. To claim from the date of death, it is essential that the accidental death was a direct result of the accident or related injuries. 

How long after a road traffic accident can you claim? Generally, for personal injury claims such as these, it would be 3 years from the date of accident, knowledge, or death. 

However, if the claimant is under the age of 18 or does not have the mental capacity to pursue a claim themselves then there are further exceptions.

Do I Really Have 3 Years To Start My Claim?

The time limit to start a road traffic accident claim is generally 3 years. However, there may be circumstances where the time limit could be longer. Contact our advisors if you would like more information. They could tell you if you might be eligible for an exception. 

Does The 3-Year Rule Always Apply?

This section looks in more detail at the exceptions to the general 3 year time limitation set on personal injury claims. 

Child Traffic Accident Claims

If a child is injured in a road traffic accident, it is still possible for them to claim compensation. However, there is an extension on the time limit. 

A child cannot start a claim for compensation until they turn 18. Unless a litigation friend such as a parent or guardian acts on their behalf. If they turn 18 and no claim has been made they have 3 years to begin their own claim. 

A child cannot legally represent themselves in civil proceedings. You may be wondering how they could claim. For a child to claim road traffic accident compensation, they would need a litigation friend to represent them

Limited Mental Capacity

If someone is harmed in a road traffic accident, this could potentially cause them to suffer severe brain damage, making them unable to claim compensation on their own behalf. It’s also possible that a claimant could have had a pre-existing mental condition that means they could not claim for themselves. 

In these instances, the time limit is suspended. During this time a litigation friend can be used to pursue the claim on behalf of the claimant. This lasts until the claimant could be considered to have recovered. After this point, if no claim is made they also have the usual 3 years to start a road traffic accident claim. 

If they do not recover their mental capabilities then no time limit applies. Similar to making a claim for a minor, a litigation friend is also required for those with diminished mental capacity. 

Fatal Accident Claims

If a loved one or relative has suffered a fatal injury, it’s possible that you could claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA is a government agency that aims to compensate victims of violent crime. If a loved one was in a fatal road traffic accident that could have been purposeful, you could potentially claim a criminal injury payout on their behalf

The process for claiming compensation through the CICA is slightly different, as you have to report the incident to the police before you can start a claim. You also must start your claim within 2 years of the accident or the date of death. 

If the fatal road traffic accident was caused by neglect or a breach of duty of care, the time limit would generally be 3 years from the date of death. 

To find out more about what time limitations could apply to you, get in touch with our advisors today for free advice. 

How Does The Mental Capacity Act 2005 Affect Limitation Periods?

Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, those who suffer from diminished mental capabilities will have their time limit suspended. This will be until they recover. In the meantime, a litigation friend could act on their behalf and pursue their claim. If the claimant makes a full recovery then they have three years from the date of recovery to start their compensation claim. If recovery is not likely then there is no time limit. 

Get in touch with our advisors to find out more about how the Act could affect your claim. 

How Long After A Road Traffic Accident Can You Claim?

This section includes an easy to read table outlining all the time limitations that could be attached to a road traffic accident claim. 

Injury Claim TypeTime LimitNotes
Road Traffic Accident Claims Involving Those Over 183 years from the date of accident or knowledge.
Road Traffic Accident Claims Involving Those Under 18Any time up until the child turns 18. Then the usual 3 years. A litigation friend is required for when the claimant is underage.
Road Traffic Accident Claims Involving Those with Diminished Mental CapacitySuspended indefinitely until the claimant has recovered, if applicable. Once recovered, the usual 3 years apply. A litigation friend is required for before the claimant has recovered.
Fatal Road Traffic Accident Claims Via CICA2 years from the date of death.
Fatal Personal Injury Claims3 years from the date of death.

For any further queries on time limitations, our team of advisors could help you if you get in touch today. 

Road Traffic Accident Compensation Guidelines

This section includes a table showing examples taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. These amount brackets are taken from settlements in past court cases and placed in a publication. Compensation for pain and suffering is known as general damages – these figures reflect this head of claim. 

These figures are calculated from past case studies and are taken from the Judicial College guidelines. It is important to note that these figures are not guaranteed compensation amounts. Each case is assessed individually. 

InjurySeverityAmountNotes
BrainModerately Severe£205,580 to £264,650There will be a serious disability with a substantial dependence on others and a need for constant care. The related disabilities could be physical, such as limb paralysis, or cognitive, such as an intellect defecit. There may be a possible risk of associated issues, such as blindness, and a great reduction in life expectancy.
NeckSevere (ii)£61,710 to £122,860Serious damage or fractures to cervical spine discs, causing disabilities of considerable severity. This could lead to loss of movement in the neck and/or loss of function in one or more limbs.
NeckModerate (i)£23,460 to £36,120Dislocations or fractures that cause immediate and severe symptoms. Or serious soft tissue injuries to the neck and back combined. Markedly impaired function or a risk of further issues.
BackSevere (iii)£36,390 to £65,440Fractures or lesions of the discs or vertebral bodies. Soft tissue injuries that lead to chronic conditions with lasting and severe discomfort and pain. Related impaired agility and sexual function.
ShoulderSerious£11,980 to £18,020Dislocation to the shoulder or other injuries causing pain in the shoulder, neck and elbow with a weakness of grip or restricted shoulder movement. Soft tissue injuries where symptoms are intrusive and permanent.
ArmLess Severe£18,020 to £36,770Injuries have resulted in significant disabilities but a good degree of recovery will have taken place or be expected.
Wrist(A)£44,690 to £56,180Complete loss of function in the wrist.
LegVery Serious£51,460 to £85,600Multiple fractures that take years to heal and require extensive treatment. Injuries have led to permanent mobility issues, serious deformity and a limitation of movement.
KneeModerate (i)£13,920 to £24,580Torn cartilage or dislocation resulting in minor instability, weakness or other mild disabilities in the future.
AnkleVery Severe£46,980 to £65,420Severe and unusual fractures and extensive soft tissue damage that lead to deformity or the risk of future amputation.

You may also want to claim special damages as part of your compensation. This aims to reimburse you for specific financial losses attached to your injury. You may also be able to claim for calculable future losses. This could include:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Travel expenses
  • Medical treatments not covered by the NHS
  • Adaption to the home or independence support if a disability requires it

To claim special damages, you need to provide evidence of your losses. This could include receipts for a hearing aid or an invoice for medical treatment. 

Why Choose Our Service?

Hopefully, after reading this article, you feel you understand more about how long after a road traffic accident you can claim. However, you may still be holding back from starting a claim if you are concerned about funding a solicitor’s fees. 

If this is the case, a No Win No Fee agreement could benefit you. If a solicitor offers you their services on a No Win No Fee basis, this means you won’t be obligated to pay out-of-pocket costs during your claim. You also won’t have to pay your solicitor for their work if your claim fails. 

Your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation amount if your claim is successful. Your lawyer will only deduct this once your compensation is paid in full, and is legally capped. The legal cap is in place to ensure you get to keep the majority of your compensation. 

You should know that the solicitors on our panel are likely to offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. If you’re interested in this type of agreement for your road traffic accident claim, why not get in touch? Our team of advisors can offer personalised advice about your claim. They could also pass you on to a solicitor from our panel if they think your case could succeed. 

Related Road Traffic Accident Claims Resources

Thank you for reading our guide on how long after a road traffic accident you can claim. Hopefully, it answered any questions you may have had. For further relevant resources, please see below. 

Can You Claim Hit and Run Compensation? – Learn how to claim compensation for a hit and run incident in this article. 

Uninsured and Untraced Driver Accident Compensation Claim – If you’ve been in a road traffic accident and can’t trace the faulting driver or they are uninsured, see how you could still claim compensation. 

Road Traffic Passenger Accident Claims – Find out how you could claim as a passenger in a road traffic accident. 

Motor Insurers Bureau – You can claim through the MIB if you’ve been hit by a driver that is untraceable or uninsured.

Road Traffic Act 1988 – The UK legislation covering road safety protocols.

Road Accidents and Safety Statistics – The government’s latest statistics on road traffic accidents. 

Thank you for reading our guide about how long after a road traffic accident you can claim.