What is the time limit for bringing my claim in the UK?

Under current UK law, there are time limits that apply to claims for injuries and illness, but there are also exceptions to the general rule and, in certain limited circumstances, claims may be brought outside the normal time limit with the court’s permission.

For this reason, even if you think you are out of time, please call us, so that we may advise you whether you may still be able to bring a claim.

On the other hand, if you believe that you have plenty of time to bring your claim, it is still advisable to contact us as soon as possible, so that the evidence needed to pursue your claim may be collected and preserved. Indeed, the earlier a claim is pursued the better, whilst the evidence is still available and any witnesses can still be located and their memories are still fresh.

General time limits for personal injury claims

The time limit for bringing accident claims is usually three years from the date of the accident. If court proceedings have not been brought within that time, you would normally be barred from bringing your claim.

For asbestos-related diseases, the claim time limit is normally three years from the diagnosis of the asbestos-released illness.

In medical negligence cases, the time limit is usually three years from the date that the medical negligence caused the injury.

More about personal injury claim time limits

There are exceptions to the general three-year rule, including:

  • Children have until their 21st birthday to bring their claim because the three year time limit does not begin to run until they are 18 years old.
  • People who are incapable of managing their property and affairs due to a mental disorder are not subject to the three year time limit, unless and until their mental capacity returns. If it returns, then the three year time limit will begin to run at that stage.
  • The death of the accident or disease victim within the three year time limit leaves it open to the personal representatives of the victim’s estate to continue or commence the claim within a further three years from the date of death.
  • Where you did not know that you had been injured by your opponent, then the three year time limit will only begin to run from when you knew or should have known that your opponent had injured you. This often arises in medical negligence cases and in asbestos claims, where the disease develops many years after the contact with asbestos.

There are also other types of case where different time limits apply, including:

  • Victims of crime have two years from the date of the crime to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
  • Accidents abroad, on boats or on planes may have different time limits. For example, an accident on a plane has a two year time limit and the time limit for accidents abroad may vary, depending on the law of the country where the accident took place.
    It can be very complicated to work out the time limit in some cases and so we recommend that you do not delay and contact us as soon as possible. We will then look into this for you and advise you about the time limit that applies in your case.

We have worked with clients who had been told by another solicitor previously that their claim was out of time, but when we looked into the circumstances, we discovered that this was not true, and we were able to successfully claim a significant sum on their behalf. It’s always worth checking with us to see if there is still time to claim for your accident, medical negligence or asbestos-related disease.

Once we know more about your injuries or illness and have assessed your claim in more detail, we will be able to provide you with an estimate of how much compensation we think you should be awarded.


Dedicated Accident Solicitors and Dedicated Asbestos Solicitors are trading names of John Das Limited, a company registered in England. John Das Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 573295). We do not accept service by email or fax.