Can I Claim for an Accident After Three Years?

In most cases of personal injury, there’s a deadline to make a claim. You have three years from the date of your accident to start your claim.

But if you weren’t aware of the time limit, you may then want to know if it’s possible to claim for your accident after three years.

Unfortunately, in most cases, it won’t generally be possible. But there are certain situations where you may be able to make a claim after the three-year deadline is up.

When you can claim after three years

Certain circumstances can mean you’re allowed more time to make a claim. These include:

  • Claiming for children

If you’re claiming on behalf of a child, you’ll have an extended deadline. You can claim for them at any point up to their 18th birthday. If you haven’t claimed by then, they’ll have three years from that date to claim for themselves.

This means that children can claim for an accident at any point up to their 21st birthday.

  • Claiming for someone who can’t

You may be claiming for someone who lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves. This could be due to a brain injury or a mental illness. In this case, you won’t have to make your claim within three years of the accident.

You won’t face a deadline until the person you’re claiming for regains the capacity to claim for themselves.

  • Date of knowledge

The date of knowledge refers to the date you found out your injury or illness was caused by someone’s negligence. This is more common with industrial disease or medical negligence claims. This can happen when you haven’t realised your ill health was because of a personal injury.

You’ll have three years from the date of knowledge to make a claim.

  • Death during the claiming process

If a loved one has begun an injury claim but dies during the process, you will be able to take up the pursuit of justice in their memory. The three-year deadline will start again from the date of their death so you can finish your loved one’s claim.

When you’re claiming for a loved one’s death in a fatal accident, you’ll normally have three years to make your claim.

If you’re not sure whether your claim is in time, get in touch

The court may also decide that an exception can be made. But this is very rare and will only be done in exceptional circumstances. You’ll also have to prove that you acted as quickly as possible when you found out about your injury.

There are also situations where you’ll have less than three years to make your claim. For example, you might have been injured in a country where the time limits are shorter. But if you were on a package holiday when you were hurt, you’ll have the usual three years to claim.

Meanwhile, an injury on an international flight could come with a two-year deadline, depending on the convention that the airline’s registered country has signed up to. If you’re not sure about the deadline, just get in touch.

Criminal injury claims are made through a separate system – the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. That gives you two years to make a claim.

Making a claim

Although there are exceptions for certain people making certain claims, most people will have to take legal action within three years of their accident happening.

Three years may sound like a long time, it can pass quickly. That means the best thing to do is start your claim as quickly as you can.

The sooner you start your claim, the more straightforward it could be to get hold of certain pieces of evidence, like CCTV or police reports. Starting your claim quickly will give you the best chance of getting everything submitted in time.

You’ll also probably find it easier to remember the details of what happened to you. Any witnesses to your accident may find the same.

If you need help making a personal injury claim, just give us a call. Our friendly and understanding claims advisors will let you know whether you’re able to claim. Just give us a call or start your claim online.


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