Am I eligible to make a personal injury claim?

If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, the law entitles you to claim financial compensation. To make a successful claim, you must meet certain criteria:

Can I make an injury compensation claim?

In most cases, to make a successful no win, no fee claim:

  • your injury must have happened in the last 3 years (limitation) and
  • your injury must have been caused by another party (causation) and
  • that party must have owed you a duty of care (liability).

Limitation - When were you injured?

If you have been injured in an accident, you have up to 3 years to start a claim. This 3-year period is called the 'limitation period' - the last day of which is called the 'limitation date'.

The limitation period starts from the ‘date of knowledge' (also referred to as the 'date of discovery') of your injury or illness.

The date of knowledge is the date that you became aware (or could reasonably have been aware) of your injury.

With most personal injury claims, such as road accidents, work accidents, or public place accidents, the date of the accident and the date of knowledge are the same. If you were aware of your injury on the day of the accident, you would have up to 3 years from the date of the accident to start a claim.

Some injuries and illnesses are diagnosed weeks, months, or even years after the accident or exposure.

A claim could relate to an illness that developed over a longer period (e.g. noise-induced hearing loss) or where the date of exposure is unknown (e.g. asbestos-related disease).

If your injury, or the full extent of your injury, was diagnosed sometime after your accident, the 3-year time limit is calculated from the date of knowledge.

What if a child was injured?

A claim can be made on behalf of a child by a litigation friend at any point up to the child's 18th birthday. The injured person then has a further 3-years, until the date of their 21st birthday, to start their own compensation claim.

Read more:

A guide to making a child injury claim

What other factors affect the limitation date?

Several other factors can affect your claim limitation date, such as the country where you were injured and whether it was a criminal assault.

Read more:

How long after an accident can I claim injury compensation?

Causation - Was your injury caused by the accident?

To make a successful claim, it will be necessary to prove that the accident caused your injury. This principle is known as 'causation'.

For most injury claims, such as a road or work accident, the circumstances of the accident usually explain the cause of the injury.

Sometimes the circumstances can be more complicated. In medical negligence cases, it can be difficult to prove that the injury was caused by negligence, rather than a health issue that would have arisen anyway.

To establish causation, your solicitor will collate as much evidence as possible to determine the circumstances that led to your injury or illness.

Liability - Who is legally responsible for your injury?

To be held legally liable for your injury, the defendant must have owed you a 'duty of care'.

A duty of care is when a person, company or organisation has a legal obligation to safeguard the well-being of others.

For example:

  • an employer has a duty of care to their employees
  • a doctor has a duty of care to his patients
  • a road user has a duty of care to other road users.

See also:

What if there is uncertainty over blame for my injury?

My injury was my fault. Can I still claim compensation?

Can I claim injury compensation if it was an accident?

Can I claim for an injury if partly to blame for an accident?

Online Claim Checker

To find out if you can make a personal injury claim online, try our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim online

How we can help you

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:

  • 8am to 9pm weekdays
  • 9am to 6pm on Saturday
  • 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Can I make an injury claim? FAQ's

What if I feel I was responsible (or partly responsible) for my injury?

If you were injured as a driver or pedestrian and you were partly responsible for your accident, you could claim a reduced compensation amount, though a split liability agreement.

However, if you were injured at work as the result of an accident you may have caused, you may be able to claim the full compensation amount.

Your solicitor will consider factors such as:

  • Did your employer provide you with adequate training?
  • Were you given suitable protective equipment?
  • Did your manager ask you to do something unsafe?

Even if you believe you were fully or partly responsible for your injuries, your employer may still have breached their duty of care towards you. Regardless of the circumstances of an accident at work, you should always discuss your options with a solicitor.

Read more about what happens if there is uncertainty over to who is to blame?

What if another employee caused my injury?

Even if another employee caused your injury, the employer is still legally responsible, under that principle of vicarious liability.

Can I claim right up to the 3-year limit?

Technically, yes. However, in practice, probably not.

Many solicitors will not take on a case that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires.

Read more about solicitors and limitation dates

I am eligible to claim - could a solicitor still refuse to take my case on?

In short, yes. Personal injury solicitors will carry out a risk assessment process (often referred to as ‘client vetting’ or ‘triage’) when considering whether to represent a claimant.

It is essential to understand that solicitors are typically thinking about the chances of success and not merely whether there is technically a legal claim or not.

Different solicitors with different levels of experience may have a different opinion about how risky a case is, so it is critical that you do not give up if you are initially turned down by one firm.

Your claim will be made against the person, company or other party who caused the accident that resulted in your injury (known as ‘causation’), if they can be held liable (referred to as ‘liability’).

I didn't get medical help - can I make an injury claim?

If you did not seek medical attention immediately after an accident, will you still be able to make a successful personal

Read more

Can I claim injury compensation if I signed a disclaimer?

When participating in activities such as sporting events and exercise classes, you may be asked to sign a disclaimer before taking part. If an accident does subsequently occur, can you still make a personal injury claim?

'Disclaimers' or 'exemption clauses' are terms which seek to exclude or limit liability. They are in common use and take many different forms. If the disclaimer hinders you from seeking redress from organisations that have not complied with their obligations, the disclaimer may be considered unfair.

Read more