Thompsons Solicitors has extensive experience in helping people across the UK secure personal injury compensation in a range of personal injury claims, such as accidents at work claims, medical negligence claims, asbestos disease claims and more. Many people ask how long after an injury or diagnosis takes place do they have to start a claim. Time limits can vary depending on the injury, how you or a loved one was injured and the age of the person injured. 

Here, our expert personal injury lawyers explain more about the time limits you should be aware of when planning on making a personal injury compensation claim. 



1. I’ve suffered an injury – how long do I have to make a personal injury claim? 

If you are over 18 years old, you have three years from the date you suffered your injury to begin a personal injury claim. If you are under 18 years of age, you have three years from the date of your 18th birthday to begin a personal injury claim. 

2. I was diagnosed as needing an operation and had that operation more than three years ago. Could I still make a medical negligence compensation claim? 

Yes. The date that matters is the date you could have reasonably known that your injury was a result of the medical treatment you received. You have three years from that date to make a claim. So, not three years from the date of – for example – a diagnosis or operation, but three years from the date you were told, or could establish, that something related to that operation went wrong, or caused you harm. 

3. Are there any other deadlines I need to be aware of when thinking about making a medical negligence claim? 

Yes. If you are making a product liability medical negligence compensation claim there may be a time limit based on when the defective product was first manufactured. This will depend on the longevity of the medical product. For example, metal-on-metal hip implants are manufactured to last 10 to 12 years, so you will be unable to make a medical negligence compensation claim if your hip implant is older than that. 

However, these time limits can vary from product to product – if you have any concerns, we encourage you to contact our medical negligence lawyers so that they can advise you on whether you could be eligible to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim. Call 0800 0 224 224 today or fill out our free online compensation claim form

4. Can I make a personal injury claim if myself, or a loved one, has developed a disease after exposure to a substance – such as asbestos - decades ago? 

Yes. Some diseases such as mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos exposure, take decades to develop. While a person may have been exposed to asbestos materials as far back as the 1950s, symptoms may not manifest themselves for several decades. 

The time limit for making a disease-related compensation claim is usually three years from the date of diagnosis – not three years from the date of exposure. 

Thompsons Solicitors has supported hundreds of thousands of people with an asbestos-related disease, as well as the families of those who have been affected.

5. I want to make a personal injury claim on behalf of my child. Are the time limits different? 

If a child is under the age of 18 and has suffered a personal injury, a parent or guardian can make a personal injury compensation claim on the child’s behalf up until the child turns 18 years old. 

Alternatively, a person who was injured as a child has three years from the date they turn 18 to make a claim themselves. 

6. What do I need to make a personal injury compensation claim? 

Successful personal injury claims require evidence that someone else was at fault for causing the injury. This can include witness reports, detailed accounts of an injury or illness in an accident log book and photography of the scene where you were injured. Your solicitor will work with you to prepare this evidence – do not be discouraged if you don’t have copies when you make an initial call. Having this evidence will not only strengthen your case but will also help us pinpoint when the accident happened, and see whether it falls within the necessary time limits. 

7. Do claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) have different time limits? 

Yes. For adults, the claims must be made no later than two years after the incident occurred. There are very limited exceptions where this is extended. 

For those under 18 years old at the time of the incident, claims can be made up until the person’s 20th birthday, though there is an exception if the incident of abuse took place before someone turned 18, but wasn’t reported to the police at the time. In those circumstances, the application can be made within two years of the incident being reported to the police. However, evidence will need to be supplied as to why the application couldn’t be made sooner. 

Trust Thompsons Solicitors to help you secure compensation in a personal injury claim. Our personal injury specialists are ready to help - call 0800 0 224 224 or fill out our quick online Start a Claim form today.