Does delaying your claim affect the outcome? A case study

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Currently, claim limitation restrictions allow 3 years from the date of an accident, or until the 21st birthday – whichever is longer – in which a claim must be brought.  But does delaying a claim lead to a lower chance of succeeding?

All claimants need time to consider things before claiming compensation for their personal injury and losses, but I thought it might help to compare two very similar accident scenarios and injuries that we’ve had involvement in.  One where the claimant contacted us around 3 weeks after their accident, the other where the claimant waited until their 3 year period was almost over.  Both clients had been involved in accidents at work with nasty injuries and expenses including lost wages, but did the delay affect the claim outcomes?

Claimant A, an immediate claim

Claimant A contacted us after suffering nasty injuries as a result of a fall at work.  In this case, instead of the employer providing an elevated work platform for the claimant to use when working at height, or relevant training regarding the dangers of such work, he was given a rather old ladder with a faulty locking mechanism.  The claimant unfortunately fell onto concrete from around 18 feet, sustaining fractures to both legs, pelvic injuries and fractures to the left arm. This left the client requiring immediate medical assistance, and after spending 3 weeks in hospital with two operations he was discharged as an outpatient to continue his recovery.  He was left unable to work for a period of just over 6 months and with injuries that have a permanent effect on his life.

As the claimant contacted us so quickly, we were able to easily check that the details of the incident and injuries had been properly reported and recorded, that the client knew his rights and link him to an expert solicitor to pursue his claim for personal injury compensation.  Because the claim was made quickly, it was easy to obtain the evidence needed to support his claim, locate witnesses and create as strong a claim as possible.  We were pleased to learn that in just over 12 months after his injuries were sustained, his claim was settled.  It had taken longer than a basic claim due to the severity of injuries and value of the claim.  However, if it had been left longer it would have undoubtedly taken longer.

In this instance, it can clearly be seen that starting his claim quickly benefitted the ease of the claim and the outcome.

Claimant B, a delayed claim

Claimant B contacted us just 2 months before his 3-year claim limitation period would have expired.  He also had fallen from height when a scissor lift platform tipped over after being erected on soft ground without the correct anti-tip mechanisms having been put in place.  He too suffered pelvic injuries and a very serious fracture to his neck.  Fortunately he wasn’t left paralysed, but he did require surgery on the pelvis and neck and could not work for over 12 months.  He was then unable to return to manual work and has struggled to find suitable work in other areas due to a lack of skills or experience.

As the claimant hadn’t made his claim quickly and used up almost all of the 3 years of his claim limitation, it made placing his claim far more complicated.  Solicitors specialising in personal injury compensation claims usually like to have a good 6 months of the 3 year period available to enable them to prepare a strong claim.  The no win no fee claims process was still available to this client but because of the impending limitation expiration, solicitors felt that the client should immediately register his claim in the courts in order to protect his rights and interests in the claim.  Usually there is no upfront costs for a client to face, however because solicitors could not be certain of winning the claim (although they felt it had a strong chance) the client was required to pay the court fee to register the claim.  Whilst this wasn’t a huge sum (a little over £100) it was a hurdle he could have done without given his loss of wages.  However, the client did find the money and the solicitors confirmed that he would have the same refunded if he won.

Given the length of time that had expired between the accident and claim, it did make locating accident book records harder and for those who had witnessed the incident to be located for statements and evidence.  This lead to a much less certain claim outcome and caused the client to suffer a far greater amount of stress and worry than he would have if he had gone down the route chosen by Claimant A.

Eventually this claim was settled in the clients favour, but it took a further 2 years from the date of the claim being made for the claim to settle – almost 5 years after the accident.

Here we can see how delaying your claim can cause the process to be more problematic and more of a hassle than it otherwise needs to be.

Don’t delay, claim today

Whilst you have every right to claim when you are ready and when you have the confidence to claim, it certainly helps to claim as soon as possible.  If you are unsure, want to discuss things and find out more, simply contact us and we’ll help you to understand your rights and how to pursue your claim.

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Comments & Questions

Read on for questions and advice about claiming...

Hi I had accident at work 17 Nov 2020 and found out later that I had a slipped disc. In has gradually got worse and have 2 different treatment and waiting for surgeon to assess next step. Am I too late in making a claim?

Ian Morris

You are certainly NOT too late! Claimants have 3 years from the date of an accident or injury that was not their fault within which they can seek to make a claim for compensation. The date you have stated indicates that you have a further 13 months available. Our Solicitors can act for you on a No Win No Fee basis, so please call us on 01225430285 to make further contact and start your claim for compensation.


I’ve recently logged a claim regarding a trip over ab open manhole cover, which has been logged with those responsible and their insurance company, and was submitted via the MOJ Portal, and was advised of the time limits involved. I’ve now been advised by solicitor that they had failed to respond to the claim under the fast track process so it now reverts to a standard procedure allowing the defendant longer to investigate, can you tell me how that effects the process of the claim and limits attached to the fast track process?

Ian Morris

Whilst the scenario you describe doesn’t happen too often, it is not uncommon for defendant insurers to fail to meet the criteria on timescale. In the long run, this issue won’t impact on the outcome of the claim, but does obviously cause undue delays in the early stages of the claims process.


Hello, I was just wondering if you could tell me why do defendants insurance companys delay eligibility? I had an accident at work and want to put a claim in but a co worker told me often insurance companys delay claims until you give up or try to deny the claims anyway is this true? What do they gain from delaying it? Thanks.

Ian Morris

Insurers are often accused of using dirty tactics to put claimants off or force them in to accepting undervalued settlement offers. Whilst there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of such activity, the claims process is designed to be fair and transparent. However, it is very uncommon for insurers to respond to claims notifications any earlier than they are required and they appear to wish the claims process to be dragged out to the longest legal date. Their gain from this is that some claimants may give in and drop their claims.

The actions of defendant insurers and their desire to reduce settlements to the absolute minimum is one of the top reasons why it is really important and wise to make sure that you have instructed a specialist Solicitor to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. If you need any help with this getting a claim started, please call us on 01225430285.


I was involved in an accident and immediately got a solicitor involved. I am starting to feel that the insurance company and my solicitors are deliberately delaying settlement. Does anyone know why they might use delaying tactics and what do they gain from it? It was a car accident. I had full comp insurance and they haven’t found the other driver so my own insurance company would be paying it. The accident took place in December 2015. Many thanks in advance.

Ian Morris

Hi, if the other driver was never found you should not be claiming anything for injury compensation from your own insurance provider. Whilst you had fully comprehensive insurance, this would only cover any damage to or loss of your own vehicle. Fully comprehensive insurance would not provide you with any injury compensation as any such claim for personal injury as a result of a hit and run or untraced driver should be addressed to the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).

I think that you should contact your Solicitor immediately and ask them to explain to you as to who they are pursuing for compensation and ask them why they have not (if they have not already done so) placed a claim on your behalf with the MIB under the untraced driver scheme.

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