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Road traffic accident claims

Unfortunately, road accidents are increasingly common. With more and more vehicles on the roads each year, the numbers of injuries and fatalities are also on the rise.

Although everybody accepts some level of risk when they get in a car or vehicle, a lot of accidents can be avoided by driving safely and following the rules of the road.

However, if you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident, whether you were the driver or a passenger, and you’ve suffered an injury, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

To find out your legal rights regarding road traffic accident claims, speak to a trained legal advisor for a free initial consultation on 0800 234 6438.

DID YOU KNOW: There were an estimated 1,560 reported road deaths in 2021, following road traffic accidents. And an estimated 127,967 casualties of all severities in 2021.

Road traffic accident

A road traffic accident can have a huge impact on your life. Not only the physical injuries you might have sustained, but there’s also the psychological trauma of being involved in a road traffic accident that you need to contend with too.

Injuries sustained in a road traffic accident don’t heal overnight. Your recovery could take weeks, months, years. For some people, their accident may result in permanent, life changing injuries, or even life threatening injuries.

While we can’t reverse what has happened, what we can do is put you in touch with a trained legal advisor who can help you on the road to recovery by guiding you through the first steps of making a no win no fee* claim.

So, if you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident caused by another person’s negligence, you could be entitled to claim compensation and get the recovery support and compensation you deserve.

To find out more about how to make a road traffic accident compensation claim, speak to a trained legal advisor for a free initial consultation on 0800 234 6438.

The most common types of road traffic accidents

While the most common cause of road traffic accident is driver error, it isn’t the only reason people get injured on our roads each year.

According to the Department for Transport other common reasons for road accidents include:

  • Failed to look properly
  • Incorrectly judged another road user’s speed or direction
  • Careless driving, reckless driving or hurrying
  • Poor manoeuvering
  • Loss of control
  • Pedestrian failed to look properly
  • Slippery road surface
  • Travelling too fast for the conditions
  • Following too close to the vehicle in front
  • Breaking the speed limit

Find out more about road accident claims.

Who can claim for traffic accident injuries?

Car accidents can cause serious injuries to passengers and drivers. Anyone injured in a road accident can claim for compensation.

Find out more about bus accident claims.

While all road users are at risk –  cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are at particular risk as they have very little protection from the traffic around them.

Find out more about claiming motorcycle accident compensation.

The consequences of road accidents can be devastating – you might be facing a long recovery time, or your injuries might even be permanently life-changing.

Common road traffic accident injuries

Road accidents can be very serious. Some accidents can lead to amputation, serious soft tissue injury, internal injuries, or crush injuries. They can result in significant permanent disability. In some cases, they can even be fatal.

Other common minor injuries include minor fractures, soft tissue injuries, ligament injuries, and broken bones.

Whiplash is very common after a road accident. Although it usually heals on its own, it can be extremely painful and can limit your movement, affecting your quality of life and ability to go to work.

Other neck injuries, such as fractures, can happen at the same time as a whiplash injury.

What are the rules around small claims personal injury and whiplash injuries?

Changes to the way claims are made for whiplash were introduced on 31st May 2021.

Click here for more information.

No win no fee road traffic accident claims

Nearly all claims with UK injury solicitors are made on a no win no fee basis.

This means you won’t have to pay your solicitor any money, or cover any legal costs if your claim isn’t successful. The benefit of no win no fee basis is that there’s no financial risk involved – if you don’t receive any compensation, then you won’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

If your claim is successful, then your solicitor will charge a ‘success fee’ out of your compensation. This amount will have been agreed before starting your case, but you can feel sure that this will be a relatively small portion of the money you receive.

In most cases your compensation will be paid by the other party’s insurance company, as all drivers are legally required to take out insurance before they’re allowed to drive a vehicle. This means you won’t be putting anyone under financial pressure by making a compensation claim, as the other driver’s insurance company will be the one paying out.

Simply put, everyone who’s been unfairly injured in a road accident deserves to receive the support they need to move on with their life.

If you have any questions, or are interested in starting a claim and want to find out whether you might have a case, you can speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

What can I claim road traffic accident compensation for?

No matter what type of injury you’ve suffered, a specialist road accident solicitor will look at the effects it’s had on your life and make sure you receive the right amount of compensation to cover this.

For example, they’ll take into consideration:

  • Any costs or expenses, such as private medical treatment, lost earnings, and the costs of travel while your car is being fixed
  • Your physical pain and the emotional impacts on you and your family
  • Any physiotherapy or other rehabilitation measures you might need
  • Travel expenses to medical appointments
  • Any equipment or adaptations to your home you might need as a result of your injuries
  • Any interim payments you may need to cover living expenses while you wait for your final injury compensation package

How much compensation can I claim?

Generally, the more serious your injuries, the more compensation you can claim.

Because each successful personal injury claim is unique to each injured person, the amount of compensation you can claim will depend on whether you have severe injuries or not, your recovery time, and the financial impact the road traffic accident has had on your life.

When you’re claiming compensation through a no win no fee claim, your road traffic accident solicitors will work to secure compensation for any negative impact your injuries might have had on your life.

For example:

  • If you’ve had to take time off work
  • If you’ve lost income
  • A negative effect on your future job prospects
  • Care or support you’ve required
  • Travel costs incurred e.g. having to attend medical appointments
  • Specialist treatment to treat your injuries

For a guideline figure of how much compensation you might be able to receive for your type of injury, you can visit our compensation calculator.

Can I secure early compensation payments?

Early compensation payments are paid out to people who need financial support before their claim is settled.

For example, if your road traffic accident injuries are so severe and they’ve left you struggling, you will need financial support sooner rather than later.

These early payments could cover your rent or mortgage payments, or bills because you’ve been on sick leave due to the accident, only receiving statutory sick pay.

To find out your legal rights regarding road traffic accident claims, speak to a trained legal advisor for a free initial consultation on 0800 234 6438.

What should I do after a road accident?

Being in a road accident is shocking, so it can be difficult to remember the best steps to take.

But if it’s possible for you to do so, collecting some details and evidence can make things easier when it comes to making a compensation claim.

If possible, you should try to gather:

  • Witness accounts and details as proof that the accident occurred
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident and damage to the vehicles. If it helps you remember what happened, draw a sketch of the position of the vehicles and direction of travel
  • The name, address, insurance details and registration numbers of everyone involved

It might also be necessary for you to notify the police. Under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, you need to report an accident to the police if:

  • Someone has been injured
  • Damage has been caused but the other party didn’t stop
  • Damage has been done and the other driver stopped but names and addresses weren’t exchanged

Can I claim against uninsured or untraced drivers?

If you’ve been involved in a hit and run accident, you might be worried that you won’t be able to make a claim because you don’t have the other driver’s insurance details.

Or maybe the other driver has been identified but doesn’t have any insurance. If you’re involved in a hit and run accident, it might sometimes be possible to track the driver down using their registration number.

But if they’re completely untraceable or if the driver is uninsured, you can still make a claim – in these cases, your compensation will be paid by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) under the Untraced Drivers Agreement or the Uninsured Drivers agreement.

All insurance companies have to pay money into the MIB each year so that victims of car accidents (such as hit and runs) can receive the compensation they need.

What to do if you’re involved in a hit and run accident

If you’re involved in an accident with a hit and run driver try to follow these steps:

  • Note down the colour, make, model and registration number of the vehicle they were driving
  • Get the names, numbers and addresses of any potential witnesses so you can take witness statements off them later if needed
  • Take photos of the scene of the accident
  • Report the incident to the police within 14 days and get a police log/reference number from them
  • If you are hurt, seek medical attention immediately
  • If you have comprehensive insurance cover, you need to claim for any damage to your vehicle from your own insurer

The steps are similar if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, but you should also take a note of the driver’s name and address.

If the driver claims they were driving a company car, take down the name of the employer.

Can I claim against the council or Highways Agency?

All roads and pavements should be properly maintained and safe for vehicles and pedestrians to use.

Potholes, cracks in road surfaces or poorly planned junctions and road markings can be dangerous for road users.

If your accident was caused by poor road conditions or by hazards such as diesel spills, drain covers or debris, then your claim will be made against whoever is responsible for that stretch of road – usually the local council or Highways Agency.

How long do I have to make a road accident claim?

In most cases, you need to start a personal injury claim within three years of your accident happening. It’s always best to talk to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible after your accident while everything’s still fresh in your mind.

This also often makes it easier to gather evidence. If you’re claiming on behalf of your child, they have until they turn 21 to make a claim.

If you’re claiming on behalf of someone under a mental disability, the three-year period doesn’t start to run until they’ve regained their mental capacity.

How long will a road traffic accident claim take?

If the ‘value’ of your road accident claim is between £1,000 and £25,000, your personal injury solicitor will usually use the Claims Portal, a UK Government procedure set up to fast-track claims for personal injury.

Most road traffic accident claims brought through the Claims Portal are resolved within four to nine months. For higher value claims, your solicitor will need to go through the traditional claims process which will take longer and can be delayed if, for example, the other party denies liability or if there’s a delay in getting expert medical reports.

If your injuries are more severe, your solicitor will want to wait until you have a final prognosis for your recovery.

This is so they have a better idea of how your injury will affect you in the future, which means they’ll be able to make sure you receive all the compensation you’re entitled to.

Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents

For claims below £25,000, the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents applies.

This sets certain standards which the people involved in a road traffic accident claim are expected to follow.

The aim of this Protocol is to make sure that:

  • The defendant pays damages and costs using the process set out in the Protocol without the need for the claimant to start legal proceedings
  • Compensation is paid within a reasonable time
  • The claimant’s solicitor receives the fixed costs at each appropriate stage

It sets guidelines on how medical reports should be used in your case and also gives time limits for when information (such as the claim notification form and the defendant’s response) must be sent, as well as for when interim payments should be made.

How to make a road traffic accident claim with

If you’ve been injured in a road accident which was caused by somebody else’s negligence or dangerous driving, it’s likely personal injury lawyers will be able to help you make a compensation claim.

To make a claim, your road accident needs to be someone else’s fault. We know it can sometimes be difficult to tell who’s at fault, but a trained legal adviser will let you know whether you’re likely to be able to make a successful claim.

To find out your legal rights regarding road traffic accident claims, speak to a trained legal advisor for a free initial consultation on 0800 234 6438.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.