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Can I make a claim if I was only a passenger?

Many people think road traffic accident compensation can only be paid to the driver or owner of the vehicle. However, your right to claim compensation for an injury which wasn’t your fault extends far wider.

Road accidents don’t just affect the drivers of cars – any road user can suffer from life-changing injuries because of somebody else’s negligence, which is why we can help you make a claim even if you were a passenger.

If you’re in a car which is shunted from behind, for example, then there’s every chance you’ll end up suffering from whiplash just as badly as the driver of the car, and therefore you have just as much right as them to make a personal injury claim.

As a general guideline, we can usually help you make a compensation claim if:

For expert advice on whether we think you can make a successful case, or for answers to your questions, you can speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

DID YOU KNOW: Approximately 29,400 car passengers were killed or injured on Britain’s roads in 2018.

Claiming against an uninsured driver

It’s a legal requirement for all drivers to be insured to cover the costs of compensation claims or damages to other road users. But we know that in some cases the driver who caused your accident might not have had insurance.

If this applies to your case, then it’s likely that you’ll still be able to make a compensation claim.

This is because your compensation will be paid by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). All insurance companies have to contribute to the MIB each year, so that people injured by uninsured drivers can get the money they need to move on with their lives.

Claiming against somebody you know

If you were injured as a passenger while your friend or family member was driving, and it was their fault, then you might feel hesitant about making a claim against them.

Many people are worried they’ll be leaving them with a bill they can’t afford – but this isn’t true. In fact, your compensation will be paid by their insurance company, so they won’t need to pay out of their own pocket.

Car accidents can often happen because the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you knew they were over the limit but got in the car anyway, then this could affect the amount of compensation you’re paid but it’s likely you’ll still be able to make a claim.

Public transport accidents

All public transport drivers have a duty to drive responsibly and to keep you safe. If their negligence or reckless driving has caused you to become injured, then you could make a compensation claim against the company they work for.

For example, the taxi or bus you were in may have collided with another vehicle or obstacle because of their dangerous driving.

Find out more about making a taxi passenger accident claim.

Or, you may have been injured while on a bus because the drive pulled away too quickly before you had a chance to sit down. Accidents on buses are very common – especially when standing, as heavy breaking can cause you to fall over and hurt yourself.

How to start a claim as a passenger

The first step to making a compensation claim is to speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. They’ll never pressure you into starting a case when you call – their main aim is to give you the advice you need.

During your call, the adviser will ask some questions about your road accident to get a better understanding of what happened. Then, they’ll tell you whether they think you can make a claim.

There’s no obligation to take your claim any further at this point, but if you do decide you’d like to go ahead, they’ll find the right solicitor for your case – saving you the time and hassle.

After a free consultation, your solicitor will start to gather the evidence around your claim, so they can prove your injuries were caused by the negligence of another road user. They’ll then negotiate on your behalf, so that you can get the full amount of compensation you’re owed.

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.

When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

By submitting your personal data, you agree for your details to be sent to National Accident Law so they can contact you to discuss your claim.

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.