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Car Accident Claims

Car accident compensation claim

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to claim car accident compensation.

It doesn’t matter if you were the driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian injured in the crash. If you’ve been injured as a result of a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you could be compensated for your injuries sustained and the potential lost income.

To find out more about making car accident claims, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Am I eligible to claim car accident compensation?

If you’ve been injured because of a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim.

As with all personal injury claims, the first thing that needs to be established is whether your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence.

If it was not caused by negligence then there is no case for compensation, because if it was your fault then why should anyone pay for your injuries?

What to do after a car accident?

We understand how traumatic being involved in a car crash can be, and even minor car accidents can cause painful, long-lasting injuries. But to help claim car accident compensation, you need to start building your case as soon as the accident happened.

Seek medical attention

As soon as possible, seek medical attention at the hospital or with a private doctor. Even if you don’t think that you’ve been seriously injured, it is important to have your injuries checked out by a professional.

Not only will this mean you’ll get the treatment you need before your condition gets worse, but the medical evidence can also help when it comes to making a car accident claim.

Besides, if you do not have treatment and then later find out that someone else was at fault for the accident, then they could take advantage of this fact by claiming that they were not responsible for any damages or injuries caused by their negligence in the accident.

Keep an eye on your injuries and symptoms

After a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s important to keep a close eye on your symptoms and note how your injuries are affecting your life.

This can help you better understand what kind of compensation may be due to you after the accident.

Here are some things to consider:

  • How has this injury affected my work?
  • How has this injury affected my relationships?
  • Does this injury impact my sleep? (And if so, does it affect me in any other areas of my life?)
  • How does this injury impact my mood or emotions (or both)?
  • What activities do I no longer participate in because of these injuries?

Gather information at the scene of the car accident

If you’re in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ll want to take notes about what happened right after the crash.

You should try to get as much information as possible while you’re still at the scene of the accident to give you the best chance of making a successful claim.

You may be able to use this information if the other driver blames you for causing their injuries.

A few things to write down are:

  • Dates, times and weather conditions at the time of the crash
  • What you saw and heard at the scene of the car collision (for example, did any other cars hit yours?)
  • Names and addresses of witnesses who can verify what happened before or after the accident
  • Names and addresses of drivers who were involved in your crash
  • The location of the accident

Take photographs of the car accident

First and foremost, you’re going to want to take some photos of the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident. This will help with your claim later on.

  • Take pictures from different angles, as well as close-ups of areas that are damaged, particularly if it is a large dent or scratch.
  • Also take photos of any other damage besides just your vehicle—this includes any skid marks left behind by other vehicles after they hit you and/or anything else that has been affected by this accident (such as road signs or even nearby trees).
  • Next, snap some shots of the scene itself – including an entire view of where everything happened—so you can show what was involved at each stage during this event: before it happened; during it; after it happened but before anyone started cleaning up (if necessary).
  • Also, make sure you get photos of any injuries caused by this car crash. This could be anything from broken bones or whiplash (if there were no seat belts worn) to cuts and bruises.

Speak to police at the scene

A police report can provide the evidence you need of the crash including detailing who was at fault, or confirming collisions involving uninsured drivers or hit-and-run drivers.

If a police officer is on the scene, ask them for a copy of the crash report. The officer may be able to give you a copy right then and there, but they’ll more than likely have to go back to the station and you get it later in the day.

If it’s not possible to get one right away, ask them if they can give you a time when they think they’ll be able to provide you with this information.

To find out more about how to make a car accident compensation claim, get in touch with a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 as soon as possible.

They’ll be able to let you know whether they think you can make a claim and will be happy to answer your questions.

DID YOU KNOW: There were 160,597 reported road casualties in Great Britain in 2018, a reduction of 6% on the previous year.

Common causes of car accidents

You can only claim car accident compensation if you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. But what causes car accidents that result in compensation claims?

Here are a few examples:

Excessive speed

While you may be driving at or below the speed limit, excessive speed can still cause a crash. The severity of a car accident increases exponentially when traveling even a fraction over the speed limit.

In fact, an increase in just 5 mph above the limit can increase your risk of being involved in a severe accident by as much as 8 times.

Driving under the influence

Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Alcohol impairs vision, reaction time, balance and judgment. When you drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, you are putting yourself at risk for injury or even death.

Driver fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common causes of car accidents. It can result from long hours at work or school, lack of sleep because you’ve been staying up late watching Netflix, or even physical pain (e.g., your back hurts and so you sit in an awkward position while driving).

Dangerous weather conditions

Dangerous weather conditions can affect visibility, road conditions and driver reaction time. Weather is unpredictable, so you may need to adjust your driving style or route as a result.

Here are some examples of dangerous weather conditions:

  • Heavy rain or snow causes slippery roads and reduced visibility, making it harder for drivers to see approaching cars when they’re changing lanes.
  • Windy conditions can blow dirt onto the road surface, which makes the pavement less visible in low-light conditions like at sunrise or sunset. This is especially true if there’s fog in addition to rain/snow/etc., because fog makes glare even worse than normal headlights would on wet roads alone.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents.

Distracted driving includes any activity that distracts you from driving, including eating, talking on the phone, and texting. When you use your phone while driving—whether it’s to check a text or make a call—you’re increasing your risk for an accident by up to 400%.

There are several ways to avoid causing an accident due to distracted driving:

  • If you must use your phone while in the car (for example, if there’s an emergency), pull over before doing so.
  • Turn off all notifications coming through while behind the wheel; even small pop-ups can be distracting enough that they could cause an accident unexpectedly.

Ignoring traffic signals and signs

The most common cause of car accidents is ignoring traffic signals and signs. Don’t drive through a red light or stop sign, even if no one else is around. You are setting yourself up to get into an accident if you do this.

Tyre blowout and vehicle malfunction

Tyre blowout and vehicle malfunction can have disastrous results, as well as cause serious injuries and even death.

You should always be on the lookout for any warning signs that your tyres aren’t working properly.

These include:

  • Your vehicle pulling to one side when driving straight
  • Your car making loud noises while driving, especially if they get louder when you go faster than usual
  • Having difficulty stopping or slowing down

Types of injuries caused by car accidents

Because of the nature of car crashes, the types of injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to serious, lifelong disability. Cars can also be involved in accidents with larger vehicles, such as busses or lorries, which can cause particularly serious injuries.

Find out more about bus accident claims.

If you were involved in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, it’s likely we can help you claim for almost any type of injury, such as:

Find out more about making a whiplash injury claim.

Why claim car crash compensation?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, you should claim compensation, because if your case is successful and you win, you could receive compensation for all of the following:

Your injuries

You are entitled to be compensated for any physical harm that was caused by the accident, even soft tissue injuries. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Your losses

If someone else’s negligence caused your car accident, you may be able to receive compensation for any financial losses associated with it as well—like medical bills or property damage that wasn’t covered by the other driver’s insurance company.

Your pain and suffering

If you suffered serious injuries in an car crash, then this could lead to ongoing pain throughout each day as well as emotional distress due to fear of what might happen next – will my injury get worse? Will I ever be able to work again?

How much compensation will you receive for car accident?

How much compensation will you receive following your car crash claim? Unfortunately we can’t say as the exact amount is unique to each car accident injury claim.

The car crash compensation payouts you receive is usually split into two parts – general damages and special damages.

This means you’ll be covered for the pain and suffering caused by your accident, as well as any financial impacts it’s had on you and your family.

We’ve included some more information about the different types of damages below:

General damages

Covers any pain and suffering caused by the injuries you’ve suffered. General damages will also be awarded for any impact on your day-to-day life – for example, if you’ve missed out on any hobbies or sports.

Special damages

Cover any out of pocket expenses caused by your accident. This includes loss of earnings, medical expenses (and any ongoing medical expenses), travel costs, equipment and care, as well as any necessary modifications to your home.

Average car accident compensation payouts

How much injury compensation could you be entitled to? According to the Judicial College injury tables and other resources, the guidance for general damages is:

  • Mild ankle injury: Up to £13,740
  • Mild to severe Achilles injuries: £7,270 to £38,040
  • Moderate to severe arm injuries: £19,200 to £130,930
  • Moderate head injury: £43,060 to £219, 070
  • Mild to severe back injuries: £12,510 to £160,980
  • Mild to severe eye injuries: £2,200 to £268,720
  • Facial scars: £1,710 to £97,330
  • Severe leg and knee injuries: £27,760 to £282,010
  • Moderate post-traumatic stress disorder: £8,180 to £23,150

Important Information on Whiplash Claims

The government has made it easier to claim compensation for whiplash injuries today. In 2021, the law changed, and there’s now a dedicated portal enabling you to manage the claim yourself. However, speaking to an advisor is a good idea if you’re unsure about how much compensation you could receive.

How long will it take you to receive your compensation?

The length of time it takes to make a car accident claim can depend on how complex your case is and how serious your injuries are, as well as:

  • The amount of compensation you want
  • Whether the other party accepts responsibility
  • How long it takes for experts to assess your injuries
  • Whether the other driver was insured
  • Whether your claim needs to go to court

If you have less serious injuries, then your claim could be settled in a matter of months if the other party accepts liability straight away.

But if you’re seriously injured, if the other side deny liability, or your case has to go to court, it can take much longer.

If it’s taking a long time for a settlement to be reached and you’re running short of money because of your injuries, it might be possible for your lawyer to help you get an ‘interim payment’.

This is an amount of compensation which can be paid to you before your final settlement to cover any immediate costs. Your personal injury solicitor will talk this through with you.

To find out more about making car accident claims, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Claiming car crash compensation against an uninsured or untraced driver

If your car accident was caused by an uninsured or untraced driver, then you might still be able to make a claim.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) was created to provide compensation in these cases. It’s funded by a small contribution from every vehicle insurance premium taken out in the UK.

If you’re involved in a hit and run accident, you should:

  • Write down the colour, make, model and registration number of the vehicle they were driving
  • Get a list of the names and contact details of the any possible witnesses so you can take witness statements off them later if required
  • Photograph the scene of the accident, your injuries and any damage suffered to your vehicle
  • Report the incident to the police within 14 days and get a police log/reference number from them
  • If you’re hurt, seek medical attention straight away

If you have comprehensive insurance cover you need to claim for any damage to your vehicle from your own insurer – since August 2015 the MIB will only consider vehicle damage claims if you don’t have comprehensive insurance.

You can, however, claim from the MIB for any personal injury you have suffered.

Find out more about claims involving uninsured or untraced drivers

Can you still claim if the car accident was partly your fault?

If your car accident was partly your fault, you may still be able to claim compensation, but it might be a smaller amount depending on how much the court thinks you’re to blame for your injuries.

The case law shows there are no hard and fast rules as to how much your compensation will be reduced by if contributory negligence (as it is known) is found – this will be decided on a case by case basis.

An example case

For example, in Owens v Brimmell (1977), the claimant’s compensation was reduced by 20% because he knew the driver was drunk when he got in the car with him.

However, in Traynor v Donovan (1978), the court awarded the full compensation amount because the claimant didn’t know when he got in the car that the driver was so drunk that he couldn’t properly control the vehicle.

Contributory negligence has also been found – and compensation reduced as a result – in cases where the claimant was turning right from a main road and was hit by another vehicle attempting to overtake (Joliffe v Hay (1991) – compensation was reduced by 30% because he had only used his mirrors once); and where the claimant was not wearing a seatbelt (Froom v Butcher (1976)).

Can I make a car accident claim on behalf of a child?

Road accidents can be particularly traumatic if your child was injured as result. We can’t take away what you or your child has been through, but an expert solicitor can help you make a compensation claim on their behalf.

You can make a claim on behalf of your children any time up until they turn 18. Alternatively, they can make a claim for themselves up to three years after their 18th birthday.

The Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Scheme

In 2010, the government unveiled the Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Scheme (also called the Claims Portal) with the aim of reducing the time and costs of lower-value personal injury claims arising from road traffic accidents.

Initially, the scheme covered compensation claims where the expected value was between £1,000 and £10,000, however, the upper limit was increased in 2013 to £25,000. The main target of the scheme is to have any qualifying claims settled within six months.

If your car accident claim is valued at £25,000 or less, you should receive your compensation a lot quicker than pre-2013. The scheme also simplifies the whole process of claiming compensation, removing a lot of the stress involved.

Are road traffic accident claims the same as other personal injury claims?

Road Traffic Accidents have a unique protocol, meaning they are slightly different from other personal injury claims.

This is known as the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents and should be followed for any road accident compensation claim worth £25,000 or less.

The Pre-Action Protocol acts as a guideline on how the use and cost of medical reports are controlled and time limits for when information should be sent.

It also sets guidelines on interim payments and when they should be made, if they are applicable.

If one party unreasonably fails to abide by the Protocol, the court may order costs against them too.

The secure exchange of information about your claim is also facilitated by the Claims Portal, or RTA Personal Injury Scheme.

Is there a time limit for claiming car crash compensation?

There is a time limit for claiming compensation and that is 3 years from the date of the car accident, or 3 years from when an injury is diagnosed by a medical professional, as a result of a car crash.

In some cases the time limit can be extended, however you may need to seek legal advice if you wish to start a claim after the 3 years has expired.

There are exceptions to the 3 year time limit and that is if children have been injured in a car crash. As a parent you have up until their 18th birthday to claim. If you don’t claim, the child has 3 years following their 18th birthday to claim.

To ensure you don’t miss out on compensation that is rightfully yours, we suggest submitting a claim sooner rather than later.

To find out more about making a no win no fee* claim, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Starting a car accident claim

Starting a car accident claim with an expert personal injury solicitor is simple.

The first step is to get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438 to find out whether you’re eligible to make a claim.

The advisor will ask you some questions about your accident and the injuries sustained while on the phone; this is so they can get a better understanding of what you’ve been through.

You’re under no obligation to go ahead with a claim when you speak to an adviser, so if you’re just looking for answers to your questions, that’s fine too – they’re happy to help.

If you do decide you’d like to take the next steps, the adviser can put you in touch with an experienced car accident solicitor on the same call. They’ll then run you through the claims process in a bit more detail and how no win no fee claims work.

Then, if you’re still happy to go ahead, your solicitor will get in touch with the other party and will negotiate on your behalf. Your solicitor will do most of the hard work for you, but will stay in touch and keep you updated on how your case is going.

No Win No Fee Car Accident compensation through

When you claim through, you’re under no obligation to make a claim when you call. But if you’ve been injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, it’s unfair that you should put up with being in pain, or being out of pocket.

To find out more about no win no fee car accident compensation claims, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

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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