Thousands of motorists and pedestrians are involved in road accidents every year in the UK, with many of these resulting in successful road traffic accident claims.
Being involved in an accident on the road can be traumatic and life-changing. While some road accidents can be minor and only cause a slight inconvenience, others are more serious. In fact, every 22 minutes in the UK, somebody dies or is severely injured in a road traffic accident.
If another party was at fault for your accident and injuries, you have a legal right to claim compensation, which a personal injury solicitor can help you with.
Traffic accident injuries may range from minor burns and lacerations to sprains and strains, fractures, traumatic brain injuries and even death. Besides the physical pain and suffering, road accidents can also cause severe psychological trauma and emotional distress.
If another person was even partially responsible for your injuries, you might be eligible to make a road accident claim. If your case is successful, you could receive compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as any financial losses and expenses you incurred.
A road traffic accident solicitor can let you know whether you have a valid case and guide you through all the steps of claiming compensation. If you have a fair chance of success, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement, so you don’t have to worry about the legal costs of claiming.
To find out if you have a valid road traffic accident claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a specialist legal adviser. The service is provided free of charge and without any obligation to proceed.
Can I make a road traffic accident claim?
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a road traffic accident, you might be able to claim compensation for your damages. A free consultation with a legal adviser is the easiest and quickest way to find out whether you have a valid traffic accident claim, but you should be entitled to compensation if:
- Another party, such as a road user or the local authorities, owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently and causing a road traffic accident
- You suffered an injury or injuries as a result
Usually, you are legally required to start a claim within three years from your accident, but there are several exceptions to this rule, as detailed in the section below. However, to make sure you will not miss your chance to claim compensation, you should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible after your accident.
Some examples of negligence leading to road accident compensation claims include:
- Drivers failing to give way to pedestrians at zebra crossings
- Losing control of the vehicle due to a road defect that the council failed to maintain properly
- Being involved in a collision where the brakes failed due to a manufacturing defect
- Road traffic accidents caused by aggressive driving, such as speeding and road rage
- Motorcyclists or cyclists injured because another driver failed to see the rider at a junction
- Children hurt as vehicle passengers, regardless of liability disputes
- Being hit by a driver that failed to look properly at a junction or turning
- Having an accident as a cyclist because a driver failed to yield at a roundabout
- A vehicle driver driving recklessly due to drugs or alcohol
There are some situations where your own actions may have contributed to an accident or may have made your injuries worse. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are unable to claim compensation. For example, you could still make a road traffic accident claim if:
- You were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident
- You were not wearing a helmet or some other protection as a cyclist or motorcyclist
- If you were injured as a passenger and the driver was driving under the influence
- Not looking properly before crossing the street
- You were in any other way partially responsible for your injuries
If the court decides that you were less than 50% responsible for the accident, you are still entitled to get compensation for your injuries. However, your compensation award will be reduced to reflect your part of the blame. This is known as contributory negligence.
If you feel you may have a valid road traffic accident claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. If you would prefer to receive a call back, please enter your details into our online claim form, and an adviser will be in contact shortly.
What should I do if I’m involved in a road traffic accident?
Being involved in a road traffic accident can be a shocking and traumatic experience, but if it is possible and safe to do so, you should try to collect some details and evidence at the scene of the accident. This will make things easier if you later decide to make a road accident compensation claim.
Some basic steps that you should follow after an accident include:
- If you or anyone else suffered a severe injury, seek immediate medical assistance.
- If you do not require emergency care, seek medical attention as soon as possible by visiting your GP or local hospital. Your medical records will serve as essential evidence in your road traffic accident claim.
- Take photographs of the accident scene, captured from every angle. These can help to prove who or what caused the accident, the damage caused and the location.
- Take photographs of your injuries and any damage to your property.
- Get the contact details of any other driver involved in the accident, together with their licence plate and insurance details.
- Get the contact details of any witnesses who saw how the accident occurred and might later give a statement about how the events unfolded.
- Report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible.
- Try to secure a copy of any CCTV or dash cam footage of the accident.
- Keep a diary of the progress of your injuries and how they affected your daily life. This could include notes on tasks you may have needed help with, medication you were prescribed, etc.
- Keep records, receipts and evidence of any expenses and financial losses you incurred due to the road traffic accident. This could include transportation costs, lost wages and private healthcare treatment such as physiotherapy.
Whether or not you manage to secure this evidence, you should contact a road traffic accident solicitor as soon as possible after your accident. They can help you gather everything you need to build a strong claim and will guide you through every step of the claims process.
For a free consultation with a friendly legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a road accident claim and can answer any questions you may have.
When should you call the police after a road accident?
If anyone is injured and needs medical attention, call the police and ambulance immediately. Aside from someone suffering an injury, you should also contact the police within 24 hours if:
- The other party flees the scene.
- The other driver is uninsured or appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The other party does not give you their insurance details.
- You suspect the accident was caused deliberately.
The police should also be called immediately if the accident is blocking a road or if there is a further potential danger to you or other road users. This could be the case if your accident happened on or near a sharp bend or at a busy junction.
If a police officer attends the accident scene, make a note of their name, contact details, and the incident number, as this will come in handy for your future road traffic accident claim.
How do I make a road traffic accident claim?
If you were involved in a road traffic accident without being at fault and want to claim compensation for your damages, the first thing you should do is contact a road traffic accident solicitor. They will ask you a few simple questions about your circumstances to determine whether you are eligible to make a claim.
If your case has merit, they will offer you a no win no fee service. If you want to proceed, your solicitor can start working on your claim immediately to ensure you receive compensation as quickly as possible. There are some typical steps involved in the claims process:
- First of all, your solicitor will consider all the facts related to your accident to identify who you should be claiming against. In most cases, this is likely to be the insurance company of another road user. However, depending on the circumstances, it could also be the local authorities, the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) or a manufacturing company.
- After assessing liability, your solicitor will send a formal letter of claim to the party at fault, informing them of your allegations of negligence. They will usually have 21 days to acknowledge your claim and another three months to investigate the claim and decide whether or not they admit liability.
- Gathering evidence is another essential step in the claims process, and your solicitor will be able to assist you in collecting as much proof as possible to build a strong case. This could include photographs of the accident scene and your injuries, contact details of any witnesses, medical records and police reports.
- Even if the other side admits liability straight away, you should still try to gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident, as they may later change their statement.
- Another important part of any road traffic accident claim is assessing your injuries and how they affected your life. Your solicitor will ask for your medical records and might also arrange a free consultation with an independent healthcare professional who will determine the full extent of your injuries and your recovery prospects.
- After your solicitor has all the relevant evidence related to your road traffic accident and how this affected your life, they will calculate a suitable compensation award for your injuries and financial losses. If the other side admits liability for your injuries, you can begin to negotiate a settlement. Both parties can make multiple offers until you decide upon an award that is acceptable to everyone.
- If the defendant does not admit liability for your accident or you cannot agree upon a compensation award, your solicitor may have to issue court proceedings. In this case, a judge will examine all the available evidence, assign liability and decide what compensation award you are entitled to receive.
- However, negotiations can continue until the trial date, and more than 95% of all claims end up settling out of court, which is more beneficial to both parties. In the unlikely event that you will have to argue your claim before a judge, your solicitor will make sure you are fully prepared and will offer support and advice at every step along the way.
- After you have reached a settlement or the court has made a decision, you should receive your compensation award within four weeks. Usually, the compensation will be paid directly to you or to a trust in your name. In RTA claims where the claimant is a child, however, the money will be transferred into a court bank account and released to them once they turn 18 years old.
To begin your road accident claim or to find out more about the claims process, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation. Alternatively, enter your details to receive a call back.
How much compensation can I claim for a road traffic accident?
Every road accident claim is unique, so it is difficult to say how much compensation you might be entitled to receive. Your road traffic accident solicitor will consider the type and severity of your injuries and any related financial losses to calculate a suitable compensation award.
In every claim, you will usually receive compensation for two types of damages:
General damages cover the pain and suffering caused by the accident, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma and emotional distress
- Loss of amenity, such as the ability to pursue a hobby
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical and mental impairment
- Reduced quality and loss of enjoyment of life
Special damages take into consideration all the costs and expenses incurred due to the accident, such as:
- Medical expenses such as medication, physiotherapy and diagnostic tests
- Adaptations to your home or vehicle
- Repair or replacement of damaged property
- Costs of care and assistance with daily activities
- Physical therapy and counselling
- Any medical equipment you might need, such as mobility aids
- Lost wages, including future losses if you are not able to return to work
- Travel costs to and from medical appointments
The compensation award for special damages is calculated by adding up all the reasonable financial expenses and losses related to your accident. Calculating a suitable compensation for general damages is not as straightforward, so courts and solicitors refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College. According to them, you could receive:
- £240 – £4,345 for whiplash, depending on how long your symptoms last
- £6,680 – £19,39 for severe body scarring
- £1,880 – £10,890 for a minor head injury with recovery within a few weeks
- £12,510 – £38,780 for a moderate back injury leading to constant pain and discomfort
- £39,170 – £130,930 for a severe arm injury causing major restriction and disability and significant pain and suffering
- £5,720 – £13,280 for moderate hand injuries such as deep laceration or penetration wounds
- £11,820 – £24,950 for a hip injury that requires surgery but does not lead to severe disability
- £43,710 – £67,410 for very severe leg injuries with permanent symptoms
- £264,650 to £379,100 for very severe brain damage leaving the victim in need of full-time care and assistance
- £23,150 – £59,860 for moderately severe PTSD causing significant disability, but where some recovery is possible
After a thorough investigation of your circumstances, your solicitor will be able to give you a fair estimate of your compensation prospects.
To start your road traffic accident claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation. Or, if you prefer, enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
If I win my road accident claim, who will pay the compensation?
Generally, road traffic accident compensation is paid by the defendant’s insurance provider. You will usually receive a single lump-sum payment, either after settling with the other party or, if your case goes before a judge, after a court judgement.
If your road traffic accident left you financially struggling, this arrangement could cause difficulties in the short term. However, in claims where liability for the accident is not being disputed, it might be possible for you to apply for interim payments. These are smaller compensation payments you receive while the case is still ongoing.
In the UK, motor vehicle insurance is a legal requirement for drivers, and insurance companies will deal with most RTA claims. However, more often than you may think, the driver responsible for an accident may not have valid motor insurance or may leave the scene and not be traceable.
In this case, your solicitor will submit your claim through the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB). This is a non-profit organisation that pays compensation to victims of uninsured or hit and run drivers. The MIB is funded through insurance premiums by all motor insurance companies operating in the UK.
If you were intentionally injured in a road traffic accident, you could claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a taxpayer-funded government organisation that awards compensation to blameless victims of violent crimes. Your solicitor can help you make a CICA claim within two years of your accident.
If you have fully comprehensive vehicle insurance, this will cover any damages to you as a persona and to your vehicle. In this case, you can claim road accident compensation directly from your insurance provider, which could cause you to lose your no-claim bonuses.
If you suffered a road traffic accident while on holiday during an activity included in your holiday package, you might be able to claim against your tour operator. In this case, their insurance provider will pay your compensation.
Can I claim on a No Win No Fee basis?
If you suffered an injury in a traffic accident and want to claim compensation, you should contact a professional road traffic accident solicitor as soon as possible. They will be able to tell you if you have a valid compensation claim and determine who you should be claiming against.
If you have a valid claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service. This enables you to pursue a road traffic accident claim without having to worry about solicitor fees and upfront legal expenses. Furthermore, in a no win no fee claim, you do not have to pay a single penny to anyone if your case is unsuccessful.
To offer each individual the chance to pursue compensation without any financial risk, road traffic accident solicitors will not charge any fees unless they win the claim.
Further benefits of hiring an experienced solicitor on a no win no fee basis include:
- You have the certainty that your case has merit, and you are not wasting your time pursuing compensation.
- Your solicitor will provide expert advice at every step of the claim.
- They will negotiate to secure the maximum compensation award you are entitled to receive.
- Your solicitor will take care of all the paperwork so you can focus on your recovery.
- They fully understand the legal system and have the skill and knowledge to challenge any potential disputes.
At the beginning of your claim, your solicitor will take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. This legal expenses insurance policy will cover all the costs incurred during your claim if your case fails. Without ATE insurance, if your claim were unsuccessful, you would have to cover the cost of:
- Your opponent’s solicitor and legal expenses
- Barrister and expert witness fees
- Medical and police reports
- Court and counsel’s fees
As part of your no win no fee agreement, you will also receive a free consultation with an independent medical professional. They will release a medical report detailing the full extent of your injuries and their long-term or permanent effects, which will serve as essential evidence in your claim.
In a no win no fee claim, you only pay anything after you receive road accident compensation. Your expenses will be deducted from the compensation award and include:
- The cost of the ATE insurance premium
- Some basic legal fees that might not be possible to recover from the defendant
- A success fee is paid to your solicitor for the risk they took by offering you a no win no fee agreement. The success fee is capped at a maximum of 25% of your compensation and will be thoroughly discussed before taking on your claim.
Due to its many advantages, no win no fee is the most popular way of funding road traffic accident compensation claims. To find out if you have a valid claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
Is there a time limit for road traffic accident claims?
Under the Limitation Act 1980, the time limit to begin a road traffic accident claim is usually three years from the date of the accident. The last date on which you can start legal proceedings is known as the claim limitation date.
If you do not start your claim within the time limit, your case will become statute-barred, and you will likely lose your chance to get compensation for your losses. In exceptional cases, the court may allow you to bring a claim after the claim limitation date, depending on the extent and reason for your delay.
There are some exceptions to the general three-year rule to make a road accident claim, including:
- If your injuries do not become immediately apparent after your accident, as often happens when you suffer a whiplash injury, you can claim within three years of the date of knowledge of your injury.
- In child injury claims, a litigation friend can claim compensation on behalf of the child at any point before they turn 18, regardless of when the accident took place. Afterwards, the victim will have until their 21st birthday to start their own RTA claim if nobody acted on their behalf when they were still a child.
- There is no time limit to start a road traffic accident claim on behalf of a victim who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings themselves. According to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, an adult may be considered a protected party and will need a litigation friend to represent them in a claim if they suffer from:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe sleep deprivation
- An intellectual disability such as autism or Down syndrome
- A severe mental illness like schizophrenia or major depression
- A neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease
- A traumatic brain injury or a stroke
If the victim recovers their intellectual ability, they will have three years to start a road accident claim.
- If a loved one passed away due to a road traffic accident, you could claim compensation from the liable party within three years after the date of their death.
- If someone deliberately caused you an injury in a road accident, you have two years to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
- The time limit to bring a traffic accident claim if you suffered an injury abroad can vary significantly from country to country. For example, the limitation period to bring a claim is ten years from the accident date in France and one year in Spain.
Regardless of how much time you believe you have to take legal action, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible after an accident. This will make it much easier to collect relevant evidence for your case and secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries and financial losses.
For a free consultation with a trained legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a traffic accident claim and can answer any questions you may have.
What are the most common types of road traffic accident claims?
UK roads are very safe compared to many other countries, with 4.7 fatalities per 100,000 vehicles as opposed to 12.5 in America or 8.2 per 100,000 in France. However, every 22 minutes, somebody still dies or is severely injured on UK roads.
Nearly all road accident compensation claims involve one of the following types of accidents:
Cars make up the majority of licensed vehicles (81.7 per cent), with most households owning at least one car in the UK. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident without being at fault, you should be able to make an RTA claim.
According to statistics, the number one cause of car accidents is the driver’s failure to look properly, followed by careless driving, poor road conditions and speeding. Your road traffic accident solicitor will help you identify the liable party for your injuries, which could be another road user, the authorities responsible for road maintenance, or a car manufacturer if a vehicle defect caused your accident.
Due to the limited protection when riding a bike, cyclists are classified as vulnerable road users and have a much higher casualty rate per mile compared to car drivers. If someone else caused your bicycle accident in the last three years and you suffered an injury as a result, you might be entitled to make a road traffic accident claim.
Some of the most common causes leading to a compensation claim include distracted driving, following cyclists too closely, speeding, failure to give right of way to cyclists and poor road conditions. The Department for Transport reported that in 2020 there were 141 fatal accidents involving cyclists, whilst 4,215 were severely injured, and another 11,938 were slightly injured.
Pedestrian accidents include any road traffic accidents that involve a collision between a person on foot and a vehicle. Alongside cyclists and motorcyclists, pedestrians are among the least protected road users. If you suffered an accident as a pedestrian without being at fault, a road traffic accident solicitor could help you claim compensation for your injuries.
In the UK, around 430 pedestrians are killed on roads every year. In 2020, there were 4,224 accidents involving a pedestrian, with most victims between 25 and 59 years of age. For this age group, the number of male pedestrians injured (1,116) was almost double that of females (660).
Motorbike riders have little protection while on the road, typically consisting of a helmet, gloves, boots and clothing such as leathers. Although this will offer some protection, it may prove insufficient in the event of a road traffic accident.
Motorbike riders have the highest accident rate of all road users. In 2019, they accounted for 19% of all road deaths, despite making up less than 1% of traffic each year.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the most common causes of motorbike accidents include collisions at junctions, overtaking collisions, poor road conditions and failure to negotiate bends. You might be entitled to make a motorbike accident claim if you suffered an injury or lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence.
As a passenger, you have little to no control over your safety while on the road. That is why it is unlikely to have your liability disputed if you make a road traffic accident claim as a passenger. In 2019, 3,229 car passengers suffered severe injuries, and 228 were killed in road traffic accidents.
Child passengers are always entitled to compensation following a road traffic accident, regardless of liability disputes. Also, your right to make an RTA claim as a passenger will not be affected by not wearing a seatbelt, but your compensation award might be reduced to reflect how this may have contributed to your injuries.
Due to their size and weight, being involved in a road accident with a lorry can be particularly frightening and dangerous. In 2019, 5,534 people were injured in a road traffic accident involving a lorry according to RoSPA, of which 251 suffered a fatal injury.
If you have been involved in a lorry accident that was somebody else’s fault, a road traffic accident solicitor could help you make a claim. Providing somebody else was to blame, you have the right to take legal action whether you were the lorry driver, the driver of another vehicle involved in the collision, or another road user such as a pedestrian.
According to the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB), an alarmingly high number of hit and run accidents take place each year in the UK, accounting for around 12% of all accidents reported to the police. Between June 2020 and 2021, almost 3,000 people were killed or severely injured in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.
Even if you do not know the other driver’s identity, you may still be able to make a road accident claim through the MIB. This is an independent organisation funded by the insurance premiums of UK drivers that pays compensation to victims of accidents caused by uninsured or unidentified drivers.
If you suffered an injury in a bus accident, you might be able to claim compensation from the responsible party. This could be the bus driver, the bus company, another road user, the authorities responsible for road maintenance or a manufacturing company.
Road accident compensation claims can be made by bus passengers, bus drivers, pedestrians and other road users like cyclists and motorcyclists. Some of the most common causes of bus accidents include poor bus maintenance, bus driver negligence, poor road conditions, blind spots and left turns.
Even if you suffered an injury in another accident, such as while riding an electric scooter or during a taxi ride, you should still be able to make a road traffic accident claim if somebody else was at fault.
How long do road accident claims usually take?
The time it may take to settle a road traffic accident claim can vary significantly. According to the Ministry of Justice, straightforward claims where there is no liability dispute take between 4 and 9 months to conclude. However, it may take significantly longer to settle your claim, and this will largely depend on several factors, such as:
The type and severity of your injuries
If you suffered a relatively minor injury and the defendant admits liability, your claim could be settled in as little as a few months. On the other hand, if you suffered very severe or multiple injuries, it could take a lot of time to establish the full extent of their impact, and your road accident claim may take years to conclude.
Whether the other side admits liability for the road traffic accident
If the defendant admits liability quickly, you may also start to negotiate a settlement straight away and without going to court. If the other side denies responsibility for your injuries or does not offer a fair settlement, your solicitor might have to issue court proceedings. Going to court can take significantly longer but may be the only option to get compensation for your damages.
How long it will take to gather evidence
In straightforward cases where liability is clear and undeniable, road accident claims may be settled swiftly. If it is unclear how the accident occurred and who was responsible for it, you will need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This could take many months, especially if you are waiting for your injuries to stabilise so you can assess their full extent.
The estimated value of your claim
If the value of your claim is between £1,000 and £25,000, road accident solicitors will typically use the Claims Portal. This is a secure online system set up by the UK Government that allows solicitors and insurance companies to deal with RTA claims promptly and efficiently.
Most claims brought through the Claims Portal settle within four to nine months. You will need to go through the traditional claims process for higher value claims, which may take significantly longer.
The accident circumstances
If you were involved in a traffic accident where the other driver was clearly at fault, your claim should settle promptly. If liability is disputed, your solicitor will help you collect as much evidence as possible to prove you were not at fault for the incident. In rare circumstances, you may have to argue your claim before a judge, which could take significantly longer.
Whether you know the identity of the other party
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, it usually takes longer to settle a claim. You will have to report the accident to the police, who will try to find the responsible person. If they fail to identify the culprit, you will have to make a road traffic accident claim through the MIB, who will investigate your circumstances before awarding you compensation.
The victim is a child
Claims involving children usually take longer because you must go through an Infant Approval Hearing before a judge. They will examine all the available evidence to decide if the settlement you agreed upon is fair compensation for their injuries.
In any case, the sooner you contact a road traffic accident solicitor, the faster you may receive the compensation you deserve. This will also make it easier to talk to witnesses and collect any other necessary evidence to secure a winning claim.
Will I need to go to court to make a claim?
Going to court is a possible but highly unlikely scenario. More than 95% of all road accident compensation claims are settled by an agreement between the two sides, which brings several advantages for both parties:
- It saves a lot of time as it may take months or years before a case goes to trial
- It saves a lot of money, as going to court involves extra costs such as barrister and expert witness fees
- It protects your privacy, as courtroom trials and documents are free to the public
- It is more predictable, as opposed to having your road traffic accident claim decided by a judge
- It gives both parties control and certainty as, unlike trial verdicts, settlements cannot be appealed
There are several reasons for which a road traffic accident claim might go to court, such as:
- The defendant denies responsibility for your injuries, in which case a judge will consider all the available evidence and decide liability. Photographs of the accident scene, witness statements and medical records might be essential to help you win compensation.
- If the other party is slow to respond or ignores your traffic accident claim, you might have to issue court proceedings, in which case they are legally obliged to respond to your allegations of negligence.
- If you cannot agree on a compensation award with the defendant, a judge will evaluate the damages you suffered and decide the amount of compensation you should receive.
- If you are making a road traffic accident claim on behalf of a child, you must go through an Infant Approval Hearing before a judge. They will review the evidence of the case and the settlement to ensure the child receives a fair compensation award.
- If you have a particularly high value or complex claim. For example, if you are claiming for a brain or spine injury leading to a permanent and severe disability.
- If you are unable to cover some urgent expenses before your claim settles, your solicitor can apply to the court for an interim payment.
After your road traffic accident solicitor has issued court proceedings, negotiations can continue, and many claims can be resolved before the actual court hearing takes place.
In the unlikely event that you will have to attend court, your solicitor will ensure you are prepared and help you throughout the process. Personal injury claims are heard in a civil courtroom without a jury and usually last 3-5 days.
For more information about road traffic accident claims, call 0800 678 1410. An expert solicitor can let you know if you have a valid claim and answer any questions you may have.
Can I make a road accident claim on behalf of my child?
Yes, if your child suffered an injury in a road traffic accident, you are entitled to claim compensation for them. If you act on their behalf, you will be known as their litigation friend. To become a litigation friend, you will need to fill in a certificate of suitability stating that:
- You can conduct the legal proceedings in a fair and competent manner
- You have no interests adverse to those of the child
The only situation in which you might not be able to represent them in a road traffic accident claim is if they were injured as a passenger and you were the driver at fault for the accident. In this situation, someone else should act as their litigation friend to prevent any conflict of interest.
In child injury claims, you can get compensation for:
- Their physical and mental pain and suffering
- Home tutors, if they cannot return to school for a period
- Lost wages, if you had to take time off work to care for them
- Current and future medical expenses, including mobility aids and prostheses
- Loss of social interactions and impaired development
- Reduced quality of life and loss of amenities
Unlike other RTA claims, all claims involving children must be settled in court so that a Judge can decide if they are getting a fair compensation award for their injuries. Furthermore, parents cannot access the compensation award.
Instead, the money will be transferred into a court bank account and will gain interest until the child turns 18. The court might allow early release of some of the money only to cover medical or educational expenses that you cannot otherwise afford to pay.
To start a traffic accident claim on behalf of your child, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
Can I claim compensation if I was partly at fault for the road accident?
Even if you were partially at fault for your injuries, you could still make a road traffic accident claim. However, due to contributory negligence, your compensation award will be reduced to reflect your part of the blame.
If contributory negligence is established in any personal injury claim, the solicitors involved will aim to apportion liability to determine a fair compensation award. For example, if you were 25% to blame, you would receive 75% of the compensation you would have been entitled to if you had no fault. If your case ends up in court and it is decided that you had more than 50% of the blame, you would be denied compensation.
Establishing liability can be complicated, and it is not always clear who was responsible for the incident. Thus, you must collect as much evidence as possible, including photographs taken from different angles. Even if the other side admits liability at the scene, they might deny it once you start a claim, so you should never neglect gathering proof.
The same rule applies whether you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist involved in a road traffic accident. There are many different scenarios when contributory negligence or split liability would apply in RTA claims, including:
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Being injured as a passenger after you decided to get into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver
- Not wearing a helmet and suffering a head injury as a cyclist
- Not looking properly before crossing the street
- Failing to signal or misleading signalling
- Turning right while being overtaken
- Failing to look properly for approaching vehicles
- Using a pedestrian crossing when the walk light is red
- Sudden braking and rear-end crashes
- Being reckless, careless or hasty
If you were involved in a collision, you should never admit partial or complete liability without first talking to a road traffic accident solicitor. Ultimately, it is the evidence produced by both sides that has the final say in road accident compensation claims.
What happens if the other driver is uninsured or untraceable?
Being involved in a road traffic accident due to another driver’s negligence can be traumatic. If the other side leaves the accident scene or does not have insurance, this can make things even more distressful.
According to the Motor Insurer’s Bureau, just over 12% of all accidents reported each year in the UK involve a hit-and-run driver. If you were involved in an accident with an untraceable or uninsured driver, you might be worried that you will not be able to make a road traffic accident claim.
However, that is not the case. If the driver at fault for the accident does not have valid motor insurance, you can make a road accident compensation claim through the MIB. The Motor Insurer’s Bureau is an independent organisation that pays compensation to blameless victims of uninsured or hit-and-run drivers, funded by a proportion of all annual motor insurance premiums.
The police may sometimes manage to track down a hit-and-run driver, and if they have a valid insurance policy, you will be able to bring a road traffic accident claim with their insurer. Some basic steps you should follow if the other driver leaves the accident scene include:
- If you are hurt, seek immediate medical attention
- Note down the colour, make, and model of the vehicle they were driving
- Try to get the registration number of the vehicle
- Get the contact details of any potential witnesses who are willing to testify
- Take photos of any damage to your car and your injuries
- Report the road traffic accident to the police as soon as possible and no later than 14 days
- Check if any CCTV cameras might have recorded the accident
- Get in touch with your insurance provider as quickly as possible
These steps are similar if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, except you should also take their name and contact details. The MIB will investigate your claim, which may include taking a statement from you and any other witnesses and examining all the other evidence.
They might also arrange for you to have a medical examination, and if your claim is valid, they will usually award you compensation once this has been completed.
If you have fully comprehensive insurance, you will need to recover compensation for any damages to your vehicle from your insurance company, which may cause you to lose your no-claim bonuses.
For a free consultation with a road traffic accident solicitor, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know whether your case has merit and answer any questions you may have about making a traffic accident claim through the MIB.
Can I still make a claim if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?
Wearing a seatbelt is a vital and legally required aspect of travelling on UK roads. However, not wearing your seatbelt does not affect your right to make a traffic accident claim.
If you are travelling in a vehicle with seatbelts fitted, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all passengers under 14 wear them. Furthermore, children shorter than 1.35 meters require a car seat, baby seat or booster cushion suitable for their weight.
There are some instances where it is not a legal requirement to wear a seatbelt:
- If you are a passenger on a bus that does not have them fitted
- If you have a medical exemption certificate
- If you make deliveries or collections and travel for less than 50 meters between stops
- If you are a licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers
- In a vehicle used by police, fire and rescue services
Wearing a seatbelt will not prevent an accident from happening. Therefore, not wearing it does not affect your right to make a claim. Nonetheless, it will likely affect the severity and extent of your injuries. For this reason, you may be deemed partly responsible for the extent of your injuries.
This is known as contributory negligence, meaning that your compensation award will be reduced by a percentage that reflects your part of the blame. The courts generally advise the following:
- A reduction of 25% of the road accident compensation if your injuries would have been avoided by wearing a seatbelt
- A 15% reduction if the seatbelt would have made your injuries less severe
- No reduction when your injuries would have been just the same with or without a seatbelt
Can I make a claim for a road traffic accident that happened abroad?
In most cases, you can still make a road accident claim if your accident happened abroad. The first step in making a successful claim is to contact a road traffic accident solicitor. While the language barrier and cultural differences might make the process more complex, they will let you know everything you need to do to secure compensation for your damages.
If you have been involved in a car, pedestrian, bicycle, lorry or motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you should follow some basic steps to make sure you have evidence to support your RTA claim. For example:
- Call the police and secure a copy of their report
- Take photographs of the accident scene and your injuries
- Exchange insurance details with the other party
- Seek medical assistance as soon as possible
- Get the contact details of any witnesses
- Take the other driver’s contact details and licence plate
Even if your accident happened abroad, you might be able to claim in the UK. However, foreign time limits usually apply in this situation, which may be shorter than UK time limits. For example, you have one year after a road traffic accident to start a claim in Spain and two years if your accident occurred in Ireland. Road traffic compensation claims can potentially be made in the UK if:
- Your accident took place in the EU
- You suffered a severe injury
- You travelled with a UK-based tour operator
- It involves a coach or another vehicle operated by a UK company
- The defendant is a British resident
In other situations, you might have to initiate a traffic accident claim directly in the country where it happened. This can sometimes be beneficial and result in a higher compensation award, as is often the case in USA-based RTA claims.
Based on the circumstances of your accident, your claim could be against:
- The other driver and their insurance company
- A tour operator, if you suffered an injury while travelling as part of your package holiday
- The local authorities, if your road traffic accident was due to a poorly maintained road
- The MIB or a foreign equivalent, if you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident
Wherever you need to make your claim, your solicitor will offer support and advice at every step of the process. They may also be able to help you find a solicitor in a foreign country, to remove any language or travel barriers to claiming compensation.
If you need help making a road traffic accident claim abroad, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Or, if you prefer to receive a call back, enter your details into our online claim form, and an adviser will contact you shortly.
If you would like more information about specific types of road accidents, please click on the links below.