Car Accident Claims
If you have sustained injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, it is important to understand that you have a legal right to make a car accident claim and seek compensation for the pain and losses you have suffered.
Right from your initial contact, your injury solicitor will offer a completely free claim assessment and evaluation service, without any obligation or pressure. If you decide to choose them to handle your injury claim, the solicitor will provide you with a 100% no win no fee service. This removes any financial risk for making a compensation claim, as in the unlikely event that your injury claim is lost, you will not pay your solicitors any legal fees.
At InjuryClaims.co.uk, we work in partnership with a network of experienced personal injury solicitors who have helped thousands of people across the UK obtain compensation for the pain and losses they have suffered as a result of car accidents. Whether you have suffered injuries as a driver or as a passenger, they can help you obtain the highest level of compensation within the shortest possible time.
To find out more, call 0800 678 1410 today for a free consultation. A friendly legal adviser will be more than happy to discuss your options for making a claim, as well as answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, continue reading below for our comprehensive guide to car accident compensation claims.
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The aim of this guide is to provide all of the information you may need about making a claim for injuries you have sustained in a car crash. In doing so, we have tried to answer many of the questions people have regarding the law and the processes involved. The links below can be used to jump directly to a particular section of the page.
- What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?
- What is the process of making a car accident claim?
- What happens if the other driver denies fault for the accident?
- How long do I have to start my claim?
- How much compensation can I claim for a car accident injury?
- Will my car accident claim be No Win No Fee?
- What are the most common injuries caused by car accidents?
- Can I claim for a car accident caused by an uninsured or hit and run driver?
- Making a claim for an accident caused by a faulty vehicle
- Car Accident FAQs
What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?
If you have been involved in a car crash, there are few important steps that you need to take to be able to make a successful personal injury claim. After the accident, if it is possible, you should try to collect all information and details relevant to the accident, which could include:
- the contact details, name and address of the other party at fault for the accident
- the contact details and names of any witnesses present at the scene of the accident
- the motor insurance details of the party at fault
- photographs of the accident, such as the damage to the vehicles, the position of the cars on the road, etc.
Depending on the circumstances of the road accident, another step you may need to take is to report the accident to the police. In most cases contacting the police will not be necessary. But examples of where it will be required include accidents involving serious injuries and accidents where the third party fails to stop at the scene (often referred to as hit and run accidents).
You should always get your injuries examined by your doctor or at a hospital as soon as possible, no matter how minor they may appear. First and foremost, this will help to ensure you receive the appropriate medical attention and treatment to aid your recovery.
If you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, your medical records will be used as evidence of the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. You should also keep a record of any expenses that are incurred, such as the cost of medical treatment, medication or travel expenses.
What is the process of making a car accident claim?
The first step in all personal injury claims, including those made following car and other road accidents, is to contact a solicitor to arrange a free case assessment. This is conducted over the phone and in most cases will take less than 15 minutes.
During the consultation, you will be asked to describe what happened, who was at fault, what type of injuries you sustained and a few other questions to help the solicitors determine if you are eligible to pursue a claim. You are also given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the process and the services they can offer.
Generally speaking, car accident claims are considered easier to process than most other injury claims, such as accidents at work, occupiers liability and medical negligence. Most road traffic accidents are processed through the Claims Portal, which is an initiative that was rolled out by the Government in 2010.
The aim of the Claims Portal, which is officially called the ‘Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Scheme’, is to process claims valued below £25,000 within 6 months or less.
If your case qualifies for the scheme, your solicitor will enter all of the details regarding your claim into the online portal. This provides the third party insurance company and the courts with the information they need to investigate the case. There are set timescales that each party must work towards, which helps to minimise delays in the process.
The three stages of the Claims Portal
Making a road accident claim through the online claims portal can be broken down into three separate stages, which are as follows:
Claim Investigation (Stage 1) – A Claim Notification Form will be completed by your solicitor which details the claim being made against the third party. This will be sent to the insurers of the defendant, which is the driver responsible for your accident. Receipt of this notification must be acknowledged within a single working day. Following this, the defendant has up to 40 days to either accept or deny liability.
If liability for the accident is accepted, the claim will progress to stage 2 of the scheme. But if the defendant and their insurance company denies responsibility, or claims that you were partly at fault, the case leaves the online portal and would proceed under standard personal injury rules.
Settlement Negotiation (Stage 2) – Your injury solicitor will arrange for you to have an independent medical assessment. This will be used, along with evidence of any financial losses, to calculate how much compensation you should be entitled to. This amount will be sent to the defendant’s representative, who will then have a maximum of 35 days within which to negotiate and agree upon a final settlement amount.
Court Proceedings (Stage 3) – If after negotiations an agreement cannot be reached, the claim will move to the litigation stage. The final offer that was made by the defendant will be paid to you, and you have the option of initiating court proceedings to try to recover the rest.
What happens if the other driver denies fault for the accident?
If the driver of the vehicle that caused your accident does not accept responsibility, the process of making your claim can take slightly longer. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make a claim.
In these cases it is important to have a good solicitor on board to fight your corner. They will help to build a strong case against the person you believe was at fault by gathering evidence to support your claim. This could include CCTV evidence, witness statements, police reports and photographs.
Once this evidence has been provided to the third party insurance company, they have the option to accept or deny liability. Providing there is good supporting evidence, most car insurance companies will be keen to negotiate a settlement. If fault for the accident is still denied, court proceedings can be issued to have the case resolved in court. But this is very much a last resort which very rarely happens.
How long do I have to start my claim?
The time limit for filing your claim for compensation is three years from the date of the accident and applies whether you were a driver or a passenger.
Although you do have time to start legal action, experienced injury lawyers recommend that you seek legal advice as early as possible following your crash. This ensures that there is plenty of time available to investigate and gather evidence, as well as making the actual process of gathering evidence, such as witness statements, much easier.
If at the time of the accident you were under the age of 18 years old, the three year countdown only begins on the date of your 18th birthday. So in other words, you have up until your 21st birthday to start your claim.
Alternatively, a parent or guardian of a child injured in a car accident can initiate a personal injury claim on their behalf. In this situation, the person making the claim is known as the ‘litigation friend’ and must act in the best interests of the child that has suffered injuries.
How much compensation can I claim for a car accident injury?
The whole aim of making an injury claim is to receive compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses that have been inflicted upon you by the negligent actions of a third party. So wanting to know how much compensation you may be entitled to claim is naturally going to be a key question for anyone thinking about making a claim.
The quickest and easiest way of finding out the potential value of your claim is to contact an injury lawyer for a free case assessment. After discussing the circumstances of your car accident and the injuries and losses you have suffered, your solicitors will be able to calculate the likely compensation amount you should be entitled to.
How much compensation you can claim for a car accident, as with all other types of personal injury cases, is broken down into two different areas. These are known as general damages and special damages.
General damages for a car accident
General damages is the amount of compensation that is being claimed for your pain and suffering. So this focuses purely on the injury or injuries you have sustained as a direct result of your accident. To determine this, you will need to be examined by an independent medical professional. A medical report will then be produced which details your injuries, the likely timescale for recovery and whether you may suffer any long-lasting or permanent effects.
The Judicial Studies Board (JSB) produces a yearly guide detailing the level of damages that should be awarded for different severity of injuries caused to each part of the body. Although not legally binding, these guidelines are used by most solicitors, courts and insurance companies to assess compensation amounts.
Special damages for car accidents
Special damages looks at the financial losses you have suffered due to the negligence of the third party, as well as any future losses. For many working people, having to take time off work due to injury or illness means that they don’t get paid, or they only receive a fraction of what they would usually earn. If this loss of earnings was due to a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you can claim back compensation to cover your losses.
If you have suffered severe or life-changing injuries in a car crash, it could affect your ability to work and earn money in the future. For example, if you work as a builder and have sustained a back injury, you might struggle to go back to your normal daily tasks. If this applies to your particular circumstances, your solicitor will ensure you are fully compensation for your future losses.
In addition to lost earnings, the victims of road traffic accidents may also find themselves out of pocket due to the following:
- the cost of prescription and medical care
- travel expenses, such as taxi or bus fares to hospital appointments
- vehicle damage
- rehabilitation costs, such as physiotherapy
- home adaptations
All of these financial costs will be calculated by your solicitors to determine the amount of special damages you should be looking to claim. Working closely with you to understand the extent of your injuries, your injury solicitor will work hard to ensure the compensation you receive fully reflects the impact the accident has had on your life.
Will my car accident claim be No Win No Fee?
Many people worry about the costs associated with making a car accident claim, and for this reason, some choose not to pursue a claim. However, with the help of the 100% No Win No Fee service, you can pursue your right to injury compensation without putting yourself under any financial risk.
We understand that you have already suffered enough pain and stress following an accident to then have the added worry of solicitor bills. So your solicitor will therefore aim to keep the whole process as straightforward and transparent as possible.
The No Win No Fee policy means that if you don’t win your claim, you won’t pay your solicitor a penny for the work they have done. If you win your case, you will pay a small fee to your solicitor, directly from the compensation you are awarded. This fee is discussed upfront with you before your claim is taken on, so there are no unexpected fees along the way.
Why won’t I receive 100% compensation? In the past, you may have seen adverts on television and online about keeping 100% compensation. This was possible as solicitors were able to recover their costs from the losing side, i.e. the insurance company of the driver at fault for the collision. Unfortunately, the law was changed in April 2013 meaning that the solicitor’s fee for winning your case, known as a success fee, now has to be paid out of the compensation you are awarded. The maximum percentage allowed is 25%, but your injury lawyer will ensure this is kept as low as possible to maximise the amount you receive.
What are the most common injuries caused by car accidents?
One of the most common injuries sustained, and one that has received a lot of negative press in recent years is whiplash. The reason why whiplash injuries are so common in car accidents is that an impact, especially at speed, will almost always cause a rapid forward and backwards movement to the neck. This sudden movement can cause the ligaments and tendons within the neck to stretch and tear, resulting in the injury we refer to as whiplash.
But of course, whiplash is just one of many different injury types that are suffered by drivers and passengers involved in car accidents. Other injuries sustained can range from cuts, bruises and concussion through to broken bones and serious head injuries.
Can I claim for a car accident caused by an uninsured or hit and run driver?
Being involved in any car accident is bad enough. But when the accident is caused by a driver that doesn’t stop or who doesn’t have valid motor insurance, it can feel even more distressing. Although not having an insurance company to claim against does complicate the situation, it is important to know that you may still be entitled to receive compensation.
The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) is a scheme that was created to compensate people that find themselves in this very situation. The process is slightly different to claiming against an insurance company, but most injury lawyers are experienced in helping people with claims through the MIB.
As with other road accidents, to make a MIB claim, it must still be possible to prove that the other party was responsible for your accident and the subsequent injuries you have suffered.
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident or the third party is not insured, it is important to report the incident to the police straight away. The police record will be used to help support your claim.
Making a claim for an accident caused by a faulty vehicle
All car drivers have a legal responsibility to ensure their vehicle is maintained in a safe and roadworthy condition. This is why the vast majority of vehicles on UK roads are required to have a MOT each year.
But there are some situations where a third party, such as a car manufacturer or a garage, may be held liable for a car fault that has caused or contributed to an accident.
A car manufacturer could be held responsible if you have sustained injuries as a result of a manufacturing fault, such as a faulty airbag being installed. Alternatively, if you have hired a garage to fix your car and they fail to carry out the work properly, you may have a claim against them if it can be proven that their negligence resulted in your accident.
To make a claim based on a faulty vehicle you would need to have your car assessed by an independent mechanic. This would be used to verify that the fault was caused by a third party and that this fault caused or contributed to your accident.
Car Accident FAQs
What are my rights as a passenger injured in a car accident?
If you are a passenger injured in a car accident, you are entitled to claim for any personal injuries you have sustained. This would be the case even if the driver of the vehicle you were travelling in was at fault.
If another driver, cyclist or pedestrian caused the accident, your claim for compensation would be made against them and their insurance company. The driver of the vehicle you were travelling in, along with any other passenger, would also be entitled to make a claim if they too have sustained injuries.
If on the other hand the driver of the vehicle you are a passenger in was at fault, your claim would be made against their insurance company.
Do I need to report a car accident to the police?
If you are involved in a road traffic accident, you must always stop at the scene, as failing to do so is a criminal offence. As to whether you should report a car accident to the police, it depends on the situation and the injuries sustained by you and anybody else involved.
If the injuries are relatively minor and you have exchanged insurance and contact details with the other party, it is not usually necessary to contact the police. However, there are situations when the police should be called straight away, such as:
- if you or anybody else has sustained considerable injuries in the collision
- if the third party fails to stop at the scene or refuses to provide their contact and insurance details
- if the driver of the vehicle doesn't have valid motor insurance
- if the accident is causing an obstruction or a danger to other road users
- if you have reason to believe the other driver may be drunk or driving under the influence of drugs
- f you feel threatened or intimidated by the actions of anybody involved in the accident, such as road rage situations.
Can I make a claim if I wasn't wearing a seatbelt when the accident happened?
Not wearing a seatbelt does not mean you are unable to make a claim for injuries you have sustained in a car accident that was not your fault. In most situations, not wearing a seatbelt would be classed as a case of contributory negligence, which means you are deemed partly at fault for your injuries. With claims involving contributory negligence, the amount of compensation you are awarded would be reduced to take into account the degree to which you are considered responsible for your injuries. So if it is estimated that your decision not to wear a seatbelt made your injuries 25% more significant than if you had been wearing a seatbelt, you would only receive 75% of the compensation.
Can I claim for a car accident that happened abroad?
Yes, personal injury solicitors can help if you have been injured in a car accident abroad, providing of course that somebody else was at fault. If the incident happened within Europe, the process of making an accident claim is almost the same as if the accident had happened in the UK. Under the Fourth European Union Motor Insurance Directive, the insurer of the driver at fault would have to nominate a UK based representative to settle the claim. This simplifies the process as it avoids having to deal directly with insurance and legal representatives from a different country where language differences may cause complications and delays.
For road accidents that take place outside of Europe, the process is more complicated, but it is still something that our experienced solicitors can assist you with. In these situations that claim for compensation has to be made in the country where you had your car accident.
No matter which country you were in, if the car accident was not your fault, you have every right to want to be compensated for your injuries and losses.
I was involved in a car accident on private land. Can I still make a claim?
Although most car accidents are likely to occur on public roads, there are many situations where accidents may happen on private land. This could include a collision within a pub car park or an accident within the grounds of a campsite or holiday park.
These type of accidents are usually minor involving low-speed collisions that result in minimal damage to vehicles and the people involved. But on occasion, these accidents can result in injury. The good news is that if you find yourself in this situation, the rules regarding making an injury claim are exactly the same as if the accident had happened on a public road. So in simple terms, if somebody else was at fault and you suffered an injury, you should be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation whether it occurred on public or private land.
Do car accident claims ever go to court?
The vast majority of claims for car accidents never result in court proceedings. They are usually resolved by settlement following negotiations between solicitors acting on behalf of each party. Court action will usually only be issued if there is a dispute regarding who was at fault for the accident or an agreement cannot be reached regarding the amount of compensation that should be awarded.
Can I claim for personal possessions damaged in a car accident?
It is not uncommon for personal possessions to be damaged when a person is involved in a car crash. As well as the clothes you are wearing at the time of the collision, items such as mobile phones, laptops and work equipment might also be damaged.
It should be possible to add the cost of replacing these items to your claim against the driver at fault for the accident. This would be classed as special damages, which includes other financial losses such as lost wages and medical costs.
Your solicitor will be able to help you assess your financial losses to calculate the amount of compensation you should be looking to claim.
Have any questions?
If you have been involved in a car accident and have suffered an injury, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to discuss your claim. An experienced personal injury solicitors will assess your claim without any obligation, and if you have a valid claim they will be happy to handle your case on your behalf.