Motorway Accident Claims
The UK boasts some of the safest motorways in all of Europe. But unfortunately, accidents do still occur. Due to the volume of vehicles and the high speeds they travel, motorway accidents can lead to significant injuries and fatalities.
Congestion and high speeds aside, there is also the associated risk of a vehicle malfunction, like tyre blowouts and breakdowns that can result in accidents.
Typical injuries from motorway accidents include trauma to the spine or head, whiplash, facial injuries, broken bones and internal injuries. According to official statistics, there were approximately 120,000 casualties of varying severity on UK motorways for the year ending in June 2021.
It is worth noting that motorway accidents also refer to accidents occurring on slip roads leading to and from the motorway.
If you have sustained an injury on a motorway due to negligence by another party, you should be entitled to make a motorway accident claim.
Our guide will show you the ins and outs of making a successful motorway injury claim. We will answer some of the most common questions, including the steps you should take if you are injured in a motorway accident, how much compensation you could claim and the time limits involved.
If you would like to speak to a trained legal adviser about an accident you or a loved one has been involved in, call free on 0800 678 1410. Or, if you would prefer to be called back, enter your details into our online claim form.
Can I make a motorway accident claim?
As with any personal injury claim, motorway accident compensation is subject to determining if someone else was responsible for the accident. In this case, it will typically be the negligent driver, though other parties can also be blamed for the accident, like the Highway Agency if the roads were in poor condition.
In addition to someone else being at fault for the accident, it must have caused you to suffer an injury that has required medical attention. This means you must have your injury assessed by visiting your GP or a hospital.
If you’ve been involved in a motorway accident but have been lucky to escape without injury, you wouldn’t be able to claim for what could have happened. You would, of course, still be able to claim for any vehicle damage through your insurance company.
The accident that caused your injury or injuries must have happened within the last three years. Unless you were a child at the time of the accident, there is a strict time limit of three years to make a personal injury claim.
To find out if you are eligible to make a motorway injury claim, contact a legal adviser on 0800 678 1410. They will be able to assess the merits of your case during a free consultation. If you have a valid case, they will connect you with an experienced personal injury solicitor to claim on your behalf.
What do I do when I have been involved in a motorway accident?
Adrenaline is likely to be pumping after a motorway accident, so it can be very challenging to keep calm. It is normal to feel dazed, confused and in shock. However, you need to keep your wits about you and gather as much evidence as possible to solidify your motorway accident claim.
If you are involved in an accident on a motorway, you should first stop your car as soon as it is safe to do so. Switch on your hazards to alert other drivers of the accident and call the emergency services for assistance.
It is best not to attempt to leave the motorway – your car may be unsafe to drive much further, which could put you and other road users in further danger.
Next, if you are able, get the registration number of other vehicles involved in the accident, take photos of the scene, and make a note of your location. You can make use of your phone’s location services if you are in doubt. If there were any witnesses on the scene, try to get their details as well.
Once the scene has been cleared, you should have your injuries assessed by a doctor. The sudden surge of adrenaline can mask any injuries, so it is best to err on the side of caution, even if you are feeling fine.
Keep any receipts related to the visit, including parking tickets. Finally, contact your insurance company to notify them about the car accident. Also, keep any receipts for out of pocket repairs to your vehicle. All these pieces of evidence will help to resolve a motorway accident compensation claim swiftly.
Common causes of motorway accidents
As motorways have higher speed limits than public roads, the impact can be much greater in any subsequent road accident. Add the extra congestion, and you have many potential causes of motorway accidents, including;
- Driving above the speed limit
- Not paying attention to the road
- Driving under the influence of medication, drugs or alcohol
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Using a mobile phone while driving
- Bad weather conditions
- Stationary vehicles
- Debris on the road
Personal injury solicitors deal with these types of claims daily, so regardless of the cause, they will assess your case and advise you on how to proceed.
What are common types of motorway accident claims?
Just like there are many different causes for motorway accidents, there are many different types. These types of accident claims are generally unique to motorways due to the higher speed, and longer distances travelled. The most common types of motorway accident claims include;
- Car crash pile-ups – These multi-vehicle collisions can be deadly and commonly occur on congested and high-speed routes. It can happen when a truck suddenly overturns or if a vehicle suddenly stalls in the middle of the road. The short braking distance at high speeds causes a chain reaction.
- Vehicles overtaking and undertaking – The Highway Code sets out specific guidelines for safely overtaking on a motorway, but accidents still happen daily. Say you are cruising down the motorway at the speed limit, and your current lane comes to a drastic halt. You may see a gap in the middle lane and decide to risk it to get past. However, if you overtake using the inside lane (otherwise known as undertaking), you are breaking the law and will be at fault. As per the Highway Code, drivers must follow at a safe distance and always check their blind spots before changing lanes.
- Truck accidents – More than half of the fatal accidents on UK motorways involved trucks or heavy goods vehicles, even if they only consist of 10% of the total traffic. High winds, low visibility, and congestion can increase the risk of these types of lorry accidents.
- Speeding and tailgating – The faster you travel, the less time you have to react to a hazard on the road. Your braking distance is further decreased in wet weather. If a driver ignores the safe travelling distance and drives behind another vehicle at high speed, a collision is almost inevitable if the other car has to brake suddenly.
- Motorway road works – Britain’s motorways are not just considered one of the safest in Europe, but also the busiest. Road users travel approximately 150 billion kilometres each year by motorway, and this results in a lot of wear and tear. Road works are needed to keep the motorways in tip-top condition. These works are often highlighted by bright orange cones, crash barriers and roadwork signs. Failing to notice the reduced speed and that the lanes are narrowed and funnelled into other lanes can result in a crash.
- Faulty brake or headlights – If you are travelling at higher speeds, it is critical to clearly see the vehicles in front of you, especially if they are slowing down or changing lanes. Nothing will lead to an accident as quickly as a broken brake light.
- Falling asleep at the wheel – Traveling long distances can be strenuous, and a fifth of motorway accidents in the UK happen because drivers fall asleep while driving. These accidents are especially common between midnight and 6 am.
Common injuries suffered in motorway accidents
The severity of motorway accidents will vary drastically. You could walk away with a few scrapes, bruises and soft tissue damage if you are lucky. But unfortunately, many of the injuries sustained in accidents on the motorway will be more severe. This could include life-changing injuries, such as:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Fractured or broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Burn injuries
- Facial injuries and scars
- Brain trauma and head injuries
- Nerve damage
Suffering from any of these injuries can be extremely traumatic and devastating. A motorway accident claim aims to compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced, as well as any financial expenses you have faced as a result of the accident.
Your injury type and severity will form the basis of your compensation settlement.
How much compensation can I claim for an accident on the motorway?
As we’ve just touched on, the amount of compensation you receive will largely depend on the extent of your injuries, the pain you’ve suffered and your financial losses related to the accident.
Since motorway accidents can result in a wide range of different injuries and consequences, it is difficult to provide you with an estimate.
The role of your personal injury solicitor is to negotiate the best settlement based on all the unique circumstances in line with the guidelines set out by the Judicial College.
Your motorway injury claim is comprised of two parts:
- General damages that will compensate you for the pain and suffering, and;
- Special damages which aim to recoup any additional financial losses related to the accident and your injuries.
The type of financial losses that could be part of your injury claim include:
- Damages to your vehicle
- Loss of earnings (both past and future)
- Medical treatment and travelling expenses
- On-going care and rehabilitation
- Any adjustments needed to your home, such as mobility aids
How long do I have to make a motorway injury claim?
Generally speaking, you will have three years from the date of the accident to make a successful motorway accident claim. Some mitigating circumstances can extend this initial three year period, for instance, if your injuries only came to light sometime after the accident.
In cases where a child has been injured, there are two options. Firstly, a parent or guardian can claim compensation on behalf of their child at any point before they turn 18 years old.
If this hasn’t been done, the second option is for the child to make a claim themselves once they become an adult. This gives them until their 21st birthday to make a claim.
Even if it may seem like you have plenty of time to make your claim, we would recommend that you don’t delay. It is generally best to apply for a motorway injury claim as soon as possible while the events are still fresh in your memory. This can also make the process of gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim both quicker and easier.
Can I make a claim on behalf of somebody else?
In some cases, a person injured on a motorway through no fault of their own might be incapable of starting a claim themselves. In this case, you could claim on their behalf and take up the mantle of a “litigation friend.”
The reasons can vary – the victim can either be a child under 18 years old or an adult who lacks the mental capacity to handle a claim by themselves.
Do note that the position of litigation friend should not be taken lightly. You will be responsible for making important decisions on behalf of the claimant and should only have their best interests at heart.
Find out if you can start a motorway accident claim
If you have been injured in an accident on a motorway that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to compensation. To find out if you have a valid claim, speak to an experienced legal adviser today by calling 0800 678 1410. Alternatively, you can enter your details into our claim form, and a legal representative will call you back.
If you are eligible to make a claim, you will be connected with a personal injury solicitor who will help you on a no win no fee basis. This means there are no upfront costs, and if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay a penny.
If your injury solicitor wins your case, they will charge an agreed percentage of the compensation award. This is capped at a maximum of 25%.