Car passenger accident claims
If you've been injured as a passenger in a car accident, we can help you make a passenger accident claim for injury compensation.
How Much Could You Claim?

Car Passenger Accident Claims

Passengers in any vehicle on UK roads are entitled to compensation if they suffer an injury following a motor accident. By way of ensuring their protection, legislation states that driving a vehicle without valid motor insurance is an offence.

Passengers who suffer injuries can, therefore, claim against the policy of a driver at fault for an accident. That means they need not worry about causing any financial difficulty to whoever was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. Furthermore, you could still claim if the party at fault does not have valid insurance. In these circumstances, a claim can be made through the Motor Insurers Bureau, which we discuss in further detail below.

The injuries you could sustain as a passenger in a vehicle can vary massively in severity, with the worst cases leading to a fatality. It is essential to recognise that passengers are entitled to make a compensation claim for injuries and losses sustained, no matter what their relationship with the driver might be.

The following guide provides information on how injury lawyers can assist victims of road traffic accidents in achieving the compensation that they are rightly due. For more information or to start a passenger injury claim today, please get in touch by calling free on 0800 032 3660. You can also use our online claim form to request a call back.

Can I make a passenger injury claim?

If you were injured as a passenger in a road traffic accident, you can claim against the driver responsible for the accident. That could be the person driving the vehicle you were in or another car that collided with you. Since you were the passenger and had no control over the situation, there is a high chance you will make a successful claim for compensation.

The most straightforward way to determine whether you are eligible to make a passenger personal injury claim is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will ask you some basic questions to determine if:

  • Another party owed you a duty of care
  • They breached their duty through negligence or wrongdoing
  • You were injured as a passenger in a car accident as a result
  • The accident took place less than three years ago

Your solicitor will refer to the Road Traffic Act 1988 and other relevant legislation to prove a duty of care. It is essential to remember that you are eligible to make a claim whether you were a passenger in a car, taxi, bus, motorbike, or any other vehicle.

Keep in mind that the responsible party may not always be a driver. If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, the defendant could also be:

  • A manufacturer, if the accident happened due to a vehicle defect
  • A car repair shop, if they failed to identify faults with your vehicle or repair it adequately
  • A pedestrian or cyclist who acted negligently and caused your vehicle to crash
  • The local council or authorities responsible for road maintenance if your accident was due to a pothole or another road hazard

Should I make a passenger accident claim?

Many people feel uncomfortable about making a car accident passenger claim for compensation. That is because many people know the driver of the car in a personal way, and so claiming may feel like an attack on a loved one or a friend. However, we encourage victims who have suffered injuries following a road traffic accident to discuss their case with a solicitor.

Drivers in the UK are legally obliged to hold valid insurance for their vehicles. As such, any compensation paid will come from that policy and not directly from the driver’s wallet. You are entitled to recover the costs of any financial losses, treatment or time off work caused by the accident. You also deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering associated with the injuries that you suffer.

Who is responsible for passengers in a car?

The driver of a vehicle is responsible for all passengers below the age of 14, and this includes ensuring that they are appropriately seated and restrained correctly. To comply with UK law, a driver with passengers under the age of 14 must observe the following where necessary:

  • Correctly install rearward and forward-facing child seats;
  • Ensuring that a booster seat is used where necessary;
  • Appropriately deactivating airbags as required;
  • Ensure that passengers wear a seatbelt.

Passengers who are above the age of 14 are responsible for ensuring that they use their seat belts correctly. In cases involving taxis, the driver is exempt from responsibility if the cab has a fixed partition.

The driver of a car which has passengers under the age of 14 who are not adequately restrained can be subject to a fine of £500 if stopped by the police. Such a fine may also impact future motor insurance costs.

Nonetheless, all drivers must follow traffic laws, respect the speed limits and operate their vehicles safely. They must avoid aggressive driving and any distractions that could put passengers at risk. Drivers must also ensure their vehicles are in good working condition, regularly inspected, and properly maintained.

What should I do if I was a passenger in a car accident?

If you have suffered an injury as a passenger following a motor accident, the primary consideration should be your health. Call an ambulance at the scene or visit your GP or the A&E as soon as possible. A thorough medical assessment will ensure your injuries are accurately evaluated and you receive the correct treatment to keep your situation from worsening. Your medical records will serve as essential evidence in your passenger accident claim.

If you want compensation from the party responsible for your accident, contact a solicitor as early as possible. They will require as much evidence as possible to make a successful passenger personal injury claim. You can help by providing any of the following:

  • A thorough report of the accident, including the details of the driver and their insurance company
  • Contact details of any witnesses, including their name, address and telephone number
  • The registration number of other vehicles involved in the accident
  • Copies of police statements, if available
  • Photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles involved, and the injuries sustained
  • Copies of medical records
  • Your notes of how the accident occurred and how it has affected you
  • Receipts and invoices for any required treatment and other financial expenses
  • Proof of loss of earnings, if relevant

Once your solicitor has gathered all evidence, they will build up a case against the defendant to prove their liability and the severity of your injuries and subsequent losses. Your solicitor will then negotiate with the driver’s insurance and legal team to achieve the highest compensation possible for your case.

Common causes of road accidents

Road accidents can occur due to various factors and causes, such as:

  • Distracted driving. Using a mobile phone, eating, or any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from the road can lead to accidents.
  • Speeding. Driving at speeds higher than the posted speed limits or too fast for road and weather conditions can lead to severe accidents.
  • Impaired driving. Alcohol, drugs, and even prescription medications can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
  • Fatigue. Tired or drowsy drivers are less attentive and have slower reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Reckless driving. Aggressive driving behaviours like tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and road rage can lead to crashes.
  • Weather conditions. Rain, fog, ice, and snow can make roads slippery and reduce visibility, contributing to accidents.
  • Running red lights and stop signs. Disobeying traffic signals and signs is a common cause of accidents.
  • Not yielding right of way. Not giving the right of way to other drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists when required can lead to collisions.
  • Vehicle defects. Mechanical failures, such as brake malfunctions or tire blowouts, can lead to accidents.
  • Poor road conditions. Potholes, debris, and poorly designed or maintained roads can be hazardous for drivers.
  • Not obeying signs and signals. Ignoring road signs and traffic signals increases the risk of accidents.

If you were a passenger injured in a car accident, you have the right to claim compensation for any resulting injuries. As you had no control over the vehicle, it is unlikely your liability will be disputed.

Common injuries caused by road traffic accidents

Road traffic accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity from minor to life-threatening. Common injuries seen in passenger injury claims include:

  • Whiplash. This is a neck injury that frequently occurs in rear-end collisions. It leads to neck pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
  • Fractures. Road accidents can cause broken bones, and fractures in the arms, legs, and ribs are common.
  • Head injuries. Head injuries range from concussions and contusions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Cuts and lacerations. Broken glass, debris, and sharp objects in the vehicle can lead to superficial or severe deep cuts.
  • Chest injuries. Chest injuries often occur when the body hits the dashboard. These injuries can range from bruising and rib fractures to more severe damage to internal organs.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Severe accidents can result in spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis or limited mobility.
  • Soft tissue injuries. Damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments can lead to sprains, strains, and long-term pain.
  • Burns. In cases where vehicles catch fire, a passenger in a car crash can also suffer burn injuries. Chemical burns from vehicle fluids are also possible.
  • Internal injuries. Blunt force trauma can cause internal injuries, including organ damage.
  • Psychological injuries. Not all injuries are physical. The emotional impact of a road traffic accident can lead to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Amputations. In severe accidents, limbs can be crushed or severed, necessitating amputation.

The type of injury you suffered will determine how much passenger injury compensation you might receive if you make a successful claim. To learn more about your settlement prospects, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back to talk with an experienced legal adviser.

How do I make a passenger whiplash claim?

Whiplash is one of the most common neck injuries drivers or passengers suffer in car accidents. It occurs when the head is suddenly and forcefully jolted backwards and forward during a collision. It is commonly associated with rear-end car accidents but can also result from other impacts. Whiplash can cause various symptoms, which typically include:

  • Neck pain. Pain and stiffness in the neck are the most common and noticeable symptoms of whiplash.
  • Headaches. Many people with whiplash experience headaches, which can range from mild to severe.
  • Shoulder pain. The pain may extend into the shoulders and upper back.
  • Arm pain and tingling. You may experience pain, tingling, or numbness in the arms, often due to nerve compression in the neck.
  • Reduced range of motion. Whiplash can limit the ability to move the neck comfortably.
  • Fatigue. It is expected to feel unusually tired as a result of whiplash.
  • Dizziness. Some people experience dizziness, vertigo, and a false sense of spinning or motion.
  • Cognitive and concentration problems. Whiplash can lead to difficulties with concentration, memory, and thinking.
  • Sleep disturbances. The pain and discomfort may affect your sleep patterns.

You could make a passenger whiplash claim if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence. According to the Whiplash Reform Programme introduced in 2021, the compensation for whiplash is now linked to the duration of the injury.

Furthermore, the government has set up an online portal through which you can claim compensation for injuries valued under £5,000 (Small Claims Track). The amount you could claim through the government’s official injury claims portal for whiplash is:

  • £240 if the injury lasts less than three months
  • £495 for recovery between three and six months
  • £840 if you need between six and nine months to recover
  • £1,320 if the injury lasts more than nine months but not more than 12
  • £2,040 for recovery between 12 and 15 months
  • £3,005 if you need up to 18 months to recover
  • £4,215 for recovery between 18 and 24 months

If you have also suffered a psychological injury, the compensation award in a passenger whiplash claim will range between £260 and £4,345.

Can I still claim if the driver has no insurance or the cause of the accident was the road conditions?

Motor insurance is a legal compulsory requirement for all UK drivers, and it protects victims who suffer a personal injury following accidents. However, if the driver liable for the accident in which you were injured has no motor insurance, you could still claim compensation for your injuries.

In such cases, the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) would pay the compensation amount from a fund built from mandatory contributions by UK insurance companies. This fund acts as a safety net for victims of motor accidents who are unable to claim from an insurance company directly. That is typically the case following an accident with an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run.

Through maintaining the MIB fund, all passengers are protected and can access the compensation they rightly deserve following an accident in which they suffered injuries.

If your accident was due to poor road conditions, such as potholes or cracks in the road, the National Highways or your local council may be held responsible. It is a road owner’s legal duty to maintain roads in good condition to help avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries. An oversight of this duty would make the owner responsible for your suffering, and you may be able to claim compensation from them under the Highways Act 1980.

Can I claim compensation from a family member?

If a loved one caused the accident in which you were injured, you could still make a passenger claim. If your relative is liable, you can claim from their insurance company.

Although this could make you feel awkward, you deserve compensation for the pain, suffering and other losses caused by their negligence. You should not worry that your claim will bring financial hardship to your loved one. The only repercussion they will feel is a likely increase in their insurance premium.

Insurance companies often increase your premium if you have caused an accident within the past five years. That is because they believe you are more likely to be involved in an accident again, and they will have to cover your costs if a claim is made. On average, you may expect an increase of £136 after an accident.

Can I make a claim if the driver was intoxicated?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and could significantly increase the risk of accidents and injuries. However, if you got into a car with an intoxicated driver and were injured in a road traffic accident, you may still be able to make a car accident claim.

Even if you knew they were under the influence, the driver still owes you a duty of care. They have a responsibility to drive carefully and keep you safe from injury. However, if you were willing to get into a car with them and had an accident, the compensation you receive may be reduced.

That is called contributory negligence and holds you partially responsible for the harm you suffered. In such cases, the contributory negligence will usually be between 15% and 25%. Thus, if you suffered a leg injury that would typically be worth £20,000, your award will be reduced to anywhere between £15,000 and £17,000 to account for your part of the blame.

Can I make a passenger claim if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?

You are required by law to wear a seatbelt as a passenger if one is attached to your seat. That is extremely important for your safety, and you could be fined up to £500 if you fail to do it.

You could still claim compensation as a passenger in an accident even if you were not wearing your seatbelt. That is because the incident was out of your control. However, the defendant could argue that your negligence contributed to your injuries, and you may receive a reduced compensation. Just like with the above situation, your award might be reduced:

  • By 15%, if your injuries would have been less severe if you were wearing your seatbelt
  • By 25%, if the seatbelt would have protected you against harm altogether
  • If the seatbelt would have made no difference, you will receive the total compensation award for your injuries

Can I make a claim on behalf of a loved one?

If a loved one was injured in an accident and cannot claim compensation themselves, you could represent them in a legal case. A solicitor can help you fill in and file all the necessary documents to be appointed as their litigation friend. The court will allow you to represent your loved one if it decides that you:

  • Can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently
  • Have no conflict of interest with the injured person

In this context, you may be unable to represent your child or a loved one if you were the car’s driver, as this could give rise to a conflict of interest.

The litigation friend procedure is typically used when the injured party is:

  • A child under 18;
  • An adult who is considered a protected party under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, meaning they suffer from:
    • A traumatic brain injury or stroke
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • An intellectual disability like Down syndrome or autism
    • A mental health disorder like schizophrenia
    • A neurodegenerative condition like dementia

You will have several duties as a litigation friend, such as:

  • Act in the claimant’s best interests
  • Consult with solicitors and take legal advice
  • Help them gather evidence to support the case
  • Make decisions about the claim
  • Sign legal documents and deal with correspondence
  • Consider any compensation offers from the defendant

If you win a passenger injury claim on behalf of a child or protected party, a judge must approve the settlement during an Approval Hearing. They will consider the available evidence to determine whether the amount awarded is fair and sufficient. The funds will then be kept in a court bank account until the child turns 18 or in a personal injury trust.

To learn more about claiming on behalf of a loved one, call 0800 032 3660 today to speak to a personal injury solicitor. They will answer all your questions and guide you through every stage of the claims process.

Fatal car accident claims

Unfortunately, some road accidents can be fatal for drivers and car passengers. If a loved one died whilst travelling as a passenger, you could be eligible to claim. Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, anyone classed as a dependent could be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one, including:

  • Spouses and civil partners
  • Someone living with them for at least two years as a spouse or civil partner
  • Children and other descendants
  • Parents and other ascendants
  • Siblings, aunts and uncles

If you decide to make a fatal accident claim, this could cover:

  • The lost income expected from your loved one, including bonuses, pensions, healthcare benefits and other sources of earnings;
  • The loss of services they provided, such as household chores, childcare and property maintenance;
  • Funeral expenses like the headstone, wreaths and the cost of a memorial;
  • The financial losses incurred by your loved one between the date of the accident and the date of death, such as lost wages and costs of care;
  • A bereavement award of £15,120 is also awarded to a limited number of dependants as recognition of their grief and suffering.

Time limits to claim passenger injury compensation

Generally, you have three years to make a personal injury claim as a passenger, starting from the accident date. This time limit is determined by the Limitation Act 1980, and your case will become statute-barred unless you begin the claims process within this timeframe. There are a few exceptions to the claim limitation date:

  • You could make a passenger whiplash claim within three years of the date of knowledge of your injury.
  • A parent or legal guardian can start a claim on behalf of their child at any time before their 18th birthday. Afterwards, they will have another three years to start a claim themselves.
  • If the claimant is an adult who lacks their mental capacity, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any time. The time limit is suspended if the injured person suffers a severe brain injury or has a condition like autism or Alzheimer’s.
  • You have three years to start a car passenger accident claim if you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence.
  • If you had an accident abroad, the time limit may differ between countries and could be shorter than three years.

If you were involved in an accident and want to make a personal injury claim, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible. That will ensure you remember essential details about the incident and will help your solicitor talk to witnesses and gather the best evidence to secure compensation.

How much compensation can I claim as a passenger?

The amount of compensation you could be able to claim will depend on your particular circumstances and the severity of your injuries. The more severe your case is and the more significant the impact of the accident on your life and ability to perform daily tasks, the greater the compensation amount will be.

Injury lawyers offer clients a free initial consultation. That enables them to understand the particulars of your case and answer any questions you may have. Once a solicitor has assessed your circumstances, they will provide you with an estimate of the likely award amount you will receive based on their experience and knowledge. That will allow you to understand the possible outcome and manage your expectations throughout your case.

Every car passenger accident claim will cover two types of losses:

General damages are awarded for the physical injury and how it has affected your life and could include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Loss of consortium and companionship
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of amenities and enjoyment of life

Special damages cover all the financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses you incurred due to being involved in a car accident, which may include:

  • Loss of earnings due to taking time off work to recover
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Travel expenses for medical appointments
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to support a disability
  • Costs of care and assistance with daily living
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Private medical care

You can refer to our online compensation calculator to see how much you could receive for general damages based on the type and severity of your injuries.

Do personal injury solicitors offer No Win No Fee?

Many people who suffer an injury travelling as a passenger are reluctant to take legal action. They worry about litigation costs and losing money if their case is unsuccessful. To give everyone a chance to seek compensation for the damages they suffered due to someone else’s negligence, the solicitors we partner with work on a no win no fee* basis.

The conditional fee agreement between you and your solicitor states that:

  • You do not have to pay them anything upfront
  • They receive a success fee of up to 25% of your compensation award if your case is successful
  • If they lose your claim, you do not have to pay them a single penny

Besides the conditional fee agreement between you and your solicitor, you will also be covered against financial risks by the After the Event (ATE) insurance included in your arrangement. The ATE will pay all your legal costs and disbursements if you lose, such as:

  • The defendant’s costs and expenses
  • Police and medical reports
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Barrister fees if the case goes to court
  • Expert witness fees

With no win on fee, you only pay the ATE premium and the success fee if you win the case. If you lose, you will not have to pay anyone a single penny.

To start a passenger accident claim on a no win no fee basis, call 0800 032 3660 or enter your details into our online claim form to speak to a legal adviser.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.