Passenger Accident Compensation Claims
Passengers in any vehicle on UK roads are entitled to make a claim for compensation if they are injured following a motor accident. By way of ensuring their protection, legislation states that it is an offence to drive a vehicle without valid motor insurance.
Passengers that suffer injuries can therefore claim against the policy of a driver at fault for an accident, meaning that they need not worry about causing any financial difficulty to whoever was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.
The injuries that can be sustained as a passenger in a vehicle can vary massively in severity, with the worst cases leading to a fatality. It is important to recognise that passengers are entitled to make a 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.
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Should I make a passenger accident claim?
Many people feel uncomfortable about making a claim for compensation following an accident as a passenger. This 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 car accident to discuss their case with a solicitor.
Drivers in the UK are legally obliged to hold valid insurance for their vehicle and 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 as well as being 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
- Ensure that passengers wear a seatbelt
- Ensuring that a booster seat is used where necessary
- Appropriately deactivating airbags as required
Passengers who are above the age of 14 are responsible for ensuring that their own seat belts are correctly used. In cases involving taxis, the driver is exempt from responsibility if the taxi has a fixed partition.
The driver of a car which is stopped by the police and has passengers under the age of 14 who are not adequately restrained can be subject to a fine of £500. Such a fine may also impact on future motor insurance costs.
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. Once a thorough medical assessment and treatment has been arranged, to make a successful claim for compensation, the following may be required:
- A thorough report of the accident including the details of the driver and their insurance company
- Contact details of any witnesses
- Copies of police statements if available
- Photographic evidence of the accident scene, damage to vehicles involved and the injuries sustained
- Copies of medical records
- Receipts and invoices for any required treatment
- Proof of loss of earning 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 level of compensation possible for your case.
Can I still claim if the driver has no insurance or the cause of an accident was the road conditions?
Motor insurance is a legal compulsory requirement for all UK drivers and it offers protection to victims following accidents. If the driver who was liable for the accident in which you were injured has no motor insurance, it is still possible to make a claim for compensation.
Through maintaining the MIB fund, all passengers are protected and able to access the compensation that they rightly deserve following an accident in which they were injured.
If your accident was caused by poor road conditions such as potholes or cracks in the road, the Highways Agency 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 in this would make the owner responsible for your suffering, and you may therefore be eligible to claim against them.
How much compensation will be paid to me?
The amount of compensation that you are awarded will depend on your particular circumstances and the severity of your injuries. The more severe your case is and the greater the impact that the accident has on your life and ability to perform daily tasks, the larger the compensation amount will be.
Injury lawyers offer clients a free initial consultation, which enables them to get an understanding of the particulars of your case and answer any questions that you may have. Once a solicitor has assessed your circumstances, they will provide you with an estimate of the likely award amount that you will receive based on their experience and knowledge. This will allow you to understand the likely outcome and manage your expectations throughout your case.