Compensation after a Car Accident

Road traffic accidents happen every hour of the day, across the year and can range from the minor to the life-changing. Most accidents are caused by error on part of a driver, whether that’s because they have been driving too quickly, got distracted, lost control of their car, or got behind the wheel when over the limit for alcohol and drugs. The other main cause of road accidents is the conditions at the time, including bad weather like ice or fog, or damage to the road surface.

Many accidents only involve one vehicle, and happen when the driver collides with a fixed object such as a gate, barrier, railing or even a pothole which has not been repaired quickly enough. Collisions with wild animals or livestock – more common on quiet, rural roads – also fall into this category.

Serious injuries on Britain’s roads have been declining since their peak in the 1960s, but it’s still shocking to realise that every single day, around 69 people are seriously hurt in road accidents somewhere in the UK.

People who have been hurt in a serious accident caused by someone else might be able to claim compensation for their injuries, and we can help you navigate the claims process. Personal accident compensation is about returning to you to the financial position where you would have been without the accident, and could cover costs of lost earnings, medical care, or pay to adapt your home if required.

If you think you might be eligible to claim for a car accident in the last three years which was not your fault, give us a call and our experts will be able to talk you through your options.

What is the Process for Making an Accident Injury Claim?

The first thing anyone needs to do is pick up the phone and talk to us, to discuss the circumstances of the accident and help us work out whether you have grounds to claim compensation. Usually, we can give you an answer one way or the other in one phone call.

If we think you have got grounds to make a claim, you then have the choice of whether to go ahead and make that claim, or not. If you decide that you would like to make a claim, then we’ll match you up with a solicitor who can help you take things on to the next stage.

Once matched, the solicitor will set up a free initial consultation to get more details about both the accident and the consequences you suffered. The solicitor can then talk you through the no win, no fee agreement which is used to fund the legal action, and get your agreement to go ahead with the case.

The next step is for your lawyer to get in touch with the insurer or legal team representing the other driver who caused the accident or your injury. At this stage, it’s just an initial approach, setting out your case and letting them know that you intend to make a formal claim for the losses and injuries which you suffered.

From here on, the solicitor will be the person who manages the process, and acts as a point of contact for both you, and the solicitors representing the other party. They should keep you posted with developments in the case, and should also be there to answer any questions you have.

No Win, No Fee – What Does it Mean?

No win, no fee is the most common way of paying the legal costs associated with making a claim for personal injury compensation. Most cases can be funded in this way, and in the unusual event that your claim doesn’t qualify, our team will be able to talk you through other options you have for meeting the costs. A no win no fee arrangement is a contract between you and the solicitor who is handling your claim. The main aspects of a no win no fee agreement are:

  • No upfront costs to pay to get the case underway
  • No hidden charges along the way
  • If your claim is unsuccessful, you do not have to pay any money to any party concerned.
  • Additional insurance might be advised to cover some of the costs if you do win your case.
  • No win no fee guarantees you will never be out of pocket.
Serious Accident Injuries – What Can I Claim For?

People who have been involved in a serious car accident may not have substantial loss of earnings if they have to spend prolonged periods in hospital, or signed off sick recuperating at home. They may also need rehabilitation treatment, or to have adaptations made to their home to allow them to live independently.

Our team are there to support people who have been involved in a car crash through the difficult times, and get them the compensation which they are entitled to. The specialist team can take the stress out of your hands and deal with the claims process for you.

Compensation for serious accidents is often not just about the immediate loss of money in the aftermath of an accident, but about the long-term changed which it might cause too. Compensation can be used to meet the ongoing costs of loss of earnings, treatment or travel to specialists or hospital.

Who can Make a Claim for Road Accident Compensation?

It’s a common myth that only people who were driving a vehicle or were a passenger in a vehicle are able to claim for compensation after a road accident. That is in fact not the case, and personal accident compensation claims can be brought by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists too. Claims can also be brought by people who were a passenger in a car, or who were in a bus or taxi.

Children under the age of 18 cannot bring their own claim for compensation, but adults can bring a case on their behalf. The process for doing this is slightly different, but our expert team can guide you through. If you’re not sure whether what happened to you falls into the criteria needed for a claim, give us a call and we can talk you through the basics.

Why Should I Trust You With My Accident Claim?

We have 25 years of experience in helping people just like you get the money which they are entitled to after a serious accident. We can offer both a friendly listening ear, and expert legal advice to guide you through the entire process, without adding stress to an already difficult situation.

Over the years, we have built a large network of specialist lawyers across the UK who can help with personal injury claims. So wherever you are located in the country, we will probably have someone close to you who can help. And of course our no win no fee agreement means you will not be paying any up-front charges, and won’t be out of pocket if your claim is not successful.

Experience in Personal Injury Compensation Claims

We have extensive experience in helping people involved in all sorts of accidents, and we are more than likely to be able to help you if you have been caught up in an accident which was not your fault. Our solicitor team are here to talk through the range of options open to you, and help you work out whether your accident and injuries might entitle you to claim compensation. Every case is different, so give us a call for a no-obligation chat through your options.

We should be able to help if you’ve been involved in some sort of car accident which wasn’t your fault. This applies whether your accident whether you were the driver, a passenger, or even another road user such as a cyclist, biker or even a pedestrian.

What Level of Compensation Might I Be Entitled To?

Under UK law, there are two main classes of compensation – or damages – which you might be entitled to if you are involved in an accident which was not your fault.

The first – general damages – compensated you for pain and suffering. It also takes into account loss of amenity, which looks at the impact the injuries have had on your everyday activity, and how your ability to do all the things you did previously has changed.

Special damages is awarded as compensation for any direct expenses you have incurred as a result of your accident or injury.

The amount awarded in compensation varies as every case and situation is different. The award takes into account the injuries you have suffered, how severe the injuries are, and what impact the injuries are having on your ongoing life. We will look at your situation and match you with a solicitor who has a good track-record of managing claims just like yours to make sure they can build you a strong case, and get full compensation for you.

Your solicitor should be able to talk you through how damages work, and what you may or may not be able to claim for. In most cases, claims are for things such as:

  • Having to take time off work to recover, and any loss of earnings as a consequence
  • Any future loss of earnings, should you be unable to return to your previous position
  • Ongoing psychological impact of the accident
  • Costs of personal help and care, even if this is being supplied by family and friends
  • Adaptations which you have had to make to your home or car
  • Costs of getting to and from hospital for treatment, including accommodation expenses.
  • Costs of private rehabilitation or treatment recommended by a medical professional
  • Any other expenses which you have as a result of your accident.

Compensation ranges are set by the government through the Ministry of Justice and are on a sliding scale for severe injury to minor injury. Your solicitor will be able to look at how you have been impacted by the accident to help you work out where you are placed on the scale, and what level of compensation you might expect.

For example, the compensation for whiplash, one of the most common after-effects of a car accident, can range from £240 to £4,345 in cases which are expected to be cured after 1 to 2 years. At the other end of the scale, injury to a wrist or ankle which stops you doing many of the things you did before your accident could result in a claim from £3,310 to £44,690 for a wrist injury, and £12,900 to £46,980 for an ankle injury.

Scale for Classifying Car Accident Injuries

Experts in the UK generally agree that injuries sustained in a road traffic accident can be grouped into five main categories. The first category is for fatalities. The other four levels are defined in the following way.

  • Slight – this includes things like whiplash to the neck, bruising, sprains to soft tissue, shock, minor cuts and grazes. As of May 2021, these are treated as small claims by the legal system.
  • Less Serious – this class includes more severe injuries which probably need medical attention, such as fractures to bones in the arms or legs, deep cuts, head injuries.
  • Moderately Serious – these are injuries which will probably see you spending some time in hospital and include fractures in your thigh or pelvis, very deep wounds, or injuries in the chest area.
  • Very Serious – more severe again, the top category covers injuries such as a broken neck or spinal damage, serious head injuries, crushing injuries, internal injuries and other injuries which result in loss of consciousness.
How Is A Compensation Claim Processed?

The compensation process doesn’t have to be a mystery. Here’s how the process works.

Claims from £5k to £25k

These are known as fast track, or single track claims. Any claims under the level of £5000 are known as small claims. People who have been involved in an accident are still able to use no win no fee agreements for a small claim. Smaller claims are filed online, through a Ministry of Justice system called the Claims Portal. This system was established to make the process for minor claims more streamlined and efficient. The process is as follows:

  • If the other party in the claim admits that they are at fault, then the claim is managed simply and quickly through the online portal.
  • Your solicitor’s job is to negotiate with the solicitor or insurance company representing the other side to reach an agreed level of compensation.
  • Once agreed, your compensation is paid to you.
  • Your solicitor will then receive an agreed percentage of your compensation under their no win, no fee agreement. We guarantee that this will never be more than 35% of your total award – irrespective of how complex your claim may be.

If the other party refuses to accept that they were responsible, or if an agreement about the amount of compensation can’t be reached, then the case drops from the portal and proceeds along the following path instead:

  • The solicitor acting for your will start proceedings in court against the other party.
  • The court has a fixed procedure, which lays out timings and deadlines by which the other side have to respond.
  • Negotiations will continue between the two legal times as the court date approaches. The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims after a car accident are settled out of court.
  • If the case does end up in court, the proceedings usually are over and done with in a single day, with a judge making the final decision.
  • You might be asked to attend court, but it is the job of the solicitor to advise you and manage the process.
Car Accident Claims Valued at £25k or More

If your solicitor is claiming for compensation of £25,000 or more, then this places your case into the multi-track bracket, where it is classed as a complex claim. By their very nature, complex claims involve serious injuries, which are often life-changing. Someone claiming compensation at this level has a complicated case which requires to be investigated thoroughly.

Complex cases cannot be managed through the fast-trac portal, but your solicitor will still be involved in negotiating with the other side’s legal team. The more complex the case, the longer it will take to resolve, in general.

Will I Have To Give Evidence in Court?

It’s possible, but highly unlikely. Only around 5% of personal accident claims end up in court being heard by a judge. Many are settled by agreement quickly. Even if your solicitor starts legal proceedings against the other side, or if there is disagreement over who was responsible, the legal teams usually manage to reach an agreement before the court date arrives.

Even if your case does end up being heard in front of a judge in court, you still may not be required to attend, it will all depend on the circumstances of the accident and the specifics of your case. Your solicitor will keep you updated with progress in negotiations, and what to expect at each stage of the process.

Will I Need Lots of Medical Tests?

One of the most important pieces of evidence in any personal injury claim is a report from an independent medical expert about your injuries. Your solicitor will set up an appointment with an accredited, government-approved medical professional who can carry out the assessment. Usually the examination will take around an hour, but this can vary according to the injuries you have suffered. The medical professional might ask you to move in certain ways so they can assess how the accident has affected you, and will want to review notes from your GP, hospital, or other professionals who have treated you.

If I Was the Person Who Caused the Accident Can I Claim?

In most cases, if you were at fault then you can’t claim for injuries sustained in an accident which you caused.

There are exceptions to this though, and if a large factor in the accident was something like the poor condition of the road, you might still be able to make a claim.

If you were partly to blame for the accident, then you might still be able to claim. This is known as split-liability. If split liability is agreed, this means that you share any compensation award with the other side. Your solicitor will be able to talk you through the system and split of compensation should this be appropriate in your case.

Should I Accept an Early Offer from the Other Side’s Insurance Company?

We’d always advise you to seek independent legal advice before accepting any offer from an insurer. Insurance companies often want to settle quickly and get the case out of the way without spending time and money on it. Sometimes, they may be offering under the real value, in the hope you’ll accept anyway. Speak to one of our expert advisors if you are in this position and unsure about what to do for the best.

How Long Does It Take to Settle a Claim?

This is a “how long is a piece of string” question, as no two claims are the same. The length of time it will take to settle a case will depend on how serious your injuries were, and how complex the case is. If the other side accepts that their client caused the crash, this usually reduces the time taken to settle. If the other side refuses to accept liability, or disputes that they were even involved at all, this can prolong a case. If negotiations break down and your solicitor has no option but to take legal action, this can also extend the time it takes to get things concluded.

If the claim is relatively straightforward and the other side admits that they were at fault, then you could expect to receive a settlement in around 3 months. This is relatively unusual though. If your solicitor has to go down the court route, then you can expect the case to take at least 9 months to resolve. Your solicitor should be able to keep you up to date with expected timelines as your case progresses through the system.

What Happens if My Injuries Were Caused by Another Driver?

If another motorist has caused the accident in which you were injured, then you can probably qualify for a personal injury claim. In simple terms, someone else must be at fault. The other motorist doesn’t pay any compensation due to you out of their own pocket; it’s covered by their insurance company.

If you can’t trace the driver who caused the accident, were involved in a “hit and run”, or injured by a driver who didn’t have insurance, then you might still be able to make a claim. Compensation in cases of this nature is paid by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB)

What if Poor Road Conditions Caused My Accident and Injuries?

Sometimes car accidents are caused because of poor road conditions and other factors rather than by another driver.

There will be someone who owns and is responsible for looking after every inch of road across the UK. If your accident was caused by cracks in the road or a pothole, then it might be possible to bring a case against Highways England, or the local council. These organisations should be keeping the roads and pavements in good order and if they are not safe to use, then you might have grounds to claim.

Can I Claim for an Accident Caused by an Animal?

It’s never nice to be involved in an accident involving someone’s pet or farm animal, but if it can be proved that the owner or farmer was negligent, then you might be able to make a claim. If you hit a wild animal such as a deer or fox, or even if you try to avoid one and have an accident as a consequence, there is no responsible owner and therefore you can’t make a claim.

As a driver, the law says that if you hit a dog, donkey/mule, horse, goat, pig, sheep or cow then you have to report the incident to the police right away.