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Car accident claims &
road traffic compensation

Car accident claims & road traffic compensation

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Claiming for a car accident

After a car accident, it can be a difficult and confusing time.

Being involved in a car accident is a jarring and disorienting experience; as a minimum can cause disruption to your day-to-day plans as you are forced to arrange car repairs, alternative transport and reorganise your work and personal life around after the accident has occurred. When the collision wasn’t your fault, this can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. In more severe circumstances however, the consequences of being involved in a road traffic accident can be life altering.

In 2015 a road accident report showed that there were 1,616 fatalities and 20,038 severe casualties due to road traffic accidents; making them the leading cause of death in young people in the UK. Accounting for over 25% of deaths of those between 15 and 19 years of age each year.

Driving continues to be a necessary risk for most people, as we consider our cars to be essential to part our lives and daily routine.  Unfortunately, with more people than ever joining UK roads, our safety is increasingly in the hands of other motorists and with over 20,000 severe road traffic casualties in the UK, the risk remains very real.

Pursuing a car crash claim can be a confusing and difficult process, especially following a bad car crash, which is why, with over 30 years' experience in personal injury law, we understand that after being involved in a road accident, the first thing you think about is your health and wellbeing.

Recovering from car crash injuries that were not your fault can be costly due to unplanned travel expenses, loss of earnings due to an injury or increased medical expenses. We can ease the burden of negotiating your car accident injury claim to ensure you receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled to.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

Frequently asked questions

What should I do after a car accident?

A car crash can be a shocking and disorienting event, no matter how small the crash may have been and it can be hard to know what to do after a car accident. It is important to try to remain calm in the aftermath of an accident and try to take down as many details as possible. In a serious collision, the outcome is dictated by the first responders and emergency services. In a minor collision though, it’s important to know what to do in order to retain control of the situation.

Firstly, you must stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in the UK is an offence and carries a penalty. As a priority, ensure that both you and anyone else involved is not hurt and if they are, call the emergency services. Do not move anyone who may be seriously injured. Try to keep anyone involved warm, as they may have gone into shock.

If the damage to the car is minor, it is still important for you to take notes, and photograph evidence in the immediate aftermath as you cannot be sure what the full extent of the damage is when you drive away afterwards.

Try to avoid saying sorry or taking the blame for what happened, until you have the full facts of the situation. It is natural to want to apologise, particularly if you feel you were at fault, but it is best to wait until you are sure. 

Finally, seek medical attention, even if you have no obvious injuries, as whiplash can take several days to appear.

If you are in a minor collision, don't assume that you can just leave the scene if your vehicle is drivable; ensure you swap details with the other party, or parties. If damage is caused or injury sustained by anyone and you do not stop and swap details, then you must report the accident within 24 hours at a local police station and to your insurer. If you find out you were hit by an uninsured driver, you'll need to report the accident to the police as well.

Why should I claim compensation for a car accident?

The other driver’s insurance will cover the damage to your car and likely offer you a settlement for any injuries sustained, however insurers are unlikely to offer you a fair sum in the first instance. We seek fair redress on your behalf to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.

Even for minor collisions, you may lose earnings from days off work, or where you have to take annual leave to deal with the repair of your car, which could force you to make alternative travel arrangements and incur additional costs.

How much compensation can I claim for a car accident injury?

It depends entirely on the body part injured, the severity of the injury and the circumstances of the accident. We can give estimates based on previous claims but each case is based on your individual circumstances. The easiest way for us to give you a road accident claims estimate is to speak to you directly. Your claim will be estimated based on the nuances of your case and an experienced advisor can give you the best idea of how much you could claim.

Who can make a car accident compensation claim?

If you were involved in a collision and it wasn’t your fault, you should be able to make a claim for car accident compensation. This includes passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.  As long as the accident happened within the past 3 years and you have documentation of your involvement, you can make a claim.

What to do when someone hits your car in a car park?

If your car is damaged while parked up and the damage is significant, you should report it to the police. They can then review CCTV of the area and find the culprit who damaged your car in order to make a claim against them and their insurers.  Unfortunately, claiming against your own insurance will affect your no claims bonus and car insurance premiums, so if the damage is significant, it is worth going through these channels to try to identify the person who was at fault for the damage.

You can protect yourself from liability when your car is parked outside your own home by installing home CCTV and positioning it in such a way that it would capture the licence plate of anyone who may hit your parked car. Please remember to clearly signpost any cameras you install.

What is failure to report an accident?

Not all accidents require emergency services and in these cases, you follow a simple protocol which involves giving insurance and contact details to the other party and getting those of other people. Failing to report an accident means you did not exchange details and left the scene. If damage or injury is caused in an accident, you must exchange details or you must report the accident at a local police station within 24 hours. Not doing so is an offence that can lead to points on your licence and a fine or sometimes disqualification from driving. Failure to report an accident is not the same as failing to stop after an accident which is much more serious. In all cases, it is best to be honest and cooperative with emergency services and insurers.

How long do you have to report a car accident?

You must report an accident within 24 hours to the police. Some people are often hesitant to report it to the Police and are there unsure what documents the police may ask you to produce or if it may affect their car insurance premium. You must be able to give a statement of events and give your personal details for insurance purposes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What is failure to stop at an accident?

Commonly referred to as a ‘hit and run’, failing to stop at an accident is a serious offence which could cost you your licence and in severe cases has led to a prison sentence. If you are involved in a collision, you should stop and exchange insurance details with the other party. Do not assume the blame in the event of a crash. You could fail to stop at an accident, that wasn’t your fault, and still face serious consequences due to your actions. People sometimes leave the scene of an accident through panic and fear of being blamed; however, without an investigation, sometimes liability isn’t clear cut.

What insurance details should I give in an accident?

At the scene of an accident you must give the following to anyone with ‘reasonable grounds for requiring them.’ The exchange of information usually involves your name and address and your vehicle’s registration number. If the vehicle doesn’t belong to you, you must give the name and address of the car owner.

If you don’t exchange insurance details, for whatever reason, you must still report the accident to the police and at that point can pass on your insurance details. You must also report the incident to your insurance company too.

What should I do if I am the victim of a hit and run car accident?

In 2016 it was reported that ‘hit and runs’ – where a driver causes an accident and leaves the scene illegally – had reached a three year high.

A survey by the Motor Insurers Bureau found that 45% of those they questioned claimed ignorance as a defence for their behaviour following an accident. The report also found that younger drivers, aged 16 to 34, more often left the scene of a collision because of lack of insurance, being under the influence or just as a result of panic. Older drivers (over 34) were more likely to misjudge the seriousness of the accident, and failed to stop because of this.

How do I report an uninsured driver?

Driving uninsured or driving away from the scene of a collision are both offences that carry heavy penalties. However, if you have been hit by an uninsured driver or an untraced driver, it can be difficult to know what to do next.  We would recommend that you contact your insurer as your next step and then the Police.

What is a non-fault accident?

Essentially this is when you are involved in an accident that was not your fault; your insurance provider can recover the total cost of a claim from the liable party. A ‘fault’ accident is where you have been found to be at fault and are liable to pay the damages for the incident.

If the incident is a fault accident, it will be very unlikely that you will be able to claim car crash compensation.

Can I claim for a car accident as a passenger?

Sadly, road accidents are very common and as a passenger, you can be injured as the result of a collision also. As a passenger you are able to claim compensation even if you were in the car with the ‘at fault’ driver.

Although you may worry about claiming against a friend or family member, it is actually their insurance you are claiming against should you pursue compensation. Their insurance premiums may go up as a result but they will not be liable to pay any damages directly to you.

How do I claim for whiplash?

We have separate guidance on whiplash claims that you can find here. The process of claiming is much the same as claiming for any car accident injury and begins by getting in touch with us for a free initial consultation. Whiplash is the most common injury in car accidents and sometimes, symptoms do not manifest until several days later. If in doubt, seek medical advice and call us to discuss your injury in further detail.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What is the average compensation for a car accident claim?

Average car accident compensation amounts vary, dependant on the circumstances of the accident you were involved in. For minor cases, the average compensation for a car accident is £1,170 - £4,450. For moderate cases, claims can be between £4,450 - £14,500 and in major cases, claims can be between £14,500 - £88,000. We have had cases in the past where damages upward of £1million have been awarded, so bear in mind that these figures act as a guide and compensation will always depend on the circumstances of your accident.

What about fraudulent road traffic accident claims?

We operate under stringent guidelines and are part of the Motor Accident Solicitors' Society and are Law Society accredited for personal injury.  We have a strict claims vetting process to ensure that we only take on genuine claims.

The compensation system in this country exists to protect you and help you if you have a genuine claim, so fraudulent claims shouldn’t put you off. Those that seek to take advantage of that safety net fraudulently, can be identified early so that we only put our time into sincere claims.

Can I claim if the car accident was my fault?

No. If an accident was your fault, you will not be able to pursue a claim for whiplash. In the event of a collision though, liability is not always clear. It is easy to assume fault, whilst in a state of panic and shock during the aftermath of a crash. Do not assume liability for an accident before you are in full possession of the facts and have a clear head to consider the incident. If in doubt, call one of our advisors to discuss your situation.

Can I make a car accident claim on behalf of someone else?

Most of the time a person who has suffered car crash injuries from an accident that was caused by someone else, will be the person making a car injury claim. If you have lost earnings or suffered in some way because someone else did not behave safely on the roads, then you’re entitled to seek compensation. It is possible though to make a claim on behalf of someone else who has been involved in an accident.

Sadly, there are over 1000’s of fatal car crashes and road traffic accidents a year in the UK and the families of those lost are able to seek compensation on behalf of their loved ones. It isn’t an easy process to pursue a claim whilst grieving but for some families it is necessary.

Another possible circumstance where you may make a claim after a UK car crash on someone else’s behalf is if a child is hurt in a car accident. Children are unable to fight their own cases and their parent or guardian must claim on their behalf.

Can someone claim on my car insurance without me knowing?

When you buy an insurance policy, you give your insurers permission to pay out on your behalf, so it is possible for them to progress a claim without keeping you updated on the progress of it. You are required to report any accidents to your insurer so you should be aware of any potential claims that could be made on your insurance.

How long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company?

You are required to report accidents to your insurance provider usually within 24 hours but you should check your policy to find the specific terms and conditions around this.

Can you check if a car is insured?

You can check if your car is insured by running the registration number through the Motor Insurer’s Database. This search is free and will tell you whether the car is insured, if you want to find out any other policy details, the cost is £4.