Road Traffic Accidents

(Cars, Buses, Motorbikes, Cyclists, Pedestrians)

Following a car accident, one or more parties may wish to make a claim for compensation for the injuries they have suffered.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not, or only partially, your fault you are legally entitled to make a claim for compensation. The most common injury claim is for whiplash type injuries to the neck and back but unfortunately accidents result in all kinds of injury including broken bones and fractures, brain damage, facial scarring and psychological trauma.

A claim must be made within three years of the date of accident except in the case of children where a claim can be brought by the child in their own right upon reaching their 18th birthday, provided the claim is brought within 3 years of their 18th birthday. If the child is under 18 years of age at the date of accident, a parent / guardian may bring a claim on their behalf and upon successful conclusion, any award of compensation must be approved by the Court and paid into a Court Fund. Any award of compensation together with accrued interest will be paid out by the Court to the child on reaching their 18th birthday.

Making a claim

Negligence is a term used frequently in accident claims. To prove negligence, you need to show the other driver was responsible for the accident. Contributory negligence is commonly pleaded as a defence. Examples include failing to wear a seat belt or helmet. If you were not wearing a seat belt or a helmet and, for example, you suffered significant head or facial injuries that may have been prevented had you been wearing a seat belt or helmet, then even though the accident was not your fault, the overall value of your claim will be reduced to reflect the element of contributory negligence on your part.

The first step in making a claim for compensation is for your insurance company to decide who is at fault. You can only make a claim if the accident was not your fault. If you are found liable you will have to pay for the cost of repairing your own vehicle and any other expenses while your insurance company should cover the cost of the other party’s damages. Evidence will be key.

It is important to keep any photographs that were taken at the scene of the accident. It is also important to keep photographs of your injuries together with a record / diary of events following your accident, details of medical appointments, expenses incurred, etc.

The claim is usually made against the other party’s insurance company, however, if the accident was caused by the poor state of the road, it may be possible to claim against the local Highway Authority.

The Motor Insurers Bureau covers claims made in the event of an unidentified driver, such as a hit and run accident, or an uninsured driver.

Drivers and Passengers

The government has now changed the way in which whiplash injury claims are dealt with for drivers and passengers.

If you have been involved in a non – fault road traffic accident as a driver or a passenger on or after the 31st May 2021 your claim will be subject to the new Whiplash Reforms if you have suffered whiplash injuries to your neck and back together with minor psychological trauma such as travel anxiety and the value of your injury claim is likely to be worth less than £5,000.00, rising to a total of £10,000.00 for all losses related to your accident ie loss of earnings, damage to your vehicle, medical / treatment expenses, etc.

The government has set up a new service for claimants known as the Official Injury Claims service, a free and independent service with the benefit of an online portal which will guide you through the process of making a claim, securing a medical report and awarding you compensation for your injuries.

If you believe you may be eligible for compensation having considered the above criteria we would recommend you visit the new Official Claims Portal at as solicitors are no longer able to recover legal fees from the losing party for representing drivers and passengers who have suffered what is now considered by the government as minor injuries under the new reforms.

Motorcyclists, Cyclists, Pedestrians and Children

It’s important to note that not all accident claims are subject to the new rules.

The new rules only apply to drivers and passengers over the age of 18, involved in an accident on or after the 31 May 2021 who have suffered minor injuries worth less than £5,000.00

If you are under the age of 18 years or were injured as a pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist, then your claim will not be subject to the new rules and your solicitor can represent you and recover your legal costs from the losing party upon successful conclusion of your claim.


Drivers and Passengers

Passengers, as well as drivers, can make a claim for compensation if they have been involved in a vehicle accident through no fault of their own. This includes being a passenger on public transport or being a passenger in a vehicle whose driver was at fault.

If you were involved in an accident on or after the 31st May 2021, and suffered whiplash injuries the value of your injury claim will fall to be considered under the new Personal Injury Tariff where the government have set down a fixed tariff of compensation for whiplash injuries

Motorcyclists, Cyclists, Pedestrians and Children

Compensation awarded to motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and children is not subject to the new fixed tariff of compensation for whiplash injuries.

Accident Compensation is split into two parts:

(a) General Damages – compensation awarded for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity. Loss of amenity means the inability to complete activities following an accident.

(b) Special Damages – compensation awarded to cover the financial losses and expenses incurred as a result of an accident. The aim is to put you back in the financial position you would have been in before your accident. Special Damages can include a claim for past and future loss of earnings, medical / treatment expenses, travel expenses, broken and / or damaged personal belongings, etc

A solicitor will be able to advise and help you claim the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries and losses.

The Judicial College issues “Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases” for solicitors and the Court to assist in the assessment of General Damages, which is used to determine the value of a personal injury claim.

A solicitor and the Court will also consider the level of past awards for similar injuries in determining how much compensation you should receive for your injuries and financial losses.

To summarise

If you have been injured in road traffic accident either as a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian in the last 3 years, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.

We specialise in personal injury law, enabling us to offer a high level of service and expertise to our clients as we handle each case individually and with care. If you need assistance contact us at [email protected] or call 0330 – 332 – 4844 for a no-obligation discussion and expert legal advice.