Car accident compensation claim

Car Accident Compensation Claims

You may be able to make a car accident compensation claim if you have sustained injuries in a road traffic collision that wasn’t your fault. The amount of compensation awarded varies depending on the injury and the severity and any additional care that you might need in the future. Compensation is also awarded to cover expenses that have left you out of pocket since the car accident happened.

How do you claim car accident compensation?

You might be able to claim compensation when a car accident wasn’t your fault and if the injuries were the fault of another motorist, a pedestrian, or because of road conditions, among others. You don’t have to be the driver to put in a car accident claim. You are able to claim as a passenger too and even perhaps as a pedestrian.

What information is needed to submit a car accident compensation claim?

Your car accident claim can be assessed much more quickly and accurately if you can provide as much information to your car accident solicitor as possible. You should provide the circumstances and details of the car accident along with the insurance details and registration number of other vehicles involved and driver details, a police reference number if there is one, photographs or video footage (from a dashcam, for example, if there is any).

Don’t worry if all of that information isn’t possible but the more you have, the easier it will be to pursue a car accident compensation claim.

What’s the time limit for making a car accident claim?

Usually, you must claim compensation for a car accident within three years of the accident or three years after discovering you are injured because of the accident. There are some exceptions to the time limit, however.

  • Claiming as a child

If at the time of the car accident, you were aged under 18, you have three years after your 18th birthday to claim. It is possible for a child to claim before this age but they need a parent or guardian to act as a “litigation friend” that claims for them.

  • Claiming for someone who lacks mental capacity

There isn’t a time limit where people are unable to submit their own car accident claim because of their lack of mental capacity. If they do regain normal mental capacity, the three-year rule applies from the date they are declared to have regained mental capacity.

  • Accidents in a car abroad

This time frame might be different and it depends on where the accident happened. In some circumstances, it might even be possible to make a claim for compensation under UK laws.

How much personal injury compensation for a car accident?

It is the Judicial Board Guidelines that advise standard compensation amounts for specific injuries. Whiplash is the most common injury in car accidents. Whiplash compensation averages around £2,700 (for mild whiplash cases) but can increase substantially (for neck injuries that are severe).

Since every car accident is different, it is hard to give an accurate calculation of the possible personal injury compensation you could claim.

What is taken into account when calculating car accident compensation amounts?

The total figure of compensation in a car accident claim is worked out from combining the possible compensation amounts from Special Damages and General Damages.

General Damages

This figure is calculated in order to compensate you for injures. Essentially, General Damages cover your pain, your suffering, and the loss of amenity.

This value is calculated using the guidelines from the Judicial Board (Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases). The guidelines give outline compensation amounts for different levels of injury. The amount is based on how severe your injury is, if there are complicating factors and how long recovery is expected to be.

The amounts in the guidelines are based on an average of settlement figures that have been awarded by judges in previous trials and their purpose is to ensure that a person receives a fair settlement. It is worth noting that these figures are a guidance only and settlement amounts are always calculated on a case-by-case basis.

Special Damages

This figure is calculated to compensate you for expenses that occurred out of pocket because of your accident.

Special damages amounts will cover costs that you have already incurred because of the accident as well as foreseen costs in the future. These often include travel costs to appointments (medical appointments, rehabilitation appointments), additional childcare costs, loss of job earnings, and medical expenses like prescriptions, counselling, physiotherapy, home adjustments, and special equipment.

You might be able to claim for:

  • Vehicle damage
  • Damage to your property/possessions
  • Car insurance excess
  • Costs of prescriptions
  • Costs of medical care like physiotherapy and rehabilitation
  • Travel expenses (travelling to appointments and parking charges)
  • Loss of earnings (past and future that are directly linked to the accident and injuries)
  • Loss of job opportunities (bonuses, pensions, promotions)
  • Home adaptation costs
  • Assistance at home or care at home, if required

If you have these expenses, it is vital to document them and keep receipts.

Car accident claims FAQ’s

  • Do I need a car accident solicitor?

It’s possible that the third party insurer has already offered you personal injury compensation for the car accident. You may find however that their offer is lower when compared to your legal entitlement and what a car accident solicitor could get.

The insurance company will want to minimise the amount of compensation you receive so it is advisable to get a good personal injury solicitor on your side. Some insurance companies might also try to encourage you to settle quickly with their initial offer. While it might seem appealing to accept this offer, it is your legal right to get independent advice. In some cases, you might be able to get an interim payment from a law firm so you won’t have to be forced to accept something that goes against your best interests.

  • What’s the process of making a car accident compensation claim?

The first step of a car accident compensation claim is speaking to an experienced personal injury solicitor to find out if you have a case. A case will then be built to present to the other party. There may be medical assessments required to ensure the correct amount is received. The solicitor will then negotiate the highest settlement.

Once all of the information is sourced, the defendant will be sent a letter and will have to respond by a certain time by which point they will have to admit or deny liability for the car accident. If the other party accepts liability, it is possible to settle your claim without having to go to court.

If at any point you struggle to find details of your accident, it might be possible to submit a claim through the MIB (Motor Insurers Bureau). This organisation could pay compensation when the other driver can’t be traced or is not insured.

Your car accident claims solicitor will deal with all of the correspondence with the other party and will present the evidence to them and negotiate the compensation amount for your injuries and any other losses.

  • Will a medical be necessary?

All cases will generally need a medical examination so that the level of injury/injuries can be assessed. There will be a detailed medical report compiled. The purpose of this is to decide the basis of your compensation amount.

  • How long will it take to settle a car accident claim?

When injuries are more series, car accident claims can take a lot longer than those involving just mild whiplash, for example. It is often possible to settle a claim for mild whiplash in the space of a month or two. A severe back, neck, or head injury car accident claim might take considerably longer to settle.

Just as each car accident is different, so is the process of claiming compensation that follows. The time it takes to claim depends entirely on how complex the case is.

There are things that make claims more complicated too. For example, if you were part of a hit and run accident or another incident where the other party didn’t stop, or if you were involved in an accident by an uninsured driver. These things can make claims more complicated.

The solicitor dealing with your claim will be able to give you an idea of how long your case is likely to take before it is settled.

  • Who pays the compensation for injuries in a car accident?

In the vast majority of cases, it is the other party’s insurance company who will be obliged to pay your car accident compensation. It is vital that you speak to an independent personal injury solicitor who is not affiliated with the person’s insurance company before you accept any offer so that you can get the maximum amount of money that you are entitled to, although the choice is yours to make.

If the party was not insured or you were involved in a hit and run incident, then the compensation money will generally come from the MIB (Motor Insurance Bureau). This is an independent body that exists to compensate people who are injured in road traffic accidents that weren’t their fault and when the driver who was at fault doesn’t have insurance or is untraceable.

The Motor Insurance Bureau receives its money from insurance companies. They all pay in a sum each year for this purpose.