Injury Claims Involving Family or Friends
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a friends and family injury we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a friends and family injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
Making a compensation claim for injuries caused a stranger's negligence is often a straightforward decision.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a friend or family member, however, the choice may seem harder and it is recommended that you speak to a solicitor about your options.
Many injury lawyers will provide a free initial consultation and you will be under no obligation to proceed with legal action.
A solicitor will be able to reassure you that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, they will be dealing with the friend or family member's insurance company, rather than the party who caused the accident themselves.
Do I have an injury claim?
It should be possible to make an injury claim if your injury happened:
- within the last three years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an injury claim on their own behalf.
What if I can't prove who caused the null?
Your solicitor will work on your behalf to assess your null claim and gather evidence. They will identify the party responsible for your accident.
Can I make a null claim right up to the three-year limit?
Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on a null claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I claim for an existing null that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a friends and family injury claim take?
How long it can take to win compensation for a friends and family injury can vary considerably.
For instance, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a couple of months. If liability is denied, the process might take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Types of accident caused by family members
Road traffic accidents
The majority of accidents involving friends and family members are road traffic accidents.
It is common for parents or siblings to be driving a car with family members as passengers when a collision occurs.
The insurance company of the negligent driver will settle claims in favour of the other driver and their passengers. In addition, the insurers will also settle your claim, as a blameless passenger in the vehicle that caused the accident.
Injury claims involving family members are not limited to road accidents. Other accidents include slips, trips or falls on the friend or family member's property, dog bites from a family member's dog, burns, scalds and food poisoning.
Injury claims following such accidents can, in some cases, be more complex to pursue. For more information regarding your options, speak to a specialist injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Who pays my compensation?
While the claim will be brought against the friend or family member who was responsible for the accident, the compensation will usually be settled by their insurance company.
The two most common types of insurance that people carry are car insurance, which covers road traffic accidents, and home insurance which may cover accidents on the property.
Most home insurance policies, landlord policies and tenant policies include cover for injuries incurred by someone who, for example, falls as a result of a broken step in the yard.
Home insurance cover may be limited to a certain financial value. If you are worried about making a claim, it is possible to limit your claim to the amount of insurance cover so your friend or family member is not out of pocket.
Can a child make a claim?
Persons under 18 injured in an accident involving a family member are entitled to make personal injury claims.
Children must have a parent or guardian to provide instructions on the child's behalf, known as a litigation friend.
If a parent is the defendant in the case, this parent cannot act as the litigation friend. The Court would regard this a conflict of interest. The second parent, a grandparent or other family member could act as the litigation friend and the claim could proceed as normal.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee, no risk
With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make an injury claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
No win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an injury claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your null claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.