If a road traffic injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
A road traffic accident can have a profound affect on your life. Beyond the immediate physical pain, the unexpected trauma can leave lasting emotional scars.
If your life or the life of a loved one has been affected by a car crash or other accident on the road, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by another driver, cyclist, pedestrian or any other road user, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
In this article
With over 130,000 people injured on Britain's roads every year, you're not alone
While there have been significant advancements in road safety, the number of injuries on UK roads remains high.
The latest 2023 Department for Transport (DfT) data shows that 29,742 car drivers and other road users were seriously injured or killed, and 135,480 people suffered an injury of some severity on UK roads in 2022.
Th latest National Travel Survey (NTS) also revealed nearly 5% of adult road users had been involved in an accident in the last 3 years - 1/3 of whom suffered an injury.
Getting you back to where you were
Compensation is the legal remedy that aims, as closely as possible, to put you back in the position you were in before you were injured.
No amount of compensation can undo the physical scars or emotional trauma of a road accident. But it can pay your medical expenses, lost earnings, and other expenses, helping to alleviate financial worry during a difficult time. It can also recognise the pain, suffering, and disruption you've experienced, supporting your healing and recovery.
Am I eligible to claim compensation for a road traffic injury?
As a general rule, you can make a claim if you were injured:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
However, even if you think you were partly responsible for your road accident, you may still have a claim.
For an injured child, the three-year limitation period begins on their 18th birthday, giving them until they are 21 to start a claim.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
I don't know the identity of the other driver
Identifying who is liable for an accident is not always obvious.
If the identity of the other party is unknown (e.g. a hit-and-run accident), see:
The accident wasn't caused by another road user
You can also claim compensation in cases where the accident was not caused by another road user.
You may be able to claim car accident compensation if you were injured because the local council or transport authority failed to maintain the road condition properly. Examples include:
- A road accident caused by a pothole
- An accident caused by dangerous road conditions, like a failure to grit icy roads
- Confusing road signs or missing road signs
Whether you are an injured cyclist, motorcyclist, driver or pedestrian, if you are unsure if you are eligible to make a car accident personal injury claim, call us on 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback.
The other driver is uninsured, untraceable, or you didn't get their details
If the other driver drove off without leaving their insurance details, or perhaps having given you false details, you may still be able to claim compensation. Personal injury solicitors are experts at uncovering evidence, through eyewitness accounts, CCTV, police reports and other avenues of enquiry.
If it's confirmed that the other driver is not insured, or can't be identified, you can still make a claim through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB). The MIB is an independent body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or unidentified drivers. The MIB is funded by contributions from car insurance premiums.
A solicitor can help you make a claim through the MIB, or you can apply directly.
Can I still claim if I feel I was partly to blame?
Identifying who is legally responsible for a claimant's injuries is not always obvious.
In our 2023 Road Injury Claimant Survey, 5.24% of injured road users felt they were at least partly responsible for their accident or injuries.
The legal term for cases where an injured person was (to some extent) responsible for their injuries is 'contributory negligence'. If there is fault on both sides of a claim, it is possible to pay reduced compensation on a split liability agreement.
How much compensation can I claim for a road accident injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the severity of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will calculate the amount of compensation you will need by considering how your injury has affected your life.
Road accident injury
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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.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your road injury such as physical therapy, surgery and diagnostic imaging tests.
Average road accident general damages compensation
The following road accident payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Ankle injury||Minor||Minor injury with full recovery||Up to £12,490|
|Ankle injury||Moderate||Full recovery or with mild ongoing symptoms||£12,490 to £24,170|
|Ankle injury||Severe||Severe injury with permanent symptoms||£28,460 to £45,510|
|Ankle injury||Very severe||Severe and permanent disability||£45,510 to £63,360|
|Arm injury||Less serious||Fractured forearm||£6,010 to £17,450|
|Arm injury||Moderate||Serious injury with long-lasting effects||£17,450 to £35,610|
|Arm injury||Serious||Serious injury with permanent and substantial effects||£35,610 to £54,420|
|Arm injury||Severe||Severe with serious, permanent consequences||£87,420 to £119,030|
|Back injury||Minor||Full recovery within 3 months||Up to £2,230|
|Back injury||Moderate||Full recovery within 2 years||£2,230 to £7,170|
|Back injury||Moderate||Full or nearly full recovery within 5 years||£7,170 to £11,370|
|Back injury||Serious||Less severe disability||£25,240 to £35,250|
|Back injury||Serious||Ligament or disc damage with permanent symptoms||£11,370 to £25,240|
|Back injury||Severe||Chronic permanent symptoms||£35,250 to £63,390|
|Back injury||Severe||Serious injury with permanent symptoms||£67,420 to £80,390|
|Brain injury||Minor||Minimal injury with full or near-complete recovery||£2,010 to £11,610|
|Brain injury||Less severe||Good recovery with a return to work and normal social life||£13,930 to £39,150|
|Brain injury||Moderate||Resulting in a lower degree of dependence||£39,150 to £199,150|
|Brain injury||Serious||Resulting in serious disability and substantial dependence on others||£199,150 to £256,370|
|Brain injury||Severe||Very severe with the need for full-time nursing care||£256,370 to £367,260|
|Chest injury||Minor||Fractured ribs or muscle injury to the rib cage and chest||Up to £3,590|
|Chest injury||Moderate||Some permanent tissue damage but no significant long-term lung problem||£11,450 to £16,330|
|Chest injury||Serious||Damage to the chest and lungs causing some continuing disability||£28,460 to £49,850|
|Chronic pain||Moderate||Moderate pain disorder||£19,150 to £34,990|
|Chronic pain||Moderate||Moderate Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)||£25,480 to £47,730|
|Chronic pain||Serious||Serious, persisting pain disorder||£38,300 to £57,260|
|Chronic pain||Severe||Severe Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)||£47,730 to £76,370|
|Facial injuries||Moderate||Multiple fractures of facial bones||£13,550 to £21,770|
|Facial injuries||Serious||Le Fort fractures of frontal facial bones||£21,650 to £33,400|
|Facial scars||Minor||£3,590 to £12,490|
|Facial scars||Moderate||£8,280 to £27,350|
|Facial scars||Severe||£16,330 to £88,480|
|Foot injury||Minor||Common foot injury with full recovery||Up to £12,490|
|Foot injury||Moderate||Metatarsal fracture with permanent symptoms||£12,490 to £22,720|
|Foot injury||Serious||Serious, permanent injury||£22,720 to £35,640|
|Hand injury||Serious||Serious hand injury||£13,140 to £26,360|
|Hand injury||Very Serious||Very serious hand injuries||£13,140 to £26,360|
|Hand injury||Moderate||Moderate hand injury||£5,200 to £12,070|
|Neck injury||Minor||Full recovery within 3 months||Up to £220|
|Neck injury||Minor||Full recovery within 1 year||£220 to £1,200|
|Neck injury||Moderate||Full recovery within 2 years||£1,200 to £3,830|
|Neck injury||Serious||Fractures or dislocations or severe soft tissue damage||£41,350 to £50,900|
|Shoulder injury||Moderate||Fracture of clavicle||£7,170 to £11,610|
|Shoulder injury||Serious||Dislocation||£11,610 to £17,450|
|Shoulder injury||Severe||Brachial plexus damage||£17,450 to £43,660|
|Whiplash||Minor||Full recovery within 3 months||Up to £220|
|Whiplash||Moderate||Full recovery within 1 year||£220 to £1,200|
|Whiplash||Serious||Full recovery within 2 years||£1,200 to £3,830|
|Wrist injury||Minor||Wrist fracture recovering within one year||£3,210 to £4,310|
|Wrist injury||Moderate||Taking around two years to heal completely||Up to £9,620|
|Wrist injury||Serious||Causing permanent pain and stiffness||£11,450 to £22,270|
Mental health support after a road collision
Road accidents can be shocking, traumatic events, often leaving a psychological impact alongside physical injuries.
According to our 2023 Road Injury Claimant Survey, 32.47% of injured road users suffered a psychological injury, 78.53% of these alongside a physical injury.
Injuries as a driver or passenger often result in amaxophobia (fear of driving or being a passenger), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
You can claim compensation for recognised psychological harm that arises from a road accident, including PTSD. Your solicitor will help ensure you can access help and mental health support that may not be available on the NHS in your area.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
Claiming road accident compensation with a solicitor
You can make a no win, no fee road traffic accident claim with the guidance of a personal injury solicitor. Your solicitor will build a case and negotiate for the best possible compensation settlement, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
Solicitors can also help 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 often beyond what's available on the NHS.
What is the road injury claim process?
Once you have chosen a personal injury solicitor to help you with your claim, your solicitor will:
- Agree on the terms under which the solicitor will represent you
- Draw up a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) (no win, no fee)
- Gather information and evidence about your accident
- Arrange a medical assessment
- Review the medical report outlining your injuries
- Decide whether your claim should follow the Small-Claims Track, the Fast-Track or Multi-Track protocol.
- Submit the claim notification in accordance with the relevant protocol
- Send you a form to list any costs and losses you have incurred
- Negotiate the best possible compensation settlement
What if liability is accepted?
With Fast-Track Claims, if the defendant or their insurer accepts liability, your claim will continue in the Claims Portal according to a tight deadline protocol set by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). If required, your solicitor will try to get the insurance company to agree to fund treatment to aid your recovery.
The total claim value (general damages + special damages) is calculated. Your solicitor will use this total as the basis for the settlement negotiation.
Once a settlement figure is agreed upon, the insurance company has two weeks to pay your compensation.
Multi-track claims do not follow the same rigid timeframe. A settlement will either be agreed upon in a negotiation or a case could proceed to court.
For small-claims track claims, see the low-value claims section below.
What if liability is denied?
If liability is denied on a fast-track claim, the claim ‘falls out of the portal’. This means that further investigation will need to be carried out by your solicitor.
Further correspondence will occur between your solicitor and the insurance company.
If the defendant continues to deny liability, your solicitor may advise filing a claim with the court. Only a very small percentage of claims reach this stage. Of those claims that do, most will still settle before going anywhere near a courtroom. The insurance company may just be testing your commitment and liability can be admitted right up to the day of the court hearing.
As with fast-track claims, multi-track claims may also progress t court if liability is not agreed upon.
For small-claims track claims, see the low-value claims section below.
How long does a road traffic injury claim take to process?
The time needed to secure compensation for a road traffic accident can vary considerably.
If the defendant accepts liability, your injury claim could be settled in a few weeks. If liability is contested, a claim can take substantially longer.
Normally a road injury claim takes 4 to 9 months.
Will my road traffic accident claim go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of road traffic accident claims are settled by law firms and insurers before going to 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.
My accident involved a company car
Claiming compensation for a company car accident is usually a straightforward process.
When you make a personal injury compensation claim following a company car accident, your solicitor will seek compensation from the negligent driver's insurance company.
If you were driving a company car when the accident occurred, you should also report the incident to your employer.
If you were hit by another driver who was driving a company car, you may wish to report the incident to their employer. Ideally, you should let your solicitor handle any communication regarding the accident.
It doesn't matter whether the defendant owns car or whether it belongs to a company, the claims process is the same. You will not usually need to deal with your employer's car insurance company, however, as your employer is likely to deal with the claim.
I want to 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 car accident compensation claim.
My car wasn't damaged
Yes. Injuries such as lower back pain and whiplash can easily be sustained in a low-speed collision where there is no obvious vehicle damage. It is even possible to sustain injuries where there is no collision at all, e.g. when a driver is forced to brake suddenly.
For example, a negligent driver's conduct may cause another road user to perform an emergency stop. A collision may be avoided, but the abrupt braking could well cause a whiplash injury, particularly if your vehicle was travelling at speed.
I wasn't wearing a seatbelt
Yes. It is usually possible to make No Win, No Fee car accident claims even in cases where the driver or passenger was not wearing a seat belt.
However, it would likely be assumed that you contributed to the seriousness of your injuries. This is known as 'contributory negligence'. Your compensation award will be reduced (often by around 25%). This is to reflect the amount of compensation you would have got, if you had worn a seat belt and, therefore, received less serious injuries.
My motor insurer wants me to claim through them
Some insurance companies have tried to deter genuine road traffic accident claimants from claiming the full car accident compensation payouts to which they are entitled. Insurance companies do not want you to make a claim and will try to minimise the compensation paid out if you do claim.
If you have already been contacted by an insurance company offering to deal directly with your car accident injury claim, remember that most insurance companies are responsible to their shareholders, not to you as the injured person.
Instructing an expert road accident solicitor gives you the peace of mind that you have an independent specialist on your side.
A solicitor has a duty of care to you, their client, and will seek to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for the harm that has been done.
If you pursue your claim through a solicitor you have the added reassurance of being represented by a professional regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
I had no motor insurance
Maybe. As a car passenger, you can make a claim without car insurance. This is because, in most cases, car accident claim payouts are paid by the negligent car driver's insurance company, not your own insurer.
If you are a driver involved in an accident that was not your fault and you do not have insurance, the situation is more complicated. Driving without valid insurance is an offence. Whether you can still make a claim will depend on the facts of the case.
I had a crash with a foreign-registered vehicle
If you were injured in a car crash with a vehicle registered in another country, you may still be able to make a road accident claim.
You can submit a claim under the Motor Insurers Bureau’s (MIB) Green Card scheme. This scheme enables you to claim compensation from the MIB directly, or from the UK agent of a foreign insurance company.
I'm worried a claim will affect my motor insurance premium
If you have had an accident, even if you were not to blame, you will be obliged to report it to your insurer. Your insurer will take the accident into account when you renew your premium.
If the accident was not your fault it may still affect your premium, albeit to a lesser degree, as the insurer may see you as a higher risk than before.
If the injury claim includes a claim for repairs to your car, motorbike or other vehicle, it may also affect your renewal premium.
Making an insurance claim through your own insurance company is not advised. Claiming through an independent solicitor means that the claim will be made directly from the at-fault driver's insurance company. This approach is less likely to affect your premium.
I was injured in Scotland or abroad
If your road traffic accident occurred in Scotland we could still help. Our expert panel includes car accident solicitors that specialise in Scottish claims.
If you were abroad, it will usually still be possible to make a compensation claim. However, there are a number of potential complexities that your solicitor will advise you on. These include looking into your holiday and/or car insurance cover, whether the country is an EU member state, whether you were in a packaged holiday at the time etc.
The best way to find out if you will be able to make a claim is to call us on 0800 376 1001. A solicitor will let you know where you stand. There will be no obligation to start a claim with Quittance.
How we can help you with your road accident claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims.
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If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee road accident claim, we are open:
Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
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Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.