Car passenger accident compensation claims - Introduction
Newly released Government data shows that almost 80% of those killed or injured as a result of road traffic accidents in 2014 were either drivers or passengers.
The data indicates that approximately 33% of those occupants are passengers, bringing the number of car passengers sustaining injury in 2014 to over 38,000.
Unlike drivers, passengers are in almost all cases not likely to be held liable for an accident.
Regardless of whether you were travelling in a vehicle hit by a negligent driver, or a passenger in the car that caused the accident, you can usually make a claim for compensation.
Typical car passengers injuries
Quittance's panel of solicitors have represented both drivers and passengers injured in both minor and serious road accidents, and have helped individuals who have sustained:
- head injuries, including concussion
- spinal injuries
- broken bones, and
- other serious injuries
In most cases accidents are caused by a driver, either of the vehicle in which the passenger was travelling, or the driver of another car, van or HGV lorry.
There are occasions where this is not the case; where the poor condition of the road may have caused the accident or the accident was precipitated by poor street or road lighting.
In both cases, and irrespective of whether another road user or a local authority is responsible, a passenger wearing a seatbelt and riding in a safe manner is rarely considered to be even potentially partly liable for their injuries.
Who is responsible for car passenger safety?
The law states that every person over 14 years old must wear an adult seatbelt when travelling in a private car. This applies to both front and rear seats. The passenger is responsible for ensuring that the seatbelt they are wearing is properly adjusted.
For passengers under 14, it is the driver's responsibility to ensure that the child is correctly restrained, either by the use of rearward or forward facing child seats, appropriate booster seats, and by a seatbelt.
You can usually claim for injuries sustained in a road accident even if you were not wearing a seatbelt, but the Defendant may argue contributory negligence; your total compensation may be reduced as a result.
Do I have a car passenger injury claim?
If you were injured as a car passenger in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can probably help you make a compensation claim.
See our Online Claim Eligibility Calculator for a better idea of where you stand.
How can a passenger strengthen their claim?
The police should be contacted following a road accident. They will then make detailed notes of the accident, which can be used as evidence in a compensation claim if required.
In the event that the driver of a vehicle is subsequently found to be responsible for the accident, it is important for their passenger to have prepared their own account of what happened.
The passenger should obtain details of the driver of the vehicle in which he was travelling, including full details of the vehicle and insurance.
Altenatively, if the accident was caused by another vehicle, the passenger may assist their driver in gathering as much information as possible, such as:
- Obtaining the insurance details from other drivers involved
- Recording the other vehicle's details
- Noting the time and date of the accident, and the weather conditions
- Taking photographs of the scene if practicable and safe to do so
- Gathering the names and addresses of any witnesses
- Recalling and noting any circumstances leading up to the accident, such as the behaviour of other drivers
Medical treatment and records
If, after the accident, the requires medical treatment, it is important to keep a record of any appointments and expenses such as travelling to hospital, or any medication prescribed. Any special support from family of friends that is needed (such as help around the home, shopping, driving to appointments) should be recorded.
Documentary evidence of any other losses or expenses incurred as result of the injuries should be retained.
Claiming compensation as a car passenger
Complications may arise where passengers are deterred from claiming because the driver was a friend, relative or partner.
A passenger may also feel they contributed to their injuries by not wearing a seatbelt properly, or caused the accident by distracting the driver in some way.
In either case, it will usually be a driver's insurance company that pays any settlement.
Making a claim against a friend or family member's insurance may affect their premium. You will need to weigh up the need for financial support during your recovery and support to arrange and pay for physio and other treatment against this possible increase. If you have any concerns, you may wish to discuss these with a solicitor.
Making a No Win No Fee car passenger injury compensation claim
A no win no fee arrangement (more correctly known as a Conditional Fee Agreement) is put in place between a claimant and a suitably qualified lawyer.
A Conditional Fee Agreement is essentially the terms and conditions under which the solicitor is instructed by the claimant.
The agreement details what the solicitors will do as well as how he or she is remunerated if your legal case is ultimately successful.
If you choose a Quittance Personal Injury solicitor for your car passenger injury claim there are no hidden or extra costs in the terms and conditions , no up-front fees and the complete peace of mind that you will not be financially out of pocket.
Road traffic accident case study
Claimant awarded £2,350 for whiplash injuries View case study