If a car passenger injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Passengers injured in car accidents have the same right to seek compensation as drivers, helping them to recover from unforeseen injuries and associated financial strains.

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a car passenger accident, 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.

You can make a road injury compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

In this article

    You are not alone

    The latest Government data available in 2023 shows that, of the UK's 89,331 road casualties injured in 2019, approximately 30% were passengers.

    Unlike drivers, passengers are almost certainly never liable for road 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 passenger injuries

    Your solicitor will have years of experience helping both drivers and passengers who have been injured in both minor and serious road accidents. We can help individuals who have suffered injuries including:

    If you decide to make a car passenger injury claim, your road accident solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

    Am I eligible for car passenger injury compensation?

    You will be able to claim compensation if you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault.

    Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.

    Is a claim still possible if I am partly liable?

    Ascertaining who is liable for an accident is not always straightforward and can often involve blame on both sides.

    In our 2023 Road Injury Claimant Survey, 5.24% of injured road users said they either were unsure of which party was responsible, or believed they were partially responsible for their injuries.

    You can often still claim compensation even if you were partly to blame, as cases with shared fault usually settle with a split-liability agreement.

    Read more:

    Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

    How long after a car passenger injury do I have to start a claim?

    In most cases, you have up to 3 years from the date of your accident or injury to start 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.

    What if the driver was uninsured or untraceable?

    If the driver responsible for the injury is either uninsured or untraceable, a claim can be pursued through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

    The MIB is an independent that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.

    Read more:

    MIB compensation claims

    If I was a passenger, who is liable for my injury?

    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 any case, and irrespective of whether another road user or a local authority is responsible, a passenger wearing a seat belt and riding in a safe manner is rarely considered to be even partly liable for their injuries.

    You can make a claim against whichever driver caused your injury, even if it was the vehicle you were riding in that caused the accident.

    Who is responsible for car passenger safety?

    The law states that every person over 14 years old must wear an adult seat belt when travelling in a private car. This applies to both front and rear seats. The passenger is responsible for ensuring that the seat belt 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 seat belt.

    What if I wasn't wearing a seat belt?

    You can usually still claim for injuries sustained in a road accident even if you were not wearing a seat belt, but the defendant may argue contributory negligence. Your total compensation may be reduced as a result.

    Read more: Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

    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 seat belt 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.

    Should I claim if a family member or friend was driving?

    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.

    Even if your injuries are relatively minor, the cost of treatment and lost earnings may be high. A claim will also involve a medical assessment of the full extent of your injuries, will may be worse than you initially suspect.

    If you have any concerns, you should discuss these with a solicitor. We can help you explore your options on a confidential basis, with no obligation to start a claim.

    How much compensation can I claim for a car passenger injury?

    The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

    • the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

    Car passenger injury compensation calculator

    Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

    Updated December 2023 Compensation Calculator v3.04

    General 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.

    How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

    Special damages

    Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for loss of earnings, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as pain medication and physiotherapy.

    Read more:

    A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

    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 car 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.

    How did your injury happen?

    Car passenger injury claims are usually categorised as road traffic accident (RTA) claims. Click on the icons below to learn more:

    Injury FAQs

    How long does an injury claim take?

    What are my chances of winning my claim?

    Will my claim go to court?

    Can I claim for someone else?

    How long do I have to make an injury claim?

    What if a child was injured?

    No win, no fee car passenger injury compensation claims

    With no win, no fee, you can claim car passenger injury compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

    Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

    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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