A Guide to Claiming Car Passenger Injury Compensation
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
This article looks at what you need to know about making a car passenger accident compensation claim.
Road accident compensation amounts are not affected by whether you are a driver or passenger in a vehicle. As a general principle, a passenger's compensation will not be reduced, even if the driver of their car is found to be partly (or even fully) responsible for an accident.
However, a passenger's compensation award could be reduced if they contributed to the severity of their injuries by not wearing a seatbelt.
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 passenger 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
Do I have a car passenger injury claim?
A car passenger injury claim should be possible if the injury happened:
- in the last three years and;
- someone else was to blame.
However, if these two points don't apply, a claim may still be possible.
To get a definitive answer, you can speak to a car passenger injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.
A short call will confirm whether you have a claim. You will be under no obligation to start a claim with Quittance.
You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.
What if I was partly to blame?
If you think you were partly responsible for the accident or for your injury, it should still be possible to make a claim.
In these cases, claims are usually settled with a split liability agreement.
For example, if you were 50% responsible for your injuries, you would receive 50% less compensation.
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 body that pays road accident compensation to the victims of uninsured or untraced (unidentified) drivers.
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 a car passenger injury claim on their own behalf.
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 seat belt 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 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 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.
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.
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your car passenger 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 car passenger 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.
See a list of what you can claim for:
Examples of special damages include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Find out what your claim could be worth now
Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated.
If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.
Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your car passenger injury case 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.
How does no win, no fee work?
No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any legal fees if your car passenger injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also called a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a car passenger injury compensation claim.
What do I pay if I win my car passenger injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my car passenger injury claim?
If your car passenger injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees.
How can Quittance help?
Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning road accident claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.
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:Call me back
No Win, No Fee
to start a claim
Car Passenger Injury FAQ's
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 will my claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.
For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.
Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.
Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:
Personal injury claim type
Estimated claim duration*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s 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 interim compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments.
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.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert