A Guide to Claiming Car Passenger Injury Compensation

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

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a car passenger accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

The statistics

The latest Government data available in 2019 is for 2017.  

The data shows that 32% of the 100,082 casualties in 2017 were passengers,

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

The panel of solicitors have represented both drivers and passengers injured in both minor and serious road accidents, and have helped individuals who have sustained:

Do I have a car passenger injury claim?

A car passenger injury claim should be possible if your injury happened:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim

What are the exceptions?

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.

What if the road accident was my fault?

If you think you were partly responsible for the road 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.

Read more about when there is uncertainty as to who is to blame.

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.

Read more

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.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if I want to make a multi-party or group claim?

A multi-party claim (sometimes referred to as a 'group claim' or a 'class action') brought by a group of people who have sustained the same or similar injuries due to the negligence of the same defendant. How you start a multi-party claim will depend on the circumstances and we recommend you speak to a solicitor for more information.

What if I was diagnosed months after the car passenger injury?

Depending on how your car passenger injury happened, the three-year time limit may only start from the date you are diagnosed and learn of the cause of your injury. In some cases, this can be months or years after the cause occurred.

Who is liable?

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.

Read more: Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an 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.

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.

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

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

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

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a car passenger injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple car passenger injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious neck injury can be £52,000

For a more minor ankle injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £7,000.

However, if you have a serious neck injury and a more minor ankle injury, you would typically receive £52,000 + a reduced percentage of £7,000.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

What is the average injury compensation for a car passenger 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 a car passenger injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your car passenger 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.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Will a road accident claim affect my benefits?

It may. The receipt of a compensation award could affect the calculation of any means-tested benefits. One approach to protecting your benefits, would be to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?

Car passenger injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a car passenger 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 car passenger injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a car passenger injury claim take?

The length of time needed to win compensation for a car passenger accident can vary significantly.

For instance, a simple uncontested road accident claim could be settled in several weeks. If the defendant denies liability, a compensation claim can take considerably longer. On average a road accident claim will take 4 to 9 months. See more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a car passenger injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your car passenger 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.

Will I get financial advice?

Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your car passenger injury claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.

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. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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 road accident 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:

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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.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

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.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

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

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the car passenger injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your car passenger injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a car passenger 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 car passenger injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a car accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

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.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

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.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

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.

Read more about interim compensation payments.