Driving lesson injury claims

Learner drivers are inevitably more prone to errors than other road users.Even with an experienced driving instructor on hand, road traffic accidents can happen.

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All road users owe each other a duty of care. This means that if a driver acts negligently and injures another driver or passenger as a result, they may be liable to pay compensation to the injured party. But what happens in the case of learner drivers? Do they owe other drivers the same duty of care? Can learner drivers be held to the same standard?

Uninsured driver collision

The learner driver's responsibilities

When learning to drive, a learner must:

  • be aged 17 or over;
  • hold a provisional license;
  • be supervised by someone aged 21 or over who has held a clean driving license for 3 years;
  • display L' plates

These rules are in place for the learner driver's own safety and the safety of other road users.

Once on the road, learners are required to drive in a reasonably safe manner, for example, adhering to traffic signals, checking for blind spots and obeying the speed limits.

In Nettleship v Weston [1971], the Court of Appeal confirmed that learners must be held to the same standard as other drivers.

The Courts are not required to be lenient on learner drivers, but they may expect other drivers to treat a vehicle displaying learner plates with reasonable caution.

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Is the driving instructor liable?

During the course of a driving lesson, the instructor or supervisor has a duty of care to ensure the learner is driving safely giving clear direction and, if necessary, intervening to avoid an incident, should the need arise.

Instructors and supervisors are required to hold sufficient insurance to cover accidents resulting from the actions of the learner driver and themselves.

If an instructor or supervisor fails to act safely, for example taking a phone call when they should have their eyes on the road, or to take reasonable steps to avoid an accident, they could be held accountable.

Driving schools can also be culpable if the vehicle was defective or if they failed to ensure the quality of the instructors hired.

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What if a third party is involved in a learner driver accident?

No matter how safe or expertly supervised, learner drivers are, like fully qualified drivers, subject to the actions of other road users. Motorists are advised to issue caution when in proximity of vehicles displaying an L' plate. In reality, this does not always happen.

Stuck behind a learner, other drivers can become impatient. This can lead to accidents.

If a third party tailgates or attempts to overtake, not leaving adequate space for learner error, and this causes a collision, the other third-party driver could be held negligible.

Third parties can also be held responsible if accidents occur as a result of other agitated behaviour, such as unnecessary horn beeping or aggressive actions.

Claims of this nature are often decided on the individual facts of the case. If you wish to discuss your circumstances with an expert solicitor, call Quittance on 0800 612 7456.

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Do I have a driving lesson injury claim?

If you were injured in a driving lesson accident 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.

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Calculate my driving lesson injury compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our road accident compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the team

The nationwide network of Quittance solicitors help injured people with all types of road accident claims, from less-severe claims to life-changing injuries. Selected for their success rate in winning claims, QLS's solicitors have years of experience handling claims on behalf of injured claimants.

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Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Rakhi Chauhan Road Accident Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

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.

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