Icy Road Injury Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a car accident we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a car accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
icy road injury compensation:
Figures from the Department of Transport show that, during the colder-than-average winter of 2012, 544 people were seriously injured, 4,584 people were slightly injured and 38 people were killed in road accidents when there was snow or ice on the road surface. Bad weather can limit visibility on the roads and make the road surface more slippery. This makes driving conditions more dangerous and can result in more accidents if drivers fail to adapt their behaviour.
Anyone who has been involved in a an accident on the road as a result of ice or snow on the road may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Who is responsible for clearing the highway?
Under The Highways Act 1980, local authorities have a duty to keep the primary roads in their jurisdiction passable and safe to use. The Highways Agency has a similar obligation to take care of motorways.
Both of these organisations are required to clear snow and ice from public highways. This is commonly done through the spreading of grit or salt to prevent snow or ice from settling in cold weather.
To make a successful compensation claim, the injury lawyer would have to show that:
- The relevant agency failed to clear the snow or ice hazard and thus was negligent
- The accident occurred as result.
Proving negligence in an ice or snow car accident
Some roads are a greater priority than others, and it is up to the local authority to identify the primary roads in each area. According to the AA, drivers can expect around 40% of a road network to be covered. If the accident occurs on a minor road, it is unlikely that a claim can be brought. Local authorities are expected to focus their efforts, and their grit supplies, on the roads with the highest volume of traffic.
Even when a road is identified as a primary route, the local authority is only required to take "reasonable" steps to clear the highway. It is simply not possible to clear snow as soon as it falls, and the combination of rain and sub-zero temperatures can cause black ice to form far faster than a local authority is able to clear it.
Each case is assessed on the facts. If the accident occurred on a primary road and it can be shown that the local authority failed to take all reasonable steps to keep the road safe, then a claim may be brought. Reasonable steps might include:
- Having a program in place for gritting and snow clearance
- Observing weather forecasts
- Keeping sufficient stocks of salt or grit
- Displaying warning signs
- Closing roads that are particularly hazardous such as mountain routes.
What is the driver's responsibility?
The onus is not just on the local authority. Drivers are expected to take extra precautions in poor weather, for example by cancelling non-essential journeys, reducing their speed or fitting snow chains. The relevant rules are set out in the Highway Code.
If a driver fails to modify their behaviour, they may be held partly responsible for the accident. A claim may still be possible, but the compensation is usually apportioned between the parties under a split liability agreement.
Do I have an icy road injury claim?
As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an icy road injury claim if your injury happened:
- within the last three years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Injury claim eligibility - Common questions
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.
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 an icy road injury claim on their own behalf.
Can I make an icy road injury claim right up to the three-year limit?
Technically, yes. However, in practice, not always. Many solicitors will not take on an icy road injury claim that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires. The panel of solicitors will take a claim on as late as possible where it is felt that the claim could be successful.
The amount of money you could claim for your icy road 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 icy road 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.
What can I claim for after an icy road injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple 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.
General damages for a serious shoulder injury can be £15,000
For a more minor wrist injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £2,900.
However, if you have a serious shoulder injury and a more minor wrist injury, you would typically receive £15,000 + a reduced percentage of £2,900.
Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.
What is the average injury compensation for an icy road 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 an icy road injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your icy road 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.
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?
Icy road injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an icy road 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 icy road injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a car injury claim take?
How long it can take to secure compensation for a car accident can vary significantly.
A straightforward liability accepted road accident claim could be settled in a month or two. If liability is denied, however, a claim can take significantly longer. Usually, a road accident claim takes 4 to 9 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your icy road 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.
No win, no fee - the facts
'No win, no fee' means that if your icy road injury claim is not successful, you won't have to pay your solicitor any money. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is an agreement between you and a solicitor.
No win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an icy road injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my icy road 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 icy road injury claim?
If your icy road injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How do personal injury solicitors get paid?
If your icy road injury claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.
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:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Icy road 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 do I have to make an icy road injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the icy road injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your icy road injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an icy road 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 icy road 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.
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.
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 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.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.