Low-Velocity Road Accident Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a road 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.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

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

Your solicitor will ask you about how the road accident happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.

By law, all drivers must have insurance to cover the cost of injury compensation claims. Even if you were injured by an unisured or untraceable road user, a claim may still be possible.

We can help you make a road accident claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article

Introduction

Low-velocity or "low speed" road traffic accidents happen when two cars collide at slow speed, generally around 5mph.

Low velocity accidents often occur when a stationary vehicle is rear-ended by another vehicle that has failed to stop in time, for example in queuing traffic.

If you have been involved in a non-fault low-velocity impact (LVI) collision, and suffered an injury as a result, you may be able to make a claim.

What is a "low-velocity" collision claim?

Low-velocity road accident claims have long been an difficult issue for the Courts.

Compared to most road accidents, it can be harder to prove which driver was responsible for a low velocity collision.

It can also be hard to prove that the accident was forceful enough to cause your injury.

What if the insurer won't agree I've been injured?

In crashes at moderate or high speeds, the damage to vehicles and injury to those involved is often obvious.

If you have suffered a cut, sprain, fracture or more serious injury, you will know it almost immediately.

By comparison, vehicle damage in collisions at low speeds tends to be minimal or non-existent, and soft-tissue injuries, such as whiplash, are unlikely to appear until after both parties have left the scene of the accident.

When you make a low-velocity claim, the defendant's insurance company is often reluctant to agree that you have suffered an injury.

The insurer's defence is often based on the Delta Velocity (or Delta V) principle. Delta V measures the severity of a road traffic collision.

How does the Delta V principle work?

Using engineer reports based on the Delta V principle, the insurer can argue that the speed of the collision was not significant to exert enough force to cause the injury in question.

For example, they may argue that whiplash can only be sustained at speeds over 10mph.

However, this scientific data is not conclusive.

Other research shows that the body, in particular the head and neck, sustains more g-force than the car in low-speed impacts. Therefore, as it is not impossible for injuries to occur at lower speeds, the Courts do not rely on such evidence.

As set out in the case of Armstrong and OConnor v First York (2005), the decision often rests on the credibility of the claimant in validating their injuries.

How do I prove I have been injured?

It has been shown that impacts of as little as 5mph can cause significant injury.

However, if you have suffered an injury in a low-velocity road accident your symptoms may not be immediately apparent. In the case of whiplash, for example, pain in the neck, back and arms may only manifest a few days later.

Because of this, a defendant and their insurers will often use this delay in symptoms to argue that the claim is false.

To challenge this argument, you must have evidence to prove your injuries exist and that they were the result of the accident in question.

Do I need a medical assessment?

Your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment to confirm your injuries. This should be done as soon as possible after the accident to confirm authenticity.

The assessment can also:

  • Confirm whether the symptoms are likely to have been the result of the accident.
  • Offer a prognosis for recovery which will help in decisions over the final compensation settlement.

What else should I do to make a stronger case?

It is essential that you also divulge any previous accidents or other injuries.

In addition, it is important that your version of events is consistent and not embellished in order to prove your injuries.

If the medical evidence proves that your injuries were caused by the accident, then the at-fault driver will be liable for the accident, and their insurance company must pay compensation.

Do I have an injury claim?

It should be possible to make an injury claim if you sustained an injury:

  • in the last 3 years, and;
  • someone else was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
Check my claim online

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.

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 an injury claim on their own behalf.

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

What if I can't prove who caused the low-velocity road accident?

Your solicitor will work on your behalf to assess your low-velocity road accident claim and gather evidence. They will identify the party responsible for your accident.

Low value injury claims - Updated March 2022

The regulations for making a lower-value road accident claim (sometimes called 'small claims') have changed.

From 31 May 2021, some lower-value injury claims should be made using the Ministry of Justice's new Official Injury Claim Service online portal.

If you were injured in a vehicle, and the general damages for your injuries are likely to be under £5,000, the Official portal will be used to make your claim. The portal should also be used if the total value (general damages and special damages) for your claim is less than £10,000.

Claims for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and children are not affected by the new regulations.

The new process can be daunting, and we are here to help. You can still use a solicitor to calculate the value of your compensation and to help you make a low value claim through the portal.

No Win, No Fee compensation for low value injury claims

Some solicitors are no longer assisting with lower-value claims, but we can still help you make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim for a lower-value road accident claim.

Read more:

Claiming compensation through the small claims process.

How to use the Official Injury Claim portal to claim compensation

Making a successful low-velocity claim

Although the process for low-velocity claims is not as straightforward as in other road traffic accident claims, seeking the advice of an experienced solicitor can offer the best possible chance of success for genuine claimants.

The compensation amount awarded in low-velocity claims should reflect the extent of the injuries, covering any physical and financial losses.

How much compensation can I claim for an 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.

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 an 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

What is the average injury compensation for an 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 injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Calculate my injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate my claim

How long does a road injury compensation claim take?

How long it can take to process a road accident claim can vary significantly.

For instance, a simple liability accepted road accident claim might be concluded in a matter of weeks. If the defendant denies liability, it could take longer. Typically, a road accident claim should take 4 to 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?

How else can a solicitor help me?

Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.

Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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.

Who pays for this specialist help?

The cost of treatment will be factored into your compensation settlement paid by the defendant or their insurance company. Should you require private treatment before the case settles, an interim payment to cover treatment costs may be possible.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Around 2% 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

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

No win, no fee

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any fees if your injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an 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 injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, 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 injury claim?

If your 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.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How we can help you

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.

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
  • 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday

Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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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:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

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

Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.

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:

Claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make an injury claim?

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

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

Can I claim for an 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim 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 visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

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?

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?