A Guide to Claiming Public Transport Accident Injury Compensation

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

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

Introduction

1,250 people were admitted to hospital following a fall, trip, road accident or other incident on a bus in 2013/14, and 296 travellers involved in mainline train accidents sustained reportable injuries. In the same period, London Underground passengers sustained over 4,000 injuries.

Busy train station

Common public transport injuries

Trains

On the railway network, slips, trips and falls were the cause of 63% of injuries in 2014/15. These may have been caused by spillages or litter not being cleaned properly on floors or platforms.

Injuries when boarding or alighting from the train were also reported. Being caught in closing doors, or trapping fingers as defective doors slammed shut may be some of the injuries. Faulty or poorly-labelled steps from the train to the platform may cause passengers to trip and fall as they dismount from the train at their destination.

Luggage falling from overhead racks is also a cause of head injuries.

Less common injuries that compensation may also be claimed for include cuts from damaged surfaces including seats and tables with exposed sharp edges.

Buses

Of those injured whilst travelling by bus, more than 87% of the injuries were reported as being ?non-collision transport accidents?. These are likely to be falls caused by bus drivers accelerating or braking heavily, whilst people are standing rather than safely seated. Accidents also occur when passengers are boarding or alighting from buses, especially where the bus drives off before the passenger is seated.

Ferries and watercraft

Although ferry operators cannot control rough seas, operators do have a duty of care to take all reasonable precautions to protect the safety of passengers. This includes securing anything that could move during the journey, and the provision of liferafts and lifejackets.

Collisions at sea are very rare, however ferry passengers have been injured when ships have collided with harbour walls when docking. Whiplash injuries may be sustained by sudden impact, and sprains and bruising may result from falling.

Do I have a public transport accident injury claim?

You should be eligible to make a public transport accident injury claim if you were injured:

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

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

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What are the exceptions?

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To get an impartial answer, speak to a public transport accident injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. We will never put you under pressure to start a claim.

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 public transport accident injury claim on their own behalf.

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

Can I still make a public transport accident injury claim after three years?

In general, a public transport accident injury claim can only be made outside of the three-year limit if you were injured as a child and are still under 21, you were diagnosed within the last three years with a health condition that was caused by historic exposure, or you were fundamentally unable to make a claim within the three-year window, due to incapacity.

How much compensation can I claim for a public transport accident injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your public transport accident 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 public transport accident 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 public transport accident 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 public transport accident 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 arm fracture can be £15,000

For a less severe leg injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £7,200.

However, if you have a serious arm fracture and a less severe leg injury, you would typically receive £15,000 + a reduced percentage of £7,200.

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

What is the average injury compensation for a public transport accident 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 public transport accident injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your public transport accident 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?

Public transport accident injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a public transport accident 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 public transport accident injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a public transport injury claim take?

The length of time needed to settle a public transport accident claim can vary considerably.

For example, a straightforward uncontested public transport claim might be concluded in a matter of weeks. However, if liability is denied the process might take substantially longer. Normally an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. See more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a public transport accident 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 public transport accident 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.

Claiming compensation for accidents on public transport

All carriers and other companies responsible for public transport, including bus, train, ship and airline operators, have a duty of care to protect passengers are comply with applicable health and safety standards.

Bringing a public transport-related claim can become complex if a number of different organisations are involved. For example, the rail network involves separate companies responsible for operating the trains, platforms and tracks. A solicitor will determine which party (or parties) is responsible for the accident.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

How does no win, no fee work?

No win, no fee takes all of the risk out of making a public transport accident injury claim. If you do not win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

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 claiming compensation for your public transport accident injury.

What do I pay if I win my public transport accident 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%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my public transport accident injury claim?

If your public transport accident injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. 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 do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your public transport accident 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:

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Public transport accident 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 public transport accident injury claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a public transport accident 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 public transport accident 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.

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.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert