Emergency Services Injury Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a road accident we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a road 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
emergency services injury compensation:
With one region in the UK reporting almost 6,000 accidents over a 3 year period - an average of 5 per day - and an estimated 400 police cars written off in the UK in 2014, it is evident that accidents involving police, fire brigade or ambulance service vehicles are widespread.
Do drivers of emergency service vehicles have special rights on the road?
Drivers of emergency vehicles must abide by the same laws as all other road users and have no special rights regarding liability if they are involved in an accident.
It is their duty to show due care and responsibility while driving - even when speeding to help others.
For example, emergency services vehicles must stop at a red or red and amber traffic light if they are not responding to an emergency situation. In an emergency they may proceed against the lights providing that doing so would not endanger other road users, and their warning lights are flashing.
Speed limits must also be observed except when responding to an emergency. Even then, the driver must still proceed within a speed where he can retain control of the vehicle.
When might an emergency vehicle driver be liable?
If the emergency vehicle is not making its presence known - by flashing lights and/or siren - other road users may not be aware of its approach and a collision may occur. In some cases the emergency authority may be found liable for the accident.
Even where an emergency vehicle is displaying warning lights and sounding a siren, if the driver is found to have been driving recklessly without regard for other road users he may be found liable if an accident occurs.
Emergency vehicles which cause accidents while not responding to a situation may also be found liable for any injuries sustained by other road users.
What are the duties of motorists when an emergency vehicle is present?
Motorists have a duty to listen and look out for emergency vehicles and to remove themselves from the path of those vehicles - if it safe to do so. For example, pulling over at traffic lights to allow an emergency vehicle to travel through a red light, or moving to the inside lane to allow it to pass on a dual carriageway.
When a motorist does not observe the presence and allow passage of an emergency vehicle - causing the vehicles to collide - he may be found to have contributed to the accident. This may lead to a reduction in any compensation awarded to the motorist due to his contributory negligence.
Can I claim if I work for the emergency services?
Emergency services' employees are acting in the course of their employment and are owed a duty of care by their employer, the vehicle's driver and other road users. Each accident is assessed to establish liability before claims for compensation can be awarded
Passengers of such vehicles may be able to claim for any injuries sustained; this includes members of the public who may be travelling in the emergency vehicle.
Do I have an emergency services injury claim?
As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an emergency services injury claim if you were injured:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else 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 emergency services injury claim on their own behalf.
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your emergency services 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 emergency services 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 emergency services 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 less severe ankle injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £8,000.
However, if you have a serious shoulder injury and a less severe ankle injury, you would typically receive £15,000 + a reduced percentage of £8,000.
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 emergency services 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 emergency services injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your emergency services 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?
Emergency services injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an emergency services 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 emergency services injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a road injury claim take?
The length of time needed to get compensation for a road accident can vary considerably.
A straightforward uncontested road accident claim can settle in a few months. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take considerably longer. On average a road accident claim will take 4 to 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your emergency services 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
With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an emergency services 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 emergency services 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 emergency services injury claim?
If your emergency services 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.
What is Legal Aid available for?
In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in personal injury law cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.
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
Emergency services 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 emergency services injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the emergency services injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your emergency services injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an emergency services 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 emergency services 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.