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Roundabout accident compensation claims - An introduction

Accidents on roundabouts are one of the most common forms of traffic accident. Navigating a roundabout safely requires good judgement and awareness of other vehicles, and depends upon on each driver positioning appropriately.

Accidents on roundabouts tend to happen when drivers position incorrectly for the exit they want to take or when drivers pick up the wrong lane while exiting the roundabout.

The Highway Code

The Highway Code states that when turning right at a roundabout, you should:

  • signal right and approach the roundabout in the right hand lane
  • keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change to the left lane and exit the roundabout
  • signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want

In most cases the left lane can be used for both turning left and proceeding straight ahead.However on some roundabouts the left lane may be for turning left only or straight on only.

Signs and road markings will inform the driver of the appropriate lane for their exit. The left lane is not for turning right, and drivers who continue around the island in this lane are at risk as they are crossing exits that other drivers are attempting to emerge from.

Drivers who attempt to exit the roundabout from the right lane are also at risk of causing an accident as other traffic may be moving alongside them in the left lane. It is important that a driver signals his or her intention when wishing to exit the roundabout.

If a driver fails to adhere to the Highway Code then he/she could be at risk of causing an accident. If you are involved in an accident with a driver who was in the wrong lane of a roundabout, this doesn't necessarily prove liability. A solicitor will consider all evidence at hand and advise you as to the strength of your case.

What is the correct way to exit a roundabout?

Section 186 of the Highway Code explains the signals and positions required to exit a roundabout safely. When taking an exit, drivers are required to obey the following (unless signs or markings indicate otherwise):

First exit

  1. Signal left and approach the exit in the left lane
  2. Keep to the left and signal left to leave

Exit to the right or going full circle

  1. Signal right and approach the roundabout in the right lane
  2. Keep to the right until you need to change lanes to exit
  3. Signal left after passing the exit before the one you want to take

Intermediate exit

  1. Select the appropriate lane on approach to roundabout
  2. Stay in lane until you need to change to exit
  3. Signal left after passing the exit before the one you want to take

In practice, motorists do not always adhere to these rules. Not only can roundabouts be confusing to navigate, but bad habits or ignorance can result in incorrect lane usage.

Why does incorrect lane usage lead to accidents?

By failing to exit in the approved lane, drivers can end up blocking or cutting up other motorists on the roundabout.

Most accidents in this situation are caused when vehicles turning right on a roundabout stay in the left lane until they reach their exit. This means they are preventing other road users exiting who are correctly positioned in the right lane.

Proving wrong lane driver liability

In Slater vs Bancroft [1999], a driver was held 100% negligible for an accident due to being in the incorrect lane for the intended exit and not taking care when adjusting the position. However, liability is not always clear cut.

Both parties may be at fault, or the driver could have taken care when repositioning despite being in the wrong lane. Often both parties will argue that they were positioned correctly on the roundabout. In order to prove other driver liability, CCTV footage and witnesses of the accident will often be called upon to prove who was really responsible. A solicitor can assist the Claimant in requesting footage to support their claim.

What you should do following a roundabout accident

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident at a roundabout then you should seek immediate medical attention. If possible, photographs should be taken of the scene and the names, addresses and statements of any witnesses should be gathered.

CCTV footage from nearby buildings may have recorded the accident and a solicitor can assist the Claimant in requesting the footage to support their claim.

Do I have a roundabout accident claim?

If you were injured in a roundabout 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.

How much compensation can I claim for a roundabout accident?

The compensation sum for road traffic accidents differs from case to case. It is often dependent on many factors including the severity of the injury and any long lasting effects.

A Claimant may be able to claim for both general and special damages. General damages pertains to the pain and suffering experienced as a result of the accident. Claimants may also be able to claim if the accident has made a pre-existing medical condition worse.

Special damages refers to additional expenses the Claimant may have incurred such as travel costs, medical fees and loss of earnings. All receipts and wage slips should be retained as evidence.

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