Level-Crossing Injury Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a level crossing accident we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a level crossing 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
level-crossing injury compensation:
There are approximately 8,000 level crossings in Great Britain, the majority of which are managed by Network Rail. 330 "near miss" incidents involving cars, cyclists and pedestrians occurred on level crossings in 2014. Collisions involving trains were less common but far more dangerous, accounting for 50 percent of catastrophic incidents on British railways.
Most incidents are road accidents, occurring when a driver crosses the railway line when it is not safe to do so. Some incidents are a result of mechanical failure, such as the early warning system failing to operate properly or barriers not coming down in time for the driver to stop.
Anyone who has been injured in a level crossing accident that was not their fault may be eligible to make a compensation claim. Where the accident involves a fatality, immediate family members may be able to bring a claim for compensation.
Do I have a level-crossing injury claim?
It should be possible to make a level-crossing injury claim if your injury occurred:
- within the last three years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Claim eligibility - Common questions
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 level-crossing injury claim on their own behalf.
Do I need a diagnosis to make a level-crossing injury claim?
If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start a level-crossing injury claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.
The amount of money you could claim for your level-crossing 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 level-crossing 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 a level-crossing 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 internal injury can be £43,000
For a more minor ankle injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £7,000.
However, if you have a serious internal injury and a more minor ankle injury, you would typically receive £43,000 + a reduced percentage of £7,000.
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 a level-crossing 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 level-crossing injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your level-crossing 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.
Can I get an interim payment?
Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.
Level-crossing injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a level-crossing 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 level-crossing injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a level crossing injury claim take?
The length of time needed to settle a level crossing accident claim can vary considerably.
For instance, a simple liability accepted public transport injury claim can settle in a few weeks. If the defendant denies liability, a compensation claim can take substantially longer. Normally a public transport injury claim will take 6 to 9 months. See: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your level-crossing 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.
Vehicle collision level crossing accidents
Network Rail is responsible for operating and maintaining all the level crossings on the mainline rail network in the UK. They also have a duty to make the level crossing as safe as possible, for example by providing barriers, give way signs or warning lights to motorists. If a car and train collide because the crossing was malfunctioning or was not safe to use, then Network Rail may be liable for the injuries of the driver and his passengers.
There are also situations where the train operator may be liable for the accident. For example, if the train operator did not give an audible warning of the train's approach, reduce speed or follow safety protocols, then a Court may decide that the train operator was wholly or partly to blame for the collision.
Drivers who try to run the lights or who do not observe the level crossing's warning systems are breaking The Highway Code. A court may decide that the driver's negligence or recklessness contributed to the accident. This is known as contributory negligence. It may still be possible to bring a claim in this situation, but the claimant's award typically will be reduced to reflect the part they played in the incident.
Cyclist and pedestrian level crossing accidents
Cyclists and pedestrians are asked to be especially vigilant when using a level crossing. It is the responsibility of the individual to obey the warning signs and ensure that it is safe to cross.
Network Rail has recently launched a cycling safety campaign in a bid to reduce the number of level crossing accidents and near misses. The advice, which applies equally to pedestrians, recommends:
- Stopping, looking and listening for approaching trains
- Dismounting and walking the bike over the crossing, as wheels can get stuck in railway tracks
- Removing earphones before crossing to ensure that warning alarms or oncoming trains can be heard
- Observing all instruction signs, alarms and signals
- Never assuming that only one train is approaching or guessing when a train might come based on the timetable.
To make a successful claim, cyclists and pedestrians who are injured on a level crossing must establish that Network Rail or the train operator was negligent and that the injury arose as a result. This may be a difficult case to argue, particularly in the absence on CCTV footage or witness statements. An injury lawyer experienced in level crossing accidents can help collect the necessary evidence and build a compelling case.
Cycling over a poorly maintained crossing
Not all level crossing accidents involve the risk of collision with a train.
Occasionally cyclists come off their bikes due to a defect in the surface of the crossing. Compensation may be recovered from Network Rail if it can be established that they did not maintain the crossing and the want of repair directly contributed to the cyclist's injuries. Read more about cycling injury claims.
No win, no fee
Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if you do not winn your claim .
No win, no fee promise
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a level-crossing injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my level-crossing injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. 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 level-crossing injury claim?
If your level-crossing 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.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
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 injury 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
Level-crossing 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 a level-crossing injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the level-crossing injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your level-crossing injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a level-crossing 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 level-crossing injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a level-crossing injury 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.
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.