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.

Whether your injuries were caused by a slip or fall on a train, an accident in a station, or as the result of a train company's negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

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

Your solicitor will ask you about how the train accident happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will then identify who is legally responsible. Based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses they will also work out how much money you can claim.

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

In this article

Introduction

There are approximately 8,000 level crossings in Great Britain which are regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). 2 fatalities and 316 "near miss" incidents involving cars, cyclists and pedestrians occurred on level crossings occured in 2019. 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.

If you have been injured in a level crossing accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible to make a compensation claim.

Level crossing closed

Do I have an injury claim?

It should be possible to make an injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • within the last 3 years, and;
  • another person was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
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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 an injury claim on their own behalf.

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

What if I don't know who was to blame?

You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options. Specialist lawyers have years of experience identifying the responsible party in cases where liability is uncertain.

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

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.

For example:

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 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.

Can I claim for an existing level-crossing injury that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

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 compensation

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?

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.

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.

Will I have to go to court?

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

Less than 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 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

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 an injury compensation 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, 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 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.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. level-crossing injury claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.

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 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
  • 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 an injury 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?

Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor