If a level-crossing injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Injuries at level crossings may occur due to inadequate safety measures or negligence, leading to serious compensation claims for the potentially life-altering consequences of such accidents.
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.
You can make a compensation claim for a train accident with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
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 occurred 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.
If you decide to make a level-crossing injury claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Am I eligible for level-crossing injury compensation?
You will be able to claim compensation if you've been injured or diagnosed with an illness in the last three years and it wasn't your fault.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
Is a claim still possible if I was partly responsible for my injury?
Understanding who is legally at fault for an accident often requires navigating through a maze of legal complexities.
Each year, Quittance carries out a survey of potential claimants. In our 2023 Public Liability Injury Claimant Survey, 17.45% of respondents felt they might be at least partly to blame for their injuries.
When fault on both sides caused a claimant's injuries, this is called 'contributory negligence'. In these situations, compensation may still be payable on the basis of a split liability agreement.
How long do I have to claim level-crossing injury compensation?
In most cases, you have up to 3 years from the date of your accident or injury to start a claim.
For an injured child, the three-year limitation period begins on their 18th birthday, giving them until they are 21 to start a claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a level-crossing 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.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
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 is compensation awarded to cover any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your road injury or negligent medical treatment. These damages aim to put you back in the financial position you would have been in, had your injury not occurred.
Special damages will also cover your medical treatment expenses, that might include pain medication and psychological support.
Claiming compensation for psychological injuries
If you have suffered psychological harm in addition to a physical injury or illness, you are not alone.
Our 2023 Public Place Injury Claimant Survey highlights that 29.03% of claimants reported they had suffered a psychological injury, 70.97% of which related to a physical injury.
Injuries at level-crossings can lead to amaxophobia (fear of driving or being a passenger) and PTSD in severe accidents.
Compensation for psychological harm can help you access mental health support and therapies not always available through the NHS.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
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.
How did your injury happen?
The compensation claims process will depend on where and how your level-crossing injury occurred. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your injury claim
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.
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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.