Can I make a motorway accident compensation claim?
Although the UK's motorways are among the safest roads in Europe, when accidents do happen they are often serious, due to the volume of traffic and the speed at which vehicles are travelling.
Typical collisions include rear-end crashes and shunts and multiple pile-ups involving several vehicles.
There are many reasons why accidents occur on motorways. According to Department for Transport statistics, over 90% are caused by driver error (such as losing concentration, loss of control and dangerous driving). Vehicle malfunctions (tyre blow-outs, engine failure), roadworks and debris in the road may also cause hazards on motorways.
Injuries typically sustained by those involved in motorway collisions include spinal, head or bone or internal injuries as well as whiplash. In 2015, serious motorway accidents resulted in 108 fatalities, an increase of 13% on the previous year.
Should I bring a compensation claim?
The injuries described above may leave a person unable to work for a period of time (or permanently). There may be costs incurred for treatment or for help with chores or travel.
Any compensation paid would be to cover these financial losses (special damages) plus an amount to compensate for the pain, loss and suffering sustained as a result of the accident (general damages).
To make a claim for injuries and loss sustained in a motorway accident, it is necessary to establish who was responsible for the accident. This would usually be the individual whose negligent driving caused the accident, although other parties, such as the Highways Agency, may be found liable if the accident was a result of inadequately lit roadworks for example.
If the accident was your fault and another person was injured as a result, he may bring a claim against your motor insurance policy.
The police have the following recommendations designed to help drivers avoid motorway collisions:
- Drive according to the weather conditions; slow down in heavy rain, spray or fog; be aware of icy roads in cold weather.
- Take regular breaks at motorway service areas and do not drive if tired or unwell
- Maintain at least a 2-second gap between you and the vehicle in front
- Reduce distractions; do not use a mobile phone, wear headphones or play music at excessive volume
- Always obey the speed limit
- Always keep to the left except when overtaking