Welcome to our guide on making a claim after a road traffic accident (RTA). Incidents such as these could be caused by another road user’s negligence. Alternatively, the accident may have occurred due to a damaged road surface.
If you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation.
Road users that cause injuries are not just limited to drivers. Your injuries could be sustained due to negligent behaviour by:
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Personal injury claims are time-limited. Don’t let your window of opportunity expire.
Select A Section
- Our Guide To Making A Claim After A Road Traffic Accident
- How Long After A Road Traffic Accident Can You Claim?
- What Should I Do Before Making A Claim For A Road Traffic Accident?
- How Much Compensation Will I Get For A Road Traffic Accident?
- What Else Can I Claim For After A Road Traffic Accident?
- Why Make A No Win No Fee Claim After A Road Traffic Accident?
A road traffic accident claim is a type of personal injury claim. Essentially, there needs to have been negligence on the behalf of another road user for you to be able to claim for your injuries.
Negligence involves the following:
- Another party owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty of care, causing an accident.
- You were injured as a result of this accident.
On the road, the duty of care involves using standard care and skill. A road user’s responsibilities are clearly laid out in The Highway Code. These guidelines should be followed by all road users. That way, the risk of accidents and injuries on the road can be reduced.
How Many Road Traffic Accidents Happen Each Year?
Road traffic accidents take place across the country every year. The severity of the injuries sustained can vary. They could only be quite minor injuries, such as whiplash. More serious examples include broken bones or even death in extreme circumstances.
The graph below has been put together using government statistics for reported road casualties in Great Britain for the year ending June 2021. The injuries sustained over this period have been categorised by injudicious action on behalf of the road user.
As you can see, the most common cause of reported injuries over this period was exceeding the speed limit. This is true for serious, slight, and fatal accidents.
When making a claim after a road traffic accident, you need to be aware of the time limits involved. Generally, you will have 3 years from the date of the accident to start your claim. This is stated in the Limitation Act 1980.
However, there are scenarios in which this time limit can function slightly differently. For example, your injuries may not be immediately apparent. You may walk away from the accident thinking you have not been injured. If your injuries are diagnosed or detected at a later date, then you could use this date as the start of your time limit. This is known as the “date of knowledge”. You may need to have medical evidence to back this up.
Child Accident Claims
Those under 18 cannot make their own claims. They will either have to wait until their 18th birthday (when their 3-year time limit begins) or have someone make a claim on their behalf. Until their 18th birthday, their time limit is suspended.
This person who is able to claim on the child’s behalf is known as a litigation friend. This can be a parent or legal guardian, for instance. They can start a claim before the child turns 18.
Claiming For Those With A Reduced Mental Capacity
If the claimant has sustained a head injury or suffers from a mental condition that affects their ability to make a claim themselves, their time limit is suspended. As with child claims, a litigation friend may also claim on their behalf.
Otherwise, their time limit will only begin if and when they are deemed capable of making a claim. This is usually following some sort of recovery.
If their mental capacity is not expected to return, then the time limit remains suspended indefinitely.
Criminal Injury Claims
This would only apply if the person driving the vehicle was doing so with the intention of injuring or killing you. The claim would also be made in a different way. It would be made through a government agency called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
For the CICA claims, the time limit is usually 2 years from the date your injuries were sustained. The compensation is also calculated in a different way to other personal injury claims. Therefore, the processes and figures mentioned in this article are not relevant to these kinds of claims.
Before making a road accident claim, there are a few steps you should take. Some will be at the scene of the accident, others will be at a later date.
If you suspect that someone has been injured due to an accident on the road, their safety should be paramount. Someone may only seem to have minor injuries, or possibly no injuries at all. There can be injuries not immediately visible, such as internal damage. Anyone involved in a car accident should seek medical attention to be safe.
Obtaining proof of this treatment afterwards can also be useful during your claim. Medical records can be a useful piece of evidence.
Reporting the accident to the police and to relevant insurance providers is also an important step. Additionally, collecting the contact details of any witnesses to the accident can also prove very helpful.
The value of a road traffic accident claim can’t be boiled down to one figure. They’re calculated in accordance with factors like the severity of the injuries and the impact on the injured party’s life.
The amount awarded to the claimant for the physical and mental injuries is known as general damages. Legal professionals can work out how much your general damages payment should be worth with the assistance of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a publication made up of various injuries and their potential worth in compensation.
We’ve included some example figures from the JCG in the table below.
|Tetraplegia/quadriplegia||(a) Not in physical pain, full awareness, retained powers of speech, sight and hearing but needs help with bodily functions||£304,630 to £379,100|
|Psychiatric damage||(c) Moderate - a marked improvement following earlier issues||£5,500 to £17,900|
|Sight||(b) Total blindness||In the region of £252,180|
|Sight||(d) 1 eye completely lost||£51,460 to £61,690|
|Chest||(d) an injury that’s relatively simple with no long-term effect on the function of the lung(s)||£11,820 to £16,860|
|Arm||(a) Severe - not amputation, but the damage is still extremely serious||£90,250 to £122,860|
|Arm||(d) Simple forearm fractures||£6,190 to £18,020|
|Wrist||(e) Uncomplicated Colles’ fracture||In the region of £6,970|
|Finger||(m) Little finger amputated||£8,110 to £11,490|
If you can’t see your injuries in the compensation table above, or you’d like our advisors to value your claim for free, why not reach out to us?
As part of the personal injury claims process, you’d need to attend a medical assessment. An independent medical professional would assess your injuries and create a report. The report would aim to establish:
- whether the injuries were consistent with those that could be caused by the RTA
- how severe the injuries were
A solicitor could then use the report as evidence and to value potential general damages.
There is also an additional figure that can be awarded to you. It’s known as special damages. It can cover financial expenses and losses caused by your injuries. You must have proof for them to be considered eligible for reimbursement.
Some examples of special damages payments are:
- Loss of earnings if you took unpaid leave to recover
- Medical expenses such as prescription costs
- Adaptations to your home that were necessary (wheelchair ramps fitted, for example)
ln order to prove these financial losses, you’d need to provide documents such as bills, receipts and invoices.
The Whiplash Reform Program
If your injury is valued at £5,000 or lower then you could claim compensation in a different way. The Whiplash Reform Program allows adults who were injured as a passenger or driver to access compensation for low-value injuries such as whiplash.
However, to be eligible:
- The RTA must have occurred in England or Wales
- You must be over 18
- You must have been a driver or passenger (not for motorbikes or scooters)
If the above list doesn’t apply to you, you could follow the usual personal injury claims process.
A No Win No Fee agreement (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement) could help you in funding the services of a personal injury solicitor. All of the lawyers on our panel operate on a No Win No Fee basis. So, you won’t need to pay their fee if your claim is unsuccessful.
You will only be obligated to pay their fee if you are awarded compensation. Your solicitor is paid for their work through a legally capped percentage from your settlement.
No Win No Fee agreements can help lower the financial risk of using the services of a solicitor. Get in touch if you wish to claim in this way.
Other Ways We Could Help
Here are some helpful links for further reading.
This is our general guide on road traffic accident claims.
How to claim if you are involved in a car accident as a pedestrian.
Read about making a claim through the MIB if you have been hit by an uninsured or untraceable driver.
Information on head injuries and concussions.
How to know if you’ve broken a bone.
Thank you for reading our guide on making a claim after a road traffic accident.
Article by AI