Even relatively minor car accident injuries can prove traumatic. Aside from the shock and injury of an accident itself, you may suffer days or weeks of symptoms and might also experience disruption to your social, family and working life. Additionally, you may be left out of pocket because of lost earnings and medical expenses.
Fortunately, a car accident claim can at least provide financial compensation for these facts. Unless you have already experienced the process before, it is likely that you will have lots of questions. We answer many of these below. If your questions relate to a more general road accident claim involving a bus, bicycle, lorry or other vehicle, you may be able to find the answer here.
Can I make a car accident claim?
You can make a car accident compensation claim however you are provided you meet the following criteria:
- You have received an accident injury diagnosis and it details in some way the suffering you have experienced
- Some other party was at least partially responsible for the incident in which you sustained the injury i.e the driver of another vehicle or the driver of a vehicle you were the passenger in.
- The accident occurred less than three years ago – if you were under 16 at the time of the incident you can make a claim for the injury at any time within three years of the date on which you turned 16
How do I make a car accident claim?
Making a claim for car accident compensation is a relatively straightforward. All you need do is contact a personal injury lawyer with details and evidence of the accident and details of your injury diagnosis.
A family member was driving, do I need to claim against them?
In the vast majority of cases it will be the insurance company of the responsible party who will shoulder the financial burden of paying compensation. The exception is in the case of uninsured or untraced drivers – in these cases it is the Motor Insurers' Bureau that pays the cost of compensation. However, in some cases the responsible party may be someone you know – for example, you were passenger in the vehicle of a friend or family member at the time of an accident for which they were at fault, but, if they were fully insured it will be the insurer who defends the claim.In the vast majority of cases it will be the insurance company of the responsible party who will shoulder the financial burden of paying compensation. The exception is in the case of uninsured or untraced drivers – in these cases it is the Motor Insurers' Bureau that pays the cost of compensation. However, in some cases the responsible party may be someone you know – for example, you were passenger in the vehicle of a friend or family member at the time of an accident for which they were at fault, but, if they were fully insured it will be the insurer who defends the claim.
Can I make a claim on behalf of a family member?
Yes, if you are looking to claim on behalf of someone who is below the age of 16 or who lacks mental capacity in some way, you can act as their legal guardian. You cannot, however, act as their legal guardian if you are the party responsible for causing the accident; in this case you must find another person who is able to act on the injured family member's behalf.
What if the accident was caused by a hit and run or uninsured driver?
You can make a car accident claim even if the driver is uninsured or is untraceable after fleeing the scene of the accident. The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) is an organisation that exists to ensure recourse to compensation for people who suffer injuries in these circumstances. At Thompsons we can help you lodge a claim with the MIB.
Who funds the MIB?
You do, albeit indirectly through your insurer. The Motor Insurers Bureau is funded by an estimated £30 a year from every insured driver's premiums. According to the MIB's website, the MIB is paid for “by law-abiding motorists who pay their insurance premiums”. It has been fulfilling this role since 1946.
How long do I have to make a claim?
In Scotland, there is a limit of three years in which a personal injury claim for compensation must be made. If legal proceedings are not started in court within three years, the case is then time-barred.
However, if you suffered your injury when you were under 16 and a claim has not been made on your behalf, you have three years to claim from the date on which you turn 16.
Talk to a car accident solicitor today if you are unsure about making a claim.
What will the solicitor need to know?
Your solicitor will need the details of any relevant police report, medical diagnoses and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. More evidence is always better: so if you have witness statements and/or photographs taken around the time of the accident, you should provide these.
Furthermore, provide your solicitor with any relevant costs caused by your accident. For example, receipts for prescriptions, medical equipment and travelling expenses.
How much money do you get for a car accident?
Car accident injury settlements vary from less than £3,000 for milder soft tissue injuries to upwards of £200,000 for the most serious head or spinal injuries. Your settlement will depend on your injuries, your recovery time and the circumstances of your accident.
Whiplash is the most common of all car accident injuries. According to the Judicial Board Guidelines the amount of whiplash compensation received will depend on the severity of the injury – however, it is worth remembering that these figures are only guidelines:
- Minor whiplash injuries – up to £2,750
- Whiplash injury with soft tissue injury – between £2,750 and £5,000
- Persistent whiplash injury with possible complications – between £5,000 and £8,750
- Whiplash injury with chronic pain and additional complications – between £8,750 and £16,000
For more severe injuries – for example brain or spinal cord injuries – the amount of compensation awarded will be much higher, ranging from five to six or even seven figure sums.
Can I claim on behalf of my child if I caused the accident?
If your child has sustained injury in a car accident that was caused by you, you will not be able to claim on his or her behalf – i.e. act as their legal guardian.
However, in such a situation the child's other parent, can claim on the child's behalf, ensuring that there is no conflict of interest.
Can I claim as a pedestrian, public transport passenger or after a taxi accident?
Yes, all road users – regardless of whether they were on the pavement, on a motorcycle or on public transport – have the same entitlement to claim compensation for injuries as those travelling in private vehicles at the time of an accident.
Public transport and all passenger carriers have a duty of care to their users and it is your legal right to make a claim if the accident was not your fault. Our Road Accident FAQs page has more information.
I suffered my accident in Scotland but don't live there, where should I claim?
There are three different legal jurisdictions in the UK: Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.
Regardless of where you live, if you suffered your whiplash injury in an accident in Scotland, you should use a Scottish personal injury lawyer to claim in Scottish law.
Contact Thompsons for advice today
Claiming compensation following a car accident can seem daunting at first, especially if you do not understand the process or fear that it might leave you further out-of-pocket. However, the car accident claims team at Thompsons can guide you through the procedure, answering any questions you might have as they arise so that we can give you confidence as we advise you on the best way to move forward.
We offer a No Win, No Fee funding model to protect you from all possible costs and fees in the event your claim does not succeed. Furthermore, as car accident lawyers with a success rate of around 90%, you can rest assured that your claim is in safe and experienced hands.
For more information contact us today on 0800 0891 331.