Car Accident Compensation Claims
Open since 1988, we fight on a ‘no win, no fee*’ basis for those who have been injured in car accidents through no fault of their own. Contact our experienced & caring car accident injury claim team for a free, no-obligation assessment of your case, or read our car accident FAQs below.
Car Accident Compensation FAQs
If you don’t know how to claim compensation for a car accident, don’t worry. Contact us through our form for a free, no-obligation consultation related to your specific circumstances, talk to us through live chat, or call us on 0800 195 9590.
Alternatively, read through the FAQs below. These answer every question you may have about your car accident claim, from how to seek legal help to the evidence you’ll need and how to deal with insurance.
- What Should I Do After a Car Crash?
- What Evidence Will a Solicitor Need for My Car Accident Claim?
- What If the Car Accident Was Partly My Fault?
- How to Claim Compensation for a Car Accident
- What Can Be Claimed for Following a Car Accident?
- Claims Against an Uninsured Driver
- Public Transport & Taxi Accident Claims
- Dealing With Motor Insurance Companies
- Why Choose Smith Jones as Your Car Accident Solicitor?
What Should I Do After A Car Crash?
Road traffic accidents can happen quickly and without warning. Knowing how to respond is important. Here are the key steps to take in the first instance:
1) Get Help. Telephone an ambulance immediately as a priority. After that, you will need to call the police too. They will give you an incident number (Police Reference Number) and a copy of the police report. This is essential evidence which you will need for your claim.
2) Gather Essential Information. Note down a description of the other vehicle and its registration number. Obtain the name, address and insurance details of all drivers and passengers present and collect the contact details of any witnesses.
3) Note Additional Details. Note other factors which may have influenced the accident such as weather conditions and visibility. If possible, take photos or videos of all damage incurred, of all vehicles involved and the environment around you.
4) Speak To Your Insurers. Report the incident to your insurers, ensuring you make a note of all the information they ask for. If you don’t have all of this information available, use the time while you’re still at the scene of the accident to gather as much information as possible.
5) Seek Legal Advice. After the accident, make sure you seek professional legal advice from highly experienced and qualified solicitors such as Smith Jones.
Your first instinct after a car accident may be to ‘soldier on’ and to focus on getting better. Even minor accidents can have a major impact on your health and well-being, and that’s beside the fact that making a claim can seem so daunting. However, legal help can win you compensation for your injuries and assist you in your recovery.
What Evidence Will A Solicitor Need For My Car Accident Claim?
All injury compensation claims must be evidence-based. Even if the accident was the fault of another party, and you incurred significant injuries, your claim will fail if not properly evidenced. Evidence can also be the difference between a small pay-out and a large pay-out.
An accident claim solicitor will help you collect the evidence you need. As intimidating as paperwork and case compilation can be, it becomes easy with Smith Jones fighting your corner. These are the types of evidence you will need:
1) Clear photographs of all injuries incurred
2) Prescriptions, doctors notes and receipts for all your injuries and the expenses you have incurred in respect of medical treatment
3) Receipts for all additional costs that you have incurred because of your accident, for example, payments for additional childcare, the cost of taxis to medical appointments or cancellation fees for a holiday
4) A letter from your employer stating how much time you have had to take off work due to any suffering you have sustained and the amount of income you have lost
5) A personal diary which outlines any further information not been covered by receipts. This can include information such as any period of time in hospital or rehabilitation clinics, details about your suffering and pain and information about any difficulties you face in your everyday life.
Smith Jones can help every step of the way to maximise your claim.
Car Crash Claims
What If The Car Accident Was Partly My Fault?
It is possible to claim compensation for a car accident even if you were partly at fault for it. This is known as split liability.
The claims adjuster for your case will decide who is liable for the damage and to what extent. They may decide that one party is entirely liable, that blame can be apportioned equally (50/50), or something in between. They base their decision on the police report and the evidence that each party presents. If it’s unclear who is to blame, they may ask each party questions about the accident to build a clearer narrative.
Each car accident claim is different to the last, so split liability agreements are common. However, insurance adjusters often encourage claimants to accept split liability when they were clearly not at fault.
This is one of the many reasons why having a car accident claims solicitor on your side is so crucial. Our advice is impartial, and our goal is to ensure that you receive the maximum claim pay-out that you are entitled to. You can contact us today to ask about a split liability arrangement you have been offered—or to ask any other question you might have.
How to Claim Compensation for a Car Accident
We will begin the process by notifying the Defendant of the claim. As injuries resulting from road traffic accidents can vary from minor soft tissue injuries and fractures to more serious spinal and brain injuries, the process will differ between claims.
Claims that are valued under £25,000 will be made in the Portal. The Portal is an online claims system, set up by the Government to manage claims efficiently and quickly. A claim notification form, which will include details of your injury and the circumstances of your accident, will be sent to the Defendant or their insurer.
Road traffic accident claims exceeding £25,000 will be made in a paper-based system but will follow a similar path.
The Defendant’s Response
Upon notification of the claim, the Defendant must acknowledge receipt and provide a response to the claim thereafter. In their response, the Defendant may:
- Admit liability for the claim in full.
- Admit liability subject to causation.
- Allege contributory negligence.
- Deny liability in full for the claim.
Liability & Settlement
If liability is admitted:
The claim will need to be substantiated. We will instruct a medical expert to produce a report on the injuries you have suffered following your accident. The expert will give their prognosis, which will help identify the effect the accident has had on you and estimate how long it has taken or will take for you to recover. The expert may also recommend further treatment such as physiotherapy.
Once you have approved the contents of the report, it will be used to help calculate an award of general damages for the injuries you have suffered. It will also help calculate some of your financial losses, including loss of earnings and future medical treatment. We will then value your claim and discuss what amount you would be willing to accept in settlement.
Once we have your instructions, our team will attempt to settle your claim with the Defendant by negotiation. There may be a number of offers made by each party before a settlement is reached. If the two parties are unable to reach a settlement, the claim will need to be issued at court, where a judge will determine what you will recover in damages.
If liability is denied:
The Defendant must explain why liability is denied and provide documents in support of their denial. We will then review the Defendant’s decision and consider what options are available to you, including the possibility of split liability.
It is likely that further corroborative evidence will be needed in support of the claim. This may include obtaining witness statements from persons who were present at the time of your accident or who can comment on the circumstances surrounding the claim.
The Defendant will then be asked to reconsider their decision on liability. If they maintain their denial, the claim will have to be issued and may reach Court.
Proceedings must be issued within 3 years from the date of the accident, unless the claim is being brought on behalf of a child, in which case, the Claimant has until 3 years after their 18th birthday.
How Long Does a Road Accident Claim Take?
Every road traffic accident claim is different to the last, so the amount of time that a claim takes can vary. Six to nine months is typical. However, this can be shorter or longer depending on whether:
- Your claim is a complex one that involves serious and/or long-lasting injury
- The Defendant admits liability early in the claims process
- The claims adjuster completes their investigation and files their paperwork quickly
- Liability is contested and the claim is settled in court
Once a settlement has been reached, you will normally receive your compensation within 2 months. In the case of children, any compensation will not be payable until the child has reached the age of 18. This compensation will be held by the Court or, depending on the level of compensation, be transferred directly into their Child Trust Fund Accounts.
If you would like to know more about the car accident claims process, you can call our free accident advice helpline on 0800 195 9590 and our team will be happy to answer any questions regarding your road traffic accident.
What Can You Claim For After a Car Accident?
The law on accidents is clear: if you are subjected to injury in an accident that is not your fault, you are legally entitled to restitution. In other words, the other party must undo the damage they did. This means that your claim amount depends on the amount of damage caused.
Some damages are simpler to understand and calculate than others, like the cost of medical treatment or a vehicle write-off. But these aren’t the only damages you can claim for, or even necessarily the most valuable.
Vehicle Damage Claim
Vehicle damage is straightforward to calculate. An estimate of the cost of damage is obtained through two or more independent quotes. If the Defendant is found liable, they are required to pay that cost.
However, there are several issues you may encounter when claiming for vehicle damages after a road traffic accident:
- The Defendant refuses liability. They may contest the damages by saying that you were partially or fully at fault.
- The insurance company insists that only an approved body shop can quote for and perform repairs.
- You have to pay an excess. Unless the other party is entirely liable, you will likely still have to pay your normal insurance excess.
- You have to write off your car.
If your car is written off, the insurance company should offer market value for its pre-accident condition. This valuation may be lower than you expect.
Personal Injury, Pain and Suffering
In the context of car accident compensation, personal injury is defined as physical injury, disease, or mental harm caused by an accident. If you can prove that your personal injury stems directly from the accident, you can claim damages for it. How long after the accident this injury becomes evident is irrelevant if it can be proven to be related.
The amount you can claim for your personal injury depends on several factors:
- The cost of medical treatment that you receive. Some injuries require expensive treatment or necessitate long-term costs like physical rehabilitation.
- Whether you have incurred a long-term, or even permanent, disability.
- The extent to which your life is disrupted by the injury.
In short, personal injury damages after a car accident depend on both treatment costs and intangible costs, which are determined by case law. But even the most severe of injuries will incur no damages if they cannot be linked to an accident with evidence. To claim for personal injury, you will need medical evidence such as notes from your GP, hospital admission notes, and specialist consultant reports.
Claiming damages for personal injury can mean that your case takes longer to settle. You may have to undergo periodical assessments to prove that the injury is severe or long-lasting. That said, some insurance companies are prepared to make periodical payments in respect of ongoing medical conditions.
Loss of Earnings & Future Loss of Earnings
If you had to take time off after your accident you can claim damages for loss of earnings. This applies whether it was the injury or the loss of your vehicle that left you unable to work.
Your claim amount depends on how much net income, not gross income, you would have earned. This will be calculated based on pay slips from the three months before your accident. If you are self-employed, the same calculations will be made based on your accounts and tax returns.
It is also possible to claim damages for future loss of earnings. This is applicable if your accident caused serious injury or disability that keeps you out of work. These damages will be calculated based on your previous wage/salary and likely career progression until retirement, and can be significant.
Nursing Care and Assistance Costs
You can also claim for nursing and care costs incurred because of your accident. There are several reasons you may require paid or unpaid assistance after personal injury:
- You need help for personal care
- You need help for cleaning or cooking
- You need help to care for your children or family
If you required paid-for professional help, like from a registered nurse or childminder, these costs can be reclaimed. You can also claim for unpaid help from a partner or family member, although these costs are more difficult to calculate.
As is the case with future loss of earnings, it is also possible to claim for future care costs.
Other Expenses to Claim After a Car Accident
Aside from the above, there are many other kinds of damages you can claim, if applicable. You are entitled to restitution for any costs incurred because of your accident, and that includes smaller costs like parking fees. Potential specific damages include:
- Travel expenses, e.g. for bus tickets or taxi fares
- The cost of the fuel in your car’s tank at the time of the accident
- Replacement of personal belongings damaged in the accident, from smartphones to car seats and sunglasses
- Cancellation fees for holidays you had to cancel
These smaller costs may be the furthest thing from your mind as you recover from your accident, and seek compensation for serious injury. This is another reason why having a car accident claims solicitor on your side is so crucial, as we can take care of the details while you focus on getting better.
Claims Against Uninsured Drivers
It is possible to make a car accident claim even if the other driver is uninsured. However, the process to do so is different to a normal claim.
Every motorist in the UK must have an adequate insurance policy before being permitted to use their vehicle on the road. This law guarantees that, should they cause a road traffic accident, they can compensate the victim for their damages. Unfortunately, the law isn’t enough to stop millions of people driving without insurance anyway.
The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) provides a route to compensation for those injured in a road accident involving an uninsured driver. The MIB considers claims for vehicle damage, property damage and personal injury where those costs cannot be claimed from the other party.
As in a normal car accident compensation claim, our solicitors can shoulder the burden of compiling information and evidence for you. We can also fund the cost of your claim, including the required medical report, until your uninsured driver’s compensation has been received.
As with most claims for personal injury, your claim to the MIB must be made within three years from the date of the accident. We recommend you start your uninsured driver claim as soon as possible to avoid details being lost or forgotten and to ensure your claim is concluded as efficiently as possible.
We can work on a no win no fee* basis, which means there is no risk to you in pursuing a claim whether against an uninsured driver or otherwise.
*Terms and conditions apply.
Untraced Driver Claims
It is possible to make a compensation claim after a hit and run accident, although doing so can be difficult.
Like uninsured driver claims, untraced driver claims are made through the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). As your instructed solicitors, we will first make enquiry as to whether the other party or parties to the accident are genuinely untraceable. If so, we can then submit the claim to the MIB on your behalf. The MIB will investigate your claim upon receipt.
Our role as your specialist car accident compensation solicitors would be to:
- Advise you on the likely outcome of your claim during our initial consultation. If you were in an accident with an untraced driver, it can be difficult to establish liability. It may also take longer to settle your claim. We will advise you on whether your claim is worth pursuing.
- Ensure that all the required evidence is submitted. It can be difficult to keep track of all the evidence and paperwork required to make a claim if you claim without a solicitor. We track everything for you, and only involve you when necessary, so that you can focus on recovering.
- Maximise your claim. There are many things which you can claim for that you may not be aware of: your belongings such as glasses and smartphones, car hire fees and bus tickets, and things like nursing care. We use our experience to identify what you’re entitled to claim for and then help you to claim it.
Again, hit and run compensation claims made to the MIB must be made within three years from the date of the accident. Contact us today to avoid missing out.
Public Transport & Taxi Accident Claims
All public transport companies owe a duty of care to keep their customers safe. As such, if you’re in a taxi accident or a bus accident, you may be able to claim compensation.
Unfortunately, public transport compensation claims can be complex—particularly if there are several parties involved. Laws such as the Health & Safety at Work Act of 1974 apply, which makes claiming more difficult. Consequently, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim, then it is imperative that you get the right advice as soon as possible.
Our highly experienced road traffic accident team are accredited by The Law Society and have advised thousands of clients in relation to car accident claims and taxi claims. If you’ve been a passenger in a taxi or public transport accident, then call us on our Freephone helpline 0800 195 95 90 for a no-obligation appraisal of your accident claim.
Car Accident Claims Resources
Dealing With Motor Insurance Companies
The insurance company you submit your compensation claim to is not your friend.
- They will seek in all instances to deny or limit the liability of the Defendant, even in cases where they are obviously to blame.
- They may downplay your injuries, either by saying that you didn’t seek medical treatment quickly enough, or that the medical treatment you received was unnecessary.
- They may offer you an early settlement offer significantly lower than your legal entitlement, particularly if you make your claim without legal representation.
This kind of bureaucratic headache is the last thing you need as you recover from a serious shock or injury. Our legal team have handled thousands of cases just like yours and are thoroughly familiar with the tactics that car insurance companies use to deny liability. We can communicate with the insurance company on you behalf, only involving you when necessary, and providing you with expert legal advice when we do.
Why Choose Smith Jones?
Since 1988, at Smith Jones Solicitors we have earned ourselves an excellent reputation amongst clients and other law firms for getting results, even in more complex cases that other practices may reject early on. We have a proven track record of issuing court proceedings effectively, maximising personal injury compensation claims and taking on a high volume of difficult and “risky” cases. These cases are often passed to us by other firms, and we almost always go on to successfully complete these cases for the claimant.
We also pride ourselves on our client care. We can assist your recovery by liaising with the medical expert helping with your claim, arranging physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Since the cost of this can be included in your claim—and since we can work on a no win, no fee basis—you can rest assured that there will be no upfront cost or financial risk to you.
Hiring a solicitor should be your first step, not your last step, in making a compensation claim. We can:
- Maximise your claim by accurately assessing your damages
- Take on the burden of chasing each stage of your claim
- Advise you on whether the insurance company is trying to under-settle your case
Our legal team specialise in personal injury, and we are accredited by the Law Society. So, if you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault within the last three years, book a callback through our Free Consultation form. Or, if you would prefer, call us directly on our Freephone helpline 0800 195 95 90 for a no-obligation appraisal of your accident claim.