Making a claim for compensation due to a road accident

Accidents on roads throughout the United Kingdom happen on a daily basis. If you have been involved in an accident on the roads which is not your fault then you may be able to claim for compensation for that injury.

Who can make a claim for personal injury caused by a road accident?  

Anyone injured on the road can make a claim for personal injury compensation. Typically the injury will have been caused by either:      

  • other road users, or           
  • the condition of the road

Other road users

All people who are using the road have a responsibility to exercise care and consideration for all other road users whilst driving. Furthermore all road users are required to obey all laws of the road and the Highway Code.

A failure of another road user to do this may amount to a breach of that duty of care which has caused your injury. Accordingly you would have a civil claim against that person framed in the tort of negligence. If you have suffered an injury due to another’s negligence then you will be entitled to make a personal injury claim.

Negligence on the road however, is not just caused by drivers it can also be caused by cyclists, motorcyclist or pedestrians.

The condition of the road

In some cases personal injury will not be caused by the negligence of another road user but will be caused by the condition of the road in which you are using.

Accordingly all local highway agencies (a body of all local authorities) have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 which has been amended by the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 to keep the roads in a good condition and state of repair.

Often when the conditions are extremely poor this duty is extended, for example in very icy or snowy conditions the duty is extended to grit certain roads to make them safer.

If this duty is not carried it is often possible to claim compensation for a personal injury suffered.

What steps should I follow when making a claim for a personal injury suffered as a consequence of a road accident?

You should undertake the following steps when making a claim:

  • Report the accident

  • Keep a full record of the details

  • Seek requisite legal advice  

Reporting the Accident

When a road accident occurs, especially in the case where an individual suffers a personal injury it is a legal requirement that the police are informed as soon as is reasonably practicable. The Police will then file a full report on the incident.

This police report could become extremely important in any legal proceedings as it will be relied on by the court as evidence of the circumstances of the incident.

Keeping a record of the details  

  • It is also an important factor in pursuing a compensation claim to record as much detail as possible. This may include the details of the other party.

  • There may have been witnesses to the incident. If this is the case it is good practice to keep a record of the details of all witnesses.

  • If it is possible you may wish to take photographs of the incident and the personal injury.

  • The more details which you have in relation to a particular incident, the more likely you will be successful in proving a claim for compensation.

Seeking Legal Advice  

You should always try and seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Many solicitors who operate in this area will operate under a no win no fee agreement with you meaning that you will only have to pay your solicitors fees if you are successful in your compensation claim.

A solicitor will be necessary as you case is likely to require analysis of the following requirements:

  • Expert medical evidence

  • The establishment of a duty of care owed to you by the person you are making the claim against

  • To show that the duty of care was breached

  • To show that the injury was sustained as a reasonably foreseeable consequence of that breach

Compensation  

There are two elements in relation to a compensation award. They are as follows:

  1. General damages

  2. Special damages

General Damages  

General damages will be awarded for the pain and suffering which you may have gone through following your injury and also for loss of amenity.

Special Damages 

Special damages are awarded for your loss and expenses.

The aim of special damages is to put an individual back in the position financially as if the accident had never occurred.

Serious Injury  

In cases involving a serious injury whereby a person may no longer be able to undertake their employment – this factor will be taken into account in assessing compensation. Costs for care, equipment, transport and housing modifications can also be taken into account when calculating compensation.

Loss of congenial employment

If a person cannot carry on their previous role particularly in relation to public sector roles such as in the medical profession or the police an extra amount of compensation may be awarded for loss of congenial employment.