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Claiming car accident compensation

A car accident can involve any other type of road user in just about any situation you can imagine. Most are caused by driver error, excessive speed, distraction, recklessness, loss of control or intoxication. Bad weather or poor road surfaces can also cause car accidents. 

Then there are collisions with fixed objects. These include things like kerbs, gates, walls, property, signs, barriers, railings, lighting and potholes - as well as wild animals and livestock. Collisions of these types often involve only one vehicle.

Serious injury is commonplace. More than 25,000 drivers, passengers, motorbikers, cyclists, pedestrians and other road users were seriously hurt in road accidents in 2018. That's equivalent to 69 a day. 

If you were hurt in a car accident in the last three years that was someone else's fault, then get in touch as we may be able to help you start a car accident personal injury claim.

Personal injury claims car accident compensation can help you get back to where you were before you were injured. It could be to help you cover lost income, treatment costs, care or even providing funds for necessary alterations to your home or car.

We can let you know if you may be eligible to make a car accident claim. Contact us on today for free, impartial advice about your options.

Our video will guide you through the steps to follow after a car accident.Find out what to do after a car accident

What do I do after a car accident?

Our video will guide you through the steps to follow after a car accident.
Find out what to do after a car accident

What's involved in a car accident injury claim?

The first step is to contact us to find out if you may be eligible to make a road accident claim. Typically, we're able to tell you in one call whether we can help.

If you've got grounds to make a car accident claim and you decide you'd like to go ahead, we can then pair you with a specialist solicitor. We can usually do this on the same call. The solicitor will give you a free consultation and assess how they may be able to help you.

Then they'll double-check you want to go ahead and will talk you through the no win no fee agreement with you.

If you're happy to go ahead and claim, your car accident lawyer will contact the other side. This is the person or organisation you believe is responsible for your car accident injury. They'll contact them on your behalf and let them know that you'll be making a claim for your injuries and any losses.

During your claim, your solicitor will be your point of contact. It's their job to keep you up-to-date throughout your claim. They'll also be happy to answer any questions you may have as your claim progresses.

Amelia was travelling in the passenger seat of a car when it was hit by another car on a roundabout. After reading our customer reviews, she called us and we helped her to make it right.

Customer stories: Amelia

Amelia was travelling in the passenger seat of a car when it was hit by another car on a roundabout. After reading our customer reviews, she called us and we helped her to make it right.

What is a no win no fee car accident claim?

If you were hurt in a car accident that was someone else's fault, you will likely be eligible to make a no win no fee claim. You may also be able to claim if the accident was partially your fault too. 

The car accident solicitors we pair you with will check the circumstances with you. If they decide they can handle your claim, it's almost always on no win no fee terms. On the very rare occasions no win no fee terms aren't applicable, they'll explain your options so you can make an informed decision about what to do next.

A no win no fee arrangement is the contract between you and the personal injury lawyer we appoint for you.

  • There are no upfront costs and no hidden charges.
  • If you don't win your claim, you pay nothing to anyone.
  • Your lawyer may need to arrange insurance for you to ensure claiming is risk free.
  • You'll never be left out of pocket - that's our guarantee.

For independent advice about no win no fee car accident claims, call us on , arrange a call-back or start your claim online.

Did you know?

More than 160,000 people were injured in road traffic accidents during 2018.

That's an average of nearly 440 every day. 

Of those, 25,000 were seriously hurt.

Source: Department for Transport

What happens with serious or life-changing car accident injuries?

If you've suffered a serious injury because of a car accident, we can help make it right. We've helped many thousands of injury victims through difficult times by getting them the compensation, rehabilitation and support they deserve.

Making a road accident claim can seem like an added stress at a time when you're focusing on recovery. That's why we only work with specialist solicitors who will be there for you from start to finish.

Your car crash claim can help you plan for your future, especially if your injury is likely to cause long-term changes to your life. For example, it can help to cover your mortgage or rent, lost earnings, treatment, care or travel costs.

Visit our serious injuries page for more information on how we can help you.

Every car accident injury claim is different. The really important part of our job is being able to listen and quickly grasp the unique situation each customer is facing.

Most people rarely come into contact with the legal system, so when they do, it can feel like a confusing place to be. It's rewarding to be able to put them at ease and give them the impartial advice they need.

Zebastian Darroch

National Accident Helpline legal support advisor

Who can make a road accident claim?

Don't worry if you weren't in a car when your accident happened. Car accidents often involve pedestrianscyclists and motorcyclists. You could also make a claim if you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, or as a passenger in a bus or taxi.

If your child or a child you're responsible for was injured in a car accident, we can help you make a claim on their behalf. The process is slightly different but we can talk this through with you and help you take the next steps.

If you're not ready to make a claim and would just like some sound advice, you can contact us now on .

Why should I discuss my car accident claim with you?

We're the UK's largest and most trusted provider of accident advice. With over 25 years' experience counselling people hurt through someone else's negligence, we understand what you're going through. In that time, our friendly, legally-trained advisors have lent a helping hand to over two million people.

We've developed a nationwide network of specialist personal accident lawyers who can help with your car crash claim. Wherever you are, we have someone who can help you. Our no win no fee guarantee means no upfront costs, no hidden charges, and you don't pay a thing if your claim fails. Call us free on to find out more.

Jack was sat in traffic when he was hit by the vehicle behind him.

I had pain in my back and in the days afterwards, I developed pain in my neck. I couldn't walk properly and I was off work for a week.

I called National Accident Helpline and the person I spoke to was extremely helpful. I was still quite shaken up and didn't really want to talk about the incident, but they talked through it with me and gave advice on how they could help.

Jack Furzer, 26, from Basingstoke

More customer stories

We've helped more people injured in accidents than any other business of our kind. You may be wondering how we can help - or whether your accident may be covered by a no win no fee agreement with a solicitor. The best way to be sure is to contact us on for a free, independent and impartial chat.

It's likely we can help you if you've been injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault. Our solicitors can help with all types of road traffic accident, whether you were the driver, passenger, rider, pillion, cyclist or pedestrian involved.

How much compensation might I receive?

There are two types of compensation involved a car accident claim. Compensation is also called ‘damages'.

  • General damages compensate you for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Loss of amenity is the impact the injuries have had on your life and your ability to do everyday things.
  • Special damages reimburse you for any financial losses you may have incurred as a direct result of your accident. 

The amount you could be awarded depends on your injury, its severity and the effect on your life. When you claim through us, we match you with a solicitor with the right experience for your circumstances. They'll carefully build your claim to make sure you are fully compensated.

General damages are all about the injury and special damages cover a wide range of financial losses. Your solicitor will explain them to you in detail, but they include things like:

  • Time off work and any lost earnings.
  • Any loss to your future income and/or ability to work.
  • Psychological after effects.
  • Any personal help or care you've had, even if it was (or still is) given voluntarily by family and/or friends.
  • Any changes you've had (or may need) to your car or home.
  • Any medical care costs or travel and accommodation expenses incurred while getting treatment.
  • Any rehabilitation programmes as prescribed by a medical professional.
  • Any daily extra expenses you've incurred as a result of the accident.

We have more than years_since years' know-how in achieving positive injury claim outcomes for our customers.  

Why not try our compensation calculator? It'll give you a rough indication of what to expect if you don't feel ready to contact us yet.

The Judicial College, part of the Ministry of Justice, sets the compensation ranges for different types of car accident injury, from minor to very severe. We've listed some common car accident claim injuries below. The values are from the 15th and latest edition. Your solicitor will discuss the appropriate compensation levels with you as they build your claim.

InjuryCompensation range
Whiplash£240 - £4,345 (with recovery in 1-2 years)
Minor brain or head injury£2,070 - £11,980
Fractured Cheekbone£2,180 - £9,570
Serious shoulder injury£11,980 - £18,020 (with recovery over 2 years)
Back injury causing permanent symptoms£11,730 - £26,050 (with recovery over 2 years)
Hip or pelvis injury£3,710 - £24,950
Fractured forearm£6,190 - £18,020
Wrist injury£3,310 - £44,690
Ankle injury£12,900 - £46,980

How are car accident injuries classified?

Most police constabularies in the UK now classify road traffic accident injuries into five categories. One is for fatalities and the other four are:

  • Slight - for whiplash to the neck, shock, bruising, soft tissue sprains and strains plus minor cuts or abrasions. From 31st May 2021 these types of personal injuries will be classified as small claims
  • Less Serious - covering things like minor head injuries; deep cuts; fractures to the hand, arm, collarbone, foot, ankle or lower leg.
  • Moderately Serious - includes fractures to the thigh or pelvis, chest injuries and deeply penetrating wounds.
  • Very Serious - covering broken neck or spine, severe head, chest or crush injury with lost consciousness or breathing difficulty. Also all internal injuries and multiple severe injuries with unconsciousness.

Car accident injuries can leave long-lasting physical and psychological scars. Whether minor shunt or major incident, we'll help take the stress out of making a car crash claim.

How is a car accident claim processed?

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a car crash claim? Here, we explain how they work.

Car accident claims valued up to £25,000

From 31st May 2021 Personal injury claims valued over £5,000 up to and including  £25,000, are called fast track or single track claims.  Claims with general damages for pain and suffering below £5,000 will be classed as a ‘small claim'. No win no fee terms will still be available for small claims.   

Your solicitor will file these types of car accident claims for personal injury through an internet system called the Claims Portal. This system is overseen by the Ministry of Justice. It's there to deal efficiently with all claims for injuries like whiplash, cuts and minor fractures or breaks.

  • If the other side admits liability, your claim continues through the portal until it's resolved. 
  • This is where your solicitor negotiates with the other side until both agree an acceptable compensation figure.
  • You then get paid your compensation. 
  • Your solicitor is paid an agreed and capped proportion of your compensation as payment for winning. We guarantee that we'll never deduct more than 35% of your compensation if you claim succeeds - regardless of the complexity of your claim. 

If the other side disputes liability, denies it or negotiations break down, your car accident claim drops out of the portal. 

  • Your solicitor will then begin court proceedings against the other side. 
  • This follows a fixed procedure with all timings set by the court. 
  • Negotiations will continue while this is happening. The vast majority of car accident claims are still settled before a court hearing is needed.
  • If a court hearing is needed, it usually lasts one day and a judge will decide the outcome.
  • You may need to attend the hearing, but your solicitor will advise you and take care of everything.
  • If your claim succeeds at the hearing, you are awarded compensation from which your solicitor is paid.
  • If your claim fails, that's the end of it and you pay nothing.
  • There is a system of appeal for car accident claims but only for those involving the Motor Insurers Bureau. This organisation handles claims involving uninsured and untraceable drivers or hit and run injury. 

Car accident claims valued above £25,000

A car accident injury claim valued at more than £25,000 is classed as complex and is called a ‘multi-track' claim.

  • This is usually because it involves injuries that are serious, life-changing or worse. The car accident may also have occurred under very complicated circumstances that require thorough examination. 
  • These claims are always handled outside of the Claims Portal but still involve negotiation with the other side's insurers.
  • Complex multi-track claims almost always take longer to settle than simpler single-track ones.
  • Your solicitor will let you know at the beginning of your claim if it is a complex, multi-track case.

Whether it's a common car accident injury like neck whiplash or something that puts you on a longer road to recovery, car crashes can turn lives upside down in the blink of an eye. Not just physically but also financially, with headaches like lost earnings.

That's why it's critical that we take the best care of our customers right when they need it most. Car accident injury claims can be complicated and it's down to us to make the process compassionate, clear and hassle-free.

Natalie Maxwell

Litigation Manager at National Accident Law

Will I have to go to court?

Possibly, but the chances are slim. Only about five per cent of our claims end up in front of a judge at a court hearing. Even when your solicitor begins legal proceedings against the other side should they dispute or deny liability, negotiations often succeed before the court date arrives.

If your car crash claim does go before a judge at a court hearing, you may not always need to be present. No two claims are the same. Your solicitor will advise you about what happens based on the circumstances of your car accident claim.

Will I need a medical exam?

Yes,  an independent medical opinion about your injuries is really important evidence that your solicitor will use to build your case. It's  mandatory when handling difficult-to-gauge car accident injuries like whiplash. 

Your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you with a government-approved agency that's usually local to you. The assessment can take up to an hour, depending on the nature of your injury. 

The medical professional will review your treatment notes. While it's not a physical examination, they will usually ask you to make certain movements so they can judge injury impact.

Dr Hilary Jones

Road traffic accidents can be physically devastating for the victims and their families alike. I've treated many patients in recovery and you can never underestimate the wider impacts of a crash.

It's not just about the physical trauma, which is enough on its own and life-changing for thousands of people every year. It's also about managing the psychological effects. Bouncing back mentally from the sudden shock of a car accident takes time and care.

Dr Hilary Jones

Medical broadcaster and GP

Can I make a claim if I caused the car accident?

If you were totally to blame for the car accident in which you were injured, then normally you can't claim for injury. However, if your car hit another vehicle but this was due to the poorly-maintained condition of the road, for example, you may be able to make a claim. 

You can still make a claim even if you were partly to blame for the car accident. This is called split liability. Let's work through an example:

  • In a car accident injury claim for £10,000, blame may be agreed and shared evenly between you and the other side. That's a ratio of 50:50.
  • That means that if the claim were to succeed, the compensation payment before solicitor's deductions would be £5,000.
  • Split liability ratios may be agreed at 60:40, 70:30, 80:20 and so on - either in favour of you or the other side.
  • Your car accident solicitor will explain everything to you if split liability is involved.

The other side's insurer has made me an early offer: what should I do?

Be cautious and accept nothing until you have taken independent legal advice. Insurance companies will often make an early offer to settle a car accident claim quickly and at least cost. As a result, the claim may be undervalued.

Talk to one of our legally-trained advisors. Contact us on , online, or request a call-back.  

How long does a car accident claim take?

No two car accident claims are the same. It depends on the severity of your injury and the complexity of the circumstances. Claims usually settle quicker when the other side accepts liability. They typically take longer if the other side denies or disputes liability. This can also occur if negotiations with the other side break down and your solicitor begins court proceedings.

The simplest claim where the other side admits liability immediately could settle in three months or thereabouts - but even this is rare. If your solicitor needs to start legal proceedings, it usually takes at least nine months for the court system to set a date.There are lots of variables. Your car accident solicitors will be able to give you a rough idea of how long your claim may take once they've built your case and begun negotiating with the other side.

Were your car accident injuries caused by another motorist?

To qualify for a car accident claim, your injuries must have been caused by another motorist or by road conditions. Put simply, somebody else must be at fault or partially at fault for your accident.

If your car accident was caused by another road user or motorist, then your compensation will be paid by their insurance. It won't be paid by them personally.

If you were injured by an untraceable or uninsured driver or involved in a hit and run, then we may still be able to help you. In these cases, car accident claims are paid by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

What if my car accident was caused by poor road conditions?

A car accident can happen because of road conditions or other environmental factors that are out of your control.

Someone is responsible for every stretch of road and pavement in the country. If your car accident injuries were caused by potholes or cracks in the road surface, then you can make a car crash claim against Highways England or the local council. It's their job to make sure the roads and pavements you use are kept in good condition. If it's not safe to use, then you may be able to claim.

Whatever the cause, if you've been in a car accident in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, we can help. Call us on for free, impartial advice.

What happens if my car accident was caused by an animal?

Hitting an animal is always upsetting. If it was a pet or livestock and you can establish the owner or farmer's negligence caused the accident, you can make a car accident injury claim.

If it was a wild animal, nobody is responsible, so you won't be able to make a road accident claim

Remember, if you hit the following animals, the law says you must report the incident to the police. Not reporting it is a criminal offence:

  • Dog
  • Donkey or mule
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Pig
  • Sheep
  • A cow or cattle.