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A Guide To Car Accident Personal Injury Claims – What Are My Rights After A Car Accident?

By Mark Ainsdale. Last Updated 16th April 2021. Welcome to our guide about legal rights after a car accident. If you have been involved in a car accident, whether you were totally at fault, partly at fault or it was completely the fault of someone else, you may be wondering about what rights you have. This guide attempts to answer the question ‘What are my rights after a car accident?’, providing guidance and advice as to whether you could be eligible to claim compensation and how to go about doing so.

Included in the sections below is legal advice about what to do after a car accident in the UK, how and when to make a car accident report, and how you could find out whether you could be eligible for compensation. If you require clarification on anything contained within the sections below, or you’d like to start a personal injury claim, please do not hesitate to contact Legal Expert on 0800 073 8804. Before you call, however, you may wish to check through the sections below to see if we’ve already covered your questions about the claims process within this guide.

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A Guide To Your Rights After A Car Accident

Car accident

Legal Rights After A Car Accident

If you are involved in an accident on the road and you’ve suffered an injury, you may be wondering ‘What are my rights after a car accident?’. Whether you’ve been injured as a passenger, a driver or a pedestrian, or any other road user, if someone else caused the accident, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

In the sections that follow, Legal Expert provides detailed guidance on your rights after a no-fault accident, as well as how you could still claim compensation if you were partly to blame for an accident.

Also included in the sections below is information concerning reporting a road crash accident, as well as what information you should be able to get from a road accident report, and who could be liable for your road accident. As well as this, you could also find out approximately how much compensation could be appropriate for your injuries, as well as how you could make a personal injury claim without having to pay for a personal injury solicitor before your compensation payout comes through. Read on to find out about legal rights after a car accident.

What Is A Car Accident Or Crash?

A car accident or car crash could cause injuries to drivers, passengers and pedestrians, as well as motorcyclists, cyclists and other road users. According to road accident statistics provided by the government, 1784 people were killed in 2018 on Great Britain’s roads. As well as this, there were a further 25,511 people seriously injured, with a further 133,302 people who suffered minor injuries.

Car accidents and crashes could happen in a number of different ways and could cause a number of different injuries. Injuries could be caused by incidents such as:

  • A driver dangerously overtaking another vehicle
  • A read end shunt
  • A driver operating a vehicle at excessive speeds, giving no time to stop for hazards or perform manoeuvres safely
  • A failure of a driver to correctly read road signs
  • A failure to use a roundabout correctly
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or drink
  • Driving whilst using a mobile phone
  • Lack of care and attention due to other distractions

A range of injuries could be suffered by those involved in road traffic accidents, from minor injuries such as sprains and strains, like whiplash, to serious, life-altering injuries, and in extreme cases, fatal injuries. However you have been injured in a car accident, if it was not your fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation. Car accident compensation could include damages for the injuries you’ve suffered and the pain that you have borne through your injuries, as well as compensation for financial losses or costs that have arisen because of your accident.

I Was Injured In A Car Accident That Was My Fault – What Happens?

UK drivers that cause their own accidents would usually only be able to make a claim on their insurance for their accidents, and their premiums may be affected as a result. However, if you are only partly at fault for the accident, and someone else was also at fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries, although the amount of compensation you could receive could usually be lowered to reflect your involvement.

What Should I Do After A Car Accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident, the severity of your injuries would likely dictate what to do after a car accident in the UK. If you are seriously injured, it would be unlikely that you’d be able to do anything immediately other than receive medical attention at the scene. However, you may be with people who could help you take some of the following actions. If you are involved in a minor car accident with no damage to yourself or others, you could take some or all of the following actions yourself.

  • Stop your vehicle – it could be considered a criminal offence not to stop at the scene of an accident
  • Turn on your hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic, and switch off the car engine.
  • Check for injuries to you, and other passengers. If you are badly injured, someone else may be able to call the emergency services but if you are not badly injured you could do this yourself.
  • Call the appropriate police number (999 for emergencies, 101 for non-emergencies)
  • Give your contact details/insurance details to those that require them, and get passenger, witness and other driver’s details where appropriate.
  • Take photos of the scene if you are able.
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Write a car accident report for yourself (this could serve as a record that you can refer back to if you are asked any questions about the accident that you cannot remember the answers to).

Some common questions about your legal rights after a car accident that was not your fault could include:

Someone hit my car – whose insurance do I call? – If your car was hit by another driver, you may be wondering whether you should call your insurance company or the other person’s. We would advise you to contact your own insurance company as well as that of the other driver. Some drivers may be reluctant to admit they were involved in an accident to their own insurance company, so it would be wise to cover all bases. You may be worried about contacting your own insurance company to report an accident in case your premiums increase, but it would be wise to let them know of any accidents so they could investigate from their end. If the accident was proven not to be your fault, then your insurance premiums should not be affected by the accident.

Should I tell my insurance company about a minor accident? – you may be confused about what to do after a car accident in the UK that is only minor. We would advise you to contact the insurer to tell them about the accident, as you may not experience symptoms of an injury right away, and not reporting the accident could hamper your chances of receiving compensation that you could be eligible for.

How long do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company in the UK? – if you are in a car accident and no details were exchanged between you and the other driver, you should report the accident to the police within 24 hours. Reporting to your insurer, however, would depend on your policy. While it would be wise to report an accident right away, there may be a ‘reasonable time’ indicated within your policy for you to report the accident within.

Your Rights To Information About The Other Driver And Vehicle

If you’re wondering about your rights after a no fault accident with regards to obtaining information on the other driver and the other vehicle, the information below may be of interest.

If you believe that someone else is responsible for your accident, then you have a right to ask for their details. You may also wish to collect witness details, passenger information and details of the vehicle’s owner if the driver of the vehicle did not own the vehicle. If someone attempts to leave the scene after they have caused an accident, you may wish to call 999 right away to report this.

Your Rights To Information If Injured In The Car Accident

If you are injured in a car accident and cannot ask for details right away, you may worry about whether you could request this information later on. You do have the right to do so. Failure of the other person to provide such details without giving a reasonable excuse – such as if they were injured in the accident – could mean they are committing an offence.

Further Important Information To Collect After A Car Accident

As well as collecting insurance details of the other driver at the scene of an accident, and you’re considering your legal rights after a car accident, you may wish to consider noting down:

  • The exact date and time of the accident
  • Registration numbers of all vehicles involved, as well as those of witnesses. It could be useful to note down the make, the model and the colour of the vehicles too. If a commercial vehicle is involved, it may be a good idea to note down the company name and contact details.
  • Details of the weather, light, and road conditions – It could be a good idea to note details such as this down in order so that other causes for a car accident could be considered or ruled out. For example, an accident may have been caused by a pothole.
  • A diagram of where the cars were positioned during the crash – this could aid with working out who could be at fault for an accident.
  • A list of the injuries suffered and any damage to surrounding objects as well as the vehicles involved.

While it may not be possible to write all of this information down at the time, you may be able to take photographs with a mobile phone or camera.

Your Legal Right To Make A Claim

While you could have legal rights if you are injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault to claim compensation, you would not usually be entitled to legal aid. You must also claim before the personal injury time limit is up. This is usually 3 years from the date the accident occurred but there could be some exceptions to this. You could make a claim by yourself by writing a letter to the insurer involved, but you could also use the services of a solicitor to claim for compensation, and we believe there could be benefits to doing so.

A solicitor with experience in handling this type of claim could not only help build a strong case for compensation, they could also help to access evidence such as CCTV. They can also advise on any offer or compensation you could receive for your injuries to see if it could be appropriate for the extent of injuries sustained, or whether it could be a good idea to fight for more. In the relatively unlikely event that your case was not settled before it went to court, your solicitor could also help represent you in court.

Your Obligation To Report The Accident

We have covered some information to answer the question ‘What are my rights after a car accident?’, but what about your obligations?

If you have caused an accident you would have an obligation to stay at the scene of an accident for a reasonable length of time according to the Road Traffic Act 1988 (section 170) and you are obligated to also provide your details to anyone who has reasonable grounds to ask for this information. You are obligated to provide your name, and address, your vehicle registration and the name and address of the person that owns the vehicle if it is not you.

According to the Road Traffic Act we mentioned above, you would also have an obligation to report the accident if:

  • Personal injury has been caused to anyone other than the driver
  • You must report the accident to the police within 24 hours if you do not give your details at the time of the accident.

If you would like to know how to go about reporting a road accident, you may find this link useful,

What Are My Rights After A Car Accident With An Uninsured Driver?

If you have been hit by an uninsured or untraceable driver, and are wondering ‘What are my rights after a car accident?’, you could be under the misapprehension that you would not have the right to make a compensation claim. However, you may be able to make a claim if someone else was at fault and either fled the scene and couldn’t be traced or was not insured to drive the vehicle they were in at the time of the accident. This is because these kinds of claims could be handled by the Motor Insurance Bureau. Keep this in mind when researching your legal rights after a car accident.

What May I Have The Right To Be Compensated For After A Car Accident?

If you’re wondering about your compensation rights if injured in a car accident, you might be surprised to find out that you could claim for more than just the injuries you sustained. As with all personal injury claims your compensation payout could include:

General damages – Your rights after a no-fault accident could include compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained and the pain and suffering you have gone through as a result. The amount of compensation you would receive for your injuries could vary depending on the severity and type of injuries you’ve suffered and the effects that they have had and are going to have on your life.

Special damages – If you’re wondering ‘What are my rights after a car accident if I’ve lost out on wages?’, then this type of loss could be covered under special damages. Special damages could be described as compensation payout for costs and losses you’ve experienced as a direct result of your accident and injuries. As well as wage loss, you could claim special damages for care costs as well as medical and travel costs, for example.

Car Accident Compensation Claims Calculator

As previously mentioned, you could claim compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, and the level of compensation you could receive would be based on the medical evidence collected by an independent medical expert. You would be required to visit one as part of your claim. At your appointment, the medical expert may examine you and ask questions about your injuries. They may also send you for tests. Once all the medical evidence was gathered and assessed, a report would be written, and this report could help in valuing your claim.

It would be impossible, therefore, for us, or a personal injury claims calculator to tell you exactly what amount of compensation you’d receive. We can, however, offer an approximation of how much compensation could be appropriate for certain injuries. The information below is taken from the Judicial College Guidelines and could give you a rough idea of the compensation settlement you could receive for your injuries.

Type of injuryExplanationPayout Bracket
Chest InjuriesInjuries to the heart, lung, and chest (traumatic). These could result in life expectancy reductions, and permanent injury. £94,470 to £140,870
Moderate neck injuriesWrench-type injury that could result in limitations in neck movement (serious). Surgery could be required, and there may still be risk of further trauma.£23,460 to £36,120
Moderate pelvic/hip injuriesMinor permanent disability, if any. Initial injury would, however, be significant.£24,950 to £36,770
Forearm fractureSimple break£11,980 to £18,020
Index finger fracturesQuickly mended but where there is pain with heavy use, and/or grip impairment. £8,550 to £11,480
Fracture to the femurArticular surface is not injured.£8,550 to £13,210
Knee Injuries (Moderate)Tears to meniscus or cartilage. Some future disability could remain.£13,920 to £24,580

No Win No Fee Claims After A Car or Vehicle Accident

If you are asking ‘What are my legal rights after a car accident in terms of getting a lawyer?’, it may be that you could be worrying you’d have to pay for such legal assistance upfront. However, if you choose to work with a No Win No Fee personal injury lawyer for your claim, you wouldn’t be required to do so. Instead, you’d sign an agreement document called a Conditional Fee Agreement, which would detail how much of your compensation would be paid to your lawyer in the event of a successful claim. This success fee cannot be more than 25% of your total settlement value. If your claim did not result in compensation, even though it was a valid claim, then you would not have to pay the success fee. All of the solicitors we could provide you with work on this basis, so you could begin your claim right away with no payment required upfront.

Why Choose Legal Expert?

We have many years of experience helping claimants to pursue personal injury claims for injuries they’ve suffered as a result of someone else’s behaviour or negligence. We’d be delighted to bring our experience to your claim. Our previous clients have attested to our commitment to providing guidance and support to them throughout their claims, and we believe we provide an unparalleled level of customer care to each and every claim we assist with.

Not only could we provide more information on your rights if you are injured in a car accident, but we could also provide a free, no-obligation assessment of your case to see if you could be eligible for compensation. If we think that you could benefit from the assistance of a personal injury solicitor, we could provide one to you. We can also advise on how to handle car insurance in the aftermath of an accident.

However, you do not have to use our services to benefit from our advice, and we put you under no pressure to begin a claim if you do not wish to go ahead. All of the guidance and advice we could provide to you comes with no pressure to use our services, and you do not have to take our advice if you do not want to.

Begin Your Claim

If you’d like to start your claim, or you’d like to ask us anything else about your rights after a no fault accident, then we’re ready and willing to assist and advise you. You can get in touch with the Legal Expert team on 0800 073 8804, or via email at Alternatively, you could opt to use the live chat feature or contact form to get in touch. However you prefer to reach out to us, we’ll be happy to help you.

Essential References

Injured In A Car Accident – What Are My Rights To Compensation – This is the government’s page on claiming compensation.

The Road Traffic Act – Details of responsibilities in the event of an accident are detailed here.

Car Accident Statistics – 2018 statistics on UK car accidents.

Claiming Car Accident Compensation – More information on your rights after a no-fault accident could be found here.

Details On Claiming For Whiplash – Here, you can find more information regarding whiplash injury claims.

HGV Accidents – We cover information about HGV/lorry claims here.

Written by Jo

Edited by Melissa.

Legal Rights After A Car Accident FAQs

What is a car accident?

This is any accident involving you and a vehicle, whether that be your car or someone else’s.

Could a car accident include an incident in a car park?

Yes, it doesn’t have to be something that happens on the road.

What about public transport accidents?

The same process applies for claims, except that you can file a claim against the operating firms as well.

How much compensation could I receive?

This depends on the severity of your injuries, as various injuries could bring about different levels of compensation.

What if I instigate the car accident?

In that case, you could be the defendant of a car accident claim by another party.

Do I need to inform my insurers?

Yes, you should inform your insurers about the accident no matter how the accident happens or how serious it is.

How long could it take for me to file a claim?

You can file a claim as soon as you want, so long as you have sufficient supportive evidence.

And how long could it take for the claim to be completed?

It generally takes between 12 and 18 months for the claim to reach a final settlement.

Thank you for reading our legal rights after a car accident.

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