Our team of legally trained advisers have over 18 years' experience in dealing with claims for car accident compensation. Our network of specialist no win no fee personal injury solicitors will deal with all aspects of your car crash compensation case, including your claim for whiplash, unpaid leave, out of pocket expenses, loss of quality of life caused by your injury, etc.
In the nineteenth century, prior to the popular use of motor cars, the most common mode of transport used by members of the public was the train. As a result of a number of train accidents it was established that after these accidents some passengers experienced neck and back pain. These injuries were the first recorded examples of whiplash. However, the term given to this injury was “railway spine”.
It is thought that the term “whiplash” was first coined in 1928 by Mr H Crowe at a lecture in San Francisco, about the effect on the human body when someone is involved in a motor vehicle collision. He noted that the sudden movement of the neck in a car accident was akin to the “cracking of a whip”, and that it had a “lash-like” effect on the cervical spine, due to the forces created by a sudden impact collision.
What is whiplash
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is probable that the vehicle in which you were travelling as a driver or passenger was hit in the rear by a vehicle in which the driver failed to brake in time. The energy released by the impact will have caused your head and neck to move forward and then backwards at speed, much like the “cracking of a whip”, as mentioned above.
Under these circumstances the soft tissue in your neck - such as muscles, ligaments, etc., is stretched, causing inflammation and pain.
Whiplash affects people in different ways, because we are all different. However, whiplash typically causes pain in the neck area, shoulders, arms and back. These symptoms are sometimes felt immediately after a car accident, but often become more acute over a number of days. The pain experienced from these symptoms usually restricts full movement of the neck, back and arms.
Time taken to recover from whiplash
Some people who have sustained a whiplash injury as a result of a road accident make a full recovery in a matter of a few days. But many people will continue to suffer pain for many months before all discomfort from the whiplash dissipates. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) published the results of a survey conducted on their behalf in “The Whiplash Report 2012”, where it was revealed that 13% of those people surveyed, who had suffered a whiplash injury, took a couple of days to make a full recovery, and 25% of the sample survey recovered in a couple of weeks. However, 20% of people involved in the same survey took over one year to be free of all whiplash symptoms. In conclusion, it can be seen that there is no guarantee when the pain you experience after a car accident will disappear.
Low-speed collisions/low velocity impacts
You can make a car accident compensation claim if you have been injured because of a car crash that has occurred at a low speed. A low-speed collision, also known as a low velocity impact (LVI), is generally understood to be at a speed of around 5 mph. There are four common types of low speed impacts: rear-end, front-end, side-swipe, and lateral.
LVI claims are commonly made by the occupants of a stationary vehicle which has been struck in the rear (rear-end) by another vehicle that has failed to stop in time before a crash occurs.
The law allows car accident compensation claims to be made when the forces involved in a car crash, more probably than not, actually did cause injuries based on the facts of each case.
The other driver’s insurance company that will pay any compensation awarded to you may try to argue that, because the alleged speed at the time of the car accident was so low, any injury was so improbable, and that on the balance of probabilities it cannot be proved that a claimant sustained any injury at all.
The other party’s representatives may refer to studies which claim that an injury cannot be sustained by someone who is involved in a car accident where the impact speed is less than 3 or 5 mph. Under these circumstances it is imperative that you benefit from an experienced car accident compensation claims solicitor who will be able to rebut the above arguments. Your solicitor will deal with this based on your account of the accident and your physical symptoms after the accident as described by you. They will also use the evidence provided by a doctor who will give their opinion on your injury after examining you at their surgery. If necessary, they will also commission a report from a forensic engineer who specializes in bio-mechanics.
The actual speed of an impact is very difficult to calculate for those people involved, and is often inaccurate. We usually think that the amount of vehicle damage is indicative of the speed of the collision. However, the damage sustained to the body panels of a car will be more noticeable after a low speed collision as a result of a lateral or side swipe accident. The surface strengths of different cars can vary, so the vehicle damage may not always reveal the speed of impact.
There has been extensive research conducted in this field, and it is generally agreed that the occupants of a stationary vehicle which is struck from behind by another one at a low speed will be more likely to experience whiplash symptoms than those people travelling in the “bullet” vehicle. However, depending on which study you prefer to believe, the minimum threshold speed for someone to sustain an injury can range from 1.55 mph to 8 mph.
Other injuries caused by a car crash
Typically, the most common type of injury caused by a car accident is whiplash. It doesn't matter if the collision was from the rear, side-on or head-on; the force of an impact will invariably cause a sudden movement of the neck and, as a consequence of this, you may suffer a neck injury, and possibly a lower back injury.
Seat belt injury: Another common reason for making a car crash compensation claim is an injury which is known as a seat belt injury. This occurs as a result of a seat belt tightening across the wearer's chest when a collision forces them forward, which can cause bruising and general discomfort to the chest. Legislation was introduced in the UK in 1983 and 1991 which compelled all front and rear seat occupants of cars to wear seat belts. This law has forced motorists to change their driving behaviour, and most of us will, as a matter of routine, always wear a seat belt when we are in our cars. However, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has estimated that because some drivers and passengers fail to adhere to this seat belt law, some 200 lives are lost on Great Britain’s roads each year.
Miscellaneous injuries: There are many other types of injuries caused by car accidents - such as broken bones, cuts and lacerations, dislocations, bruising, etc. The severity of a car crash can determine the extent of any injuries caused by the impact.
Causes of Car Accidents
No matter how careful we are while driving, sometimes it is impossible to avoid a car accident when another road user is driving in a negligent manner.
The classic example of the above is a rear-end collision. This occurs when a vehicle is stationary, and the driver of a vehicle to the rear of this one fails to keep a safe distance and, as a result, they cannot brake before colliding with the stationary vehicle. In this scenario your car accident compensation claim will be made against the insurance company of the driver of the vehicle that struck the rear of the other one.
Occasionally, the causes of car accidents can be due to defective roads, or other road users, such as motorcyclists, cyclists, etc.
Driver error is the main cause of car accidents – e.g. poor judgement when performing a manoeuvre, driving too fast, driver fatigue, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a lack of attention to vehicle maintenance, such as tyre pressure, etc.
Who Pays Car Accident Compensation Claims
All drivers must, by law, have in place valid motor vehicle insurance cover. Therefore, in the event that a driver is negligent, and causes a car accident, it is their insurance company that will deal with any car accident compensation claim made by an innocent party involved in the car crash. If you have been injured as a result of a car accident, and it wasn't your fault, you are entitled to make a car crash compensation claim for your personal injuries (pain and suffering), loss of amenity (your loss of enjoyment of activities you are no longer able to fulfil, e.g. DIY, sports, etc.), loss of earnings, plus any other out of pocket expenses.
We pay our motor insurance premiums each year so that we are protected against unfortunate situations that may arise - such as car accidents (repair costs, car hire, personal injury, etc.) and car theft. Insurance companies in the UK factor into the price of our motor insurance premiums the cost of paying for the above.
In 2008, The World Bank published a report in which it revealed that, compared with the European average, there are 79% more vehicles on UK roads. It is, therefore, logical that there will be more car crashes, if there are more UK road users. The insurance industry in the UK have asserted that our motor insurance premiums have increased due to a rise in car crash compensation claims. However, official statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), via their Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU), confirm that since the year 2010/2011, the number of whiplash claims has fallen.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI), in March 2013, published a report - “Lifting the bonnet on car insurance - what are the real costs?” This report shows how UK insurance companies deal with the real costs of whiplash compensation claims. According to the contents of the ABI's report, the average UK motor insurance policy premium is £440, of which only 20% (£88) of that figure is used to deal with whiplash compensation claims.
Increase in personal injury awards for car accident compensation claims
The amount of compensation which you will receive for your personal injury claim, technically referred to as a claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, has been increased by 10% by virtue of section 44 (4) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. This applies to all car accident compensation claims made after 1st April 2013.
Your solicitor will assess how much you should receive in respect of the personal injury aspect of your claim based on the contents of your medical report, as prepared by a doctor, following an examination of your injury at their surgery. With the information to hand regarding your injury, your solicitor will refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases as prepared by members of the Judicial College. This is a publication which is reviewed annually, and used by the judiciary and legal profession in order to determine the appropriate level of damages which should be awarded to personal injury claimants, depending on the type of injury sustained and the anticipated recovery rate.
Guideline amounts for typical car accident compensation claims
In light of the 10% increase in personal injury damages referred to above, we set out below the amounts of compensation that are awarded for typical car accident neck injuries based on the above guidelines given by the Judicial College.
First, we would like to explain what is meant by a minor neck injury, and what factors are taken into account in deciding where your injury falls in the guidelines.
The majority of whiplash claims involve a neck injury that is technically referred to as a minor neck injury. This category of neck injury is one where a full recovery is made within a few days or two years from the date of the accident. When calculating how much compensation you should receive for this type of injury consideration should be given to the following factors:
- the type of injury to your neck;
- the amount of pain you have experienced, and how regular you feel the pain;
- if you have sustained other injuries as a result of the accident such as: back and/or shoulder pain and/or headaches;
- how your injury has affected your daily life;
- has your injury impaired your work;
- the nature of treatment that you require;
- the extent of pain relief medication taken by you in order to deal with your symptoms.
Type of Injury
Min Amount of Compensation
Max Amount of Compensation
You have made a full recovery within one and two years
A full recovery is made within a few months and twelve months.
A few hundred
You are free of pain within a few days, a few weeks, or a few months.
The above figures are taken from the Judicial College’s Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases based on the 10% uplift.
Instruct a specialist solicitor – receive more compensation
Your car accident claim may not succeed, or the amount of compensation you receive may be considerably reduced, if you do not have specialist legal representation. Often, the other party’s insurance company may deny that their insured was responsible for a road traffic accident, when this is clearly not the case. Under these circumstances, it is vital that you have an experienced lawyer who will protect your interests, and pursue your claim to a successful conclusion.
There are some insurance companies that try to settle claims direct with the innocent party who was involved in a car accident. The insurance company will contact them by telephone and offer to pay them compensation shortly after an accident. In the vast majority of cases these offers fall well below the amount of compensation which you are entitled to. A specialist no win no fee car accident compensation claim solicitor will know how much compensation is appropriate in your particular case.
Car accident compensation claims advice
- Take your time when completing paperwork When you have spoken with one of our recommended solicitors and confirmed that they can act for you, they will start to gather information and evidence in support of your car crash compensation claim. This will primarily be provided by you when completing a questionnaire sent to you by your solicitor which should be returned to their office as soon as you can. The questionnaire will contain a number of questions which must be answered honestly by you. Your answers to the questions will determine how your solicitor will deal with your case, so it is extremely important that you carefully consider the contents of the form when completing it. For example, if you have sustained more than one injury as a result of the accident you must confirm the nature of those injuries.
Your solicitor will instruct a doctor that specialises in the field which is relevant to your injury. You will be examined by the appointed doctor and, thereafter, they will prepare an expert’s report dealing with the extent of your injury, and how long they consider it will take for you to make a full recovery, e.g. a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon will deal with a whiplash injury and a Consultant Plastic Surgeon will deal with a scar injury, etc
- Keep a Personal Injury Diary We have been helping people make car crash compensation claims for over 18 years, so we know how you can maximise the amount of compensation awarded to you. We strongly recommend that you keep a diary after your accident which should serve as a record of how your injury has affected your life on a daily basis. You should make a note of the number of people, if any, that have looked after you, or assisted with any household tasks such as cleaning, cooking, etc., and the number of hours per day/week that they assisted you because of your injury.
When you see the doctor who will prepare your medical report you should give them a copy of this diary so that they can refer to its contents in their report. You should also send a copy of your diary to your solicitor. This will be used by your solicitor when calculating any claim you may have for care and assistance, plus loss of amenity.
- Keep all your travel receipts If you are unable to drive due to your injury, and you need to travel to work or attend medical appointments, you should keep all of your travel receipts in order to recoup the money from the other party’s insurance company.
Uninsured or Untraced Drivers
If the other party is not insured, or is untraced, we can still help you recover the maximum car accident compensation you deserve. The MIB was established to handle these types of car crash compensation claims. Insurance companies in the UK pay money into a fund in order to cover the costs of claims made against uninsured drivers and untraced drivers. It could be argued that we, as insured drivers, indirectly pay into the above fund, because these costs are factored into our insurance premiums – estimated by the ABI, in their above report, at 3% of total car insurance premiums.
Time limits for car accident personal injury claims
It doesn't matter how serious your injuries are, as a result of the forces created by a car accident, or if you were a driver or passenger - under the terms of The Limitation Act 1980 - you have 3 years from the date of a car accident, to make a personal injury compensation claim. Your specialist no win no fee personal injury solicitor will try to negotiate settlement of your personal injury claim after your medical report has been disclosed to the other party's insurance company. However, it is not always possible to settle all personal injury claims by way of negotiation.
Typical reasons for delays:
- Some insurance companies may be unwilling to settle your personal injury claim at a reasonable amount of compensation. An insurance company may have a company policy which only allows them to pay a maximum level of compensation for a particular injury which your solicitor may consider is too low;
- The defendant and their insurer may deny liability for your accident, which may induce protracted correspondence between your legal representative and the other party’s insurance company;
- Vital witnesses may be difficult to trace or they may be non-cooperative;
- Follow-up medical reports may be required from one, or a number of different medical experts, depending on the seriousness of your injury;
- Waiting lists can be long before you see a medical expert, or other types of experts, required to prepare your claim.
It is essential that your solicitor issues proceedings before the “limitation date” expires, i.e. 3 years from the date of your accident. If legal proceedings have not been issued at Court before the above date, you will be statute barred and, as a result, you will be unable to claim compensation for your personal injuries. However, in the above circumstances, you could issue an application at Court in order to request an Order of the Court, which would allow you to issue proceedings outside of the 3 year time limit.
If you have been injured as a driver, passenger or even as a pedestrian, due to the negligence of another road user, you are entitled to make a car accident compensation claim.
Our team of friendly, professional advisers will speak with you about the car accident, in order to establish what happened, and advise if you can make a car accident compensation claim. Our service is free, so there is no need to worry about paying any legal fees. We will recommend that a specialist car accident no win no fee solicitor contacts you, with a view to acting on your behalf.
You can start your whiplash compensation claim today by request us to call you, or complete our online claim form, and one of our advisers will give you a call. We will only need 10 minutes of your time to start your claim.
Some examples of car accident compensation claims we have dealt with
Hit in rear by a car
Mrs Tyrrell was stationary in her car at a set of traffic lights in the course of travelling to work when she was suddenly thrown forward in her seat after another car hit the rear of her vehicle. She sustained an injury to her neck and lower back, and contacted us to help her make a car accident claim via our Freephone number.
One of our panel of no win no fee whiplash compensation claims solicitors arranged for Mrs Tyrrell to be seen by a doctor in Liverpool, close to where she lives, and after her medical report was sent to the other driver’s insurers, she received £2,500 in respect of her personal injury claim. She wrote to us to express her gratitude for our help in starting her claim – here is a brief extract from her letter “I want to thank you for your friendly support at the beginning of my claim”.
Mr Inwood was proceeding around a roundabout in his car near his home in Eccles, Salford, when his vehicle was hit on the near side by a van whose driver had failed to stop at the give-way markings on the road at an entry point to the roundabout. He sustained a whiplash injury, and approached us by requesting a call-back.
One of our team called Mr Inwood at his preferred time and he was happy to deal with one of our network of no win no fee car crash compensation solicitors. His solicitors went on to settle his car accident claim at £1,800, plus he received all of his loss of earnings incurred as a result of his accident. He was delighted by the terms of settlement of his case. Here is an extract from his email to us after he received his compensation “Many thanks for recommending such a good law firm to handle my claim”.
You shouldn’t suffer in silence if you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. One of our team will explain the claims process without confusing you with jargon.
If you have been involved in a car accident and you were injured as a result, we can help you claim the maximum car accident compensation you deserve. We have helped 1,000s of people recover compensation, at no cost to them whatsoever, by way of a no win no fee claim, following a car accident that wasn’t their fault.
It is no surprise that due to increased congestion on our motorways and roads, accidents will occur. Indeed, the World Bank published a report in 2012, which revealed that in the UK there are 79% more vehicles than the European average. However, car manufacturers continue to role out innovative vehicle safety measures, and our increased awareness of road safety issues, has seen a fall in the number of no win no fee car accident compensation claims. According to the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU), (notification of all personal injury claims made in the UK must be given to this government organisation), there was a reduction of 9.5% in the number of personal injury compensation claims with regard to road accidents in the year 2012/2013 compared to the previous year, or 749,555 motor accident injury claims were made in total.
We understand that injuries sustained as a result of a car accident may be minor or serious in nature. Such injuries can detrimentally affect your life for a short or long period of time. We can help you get your life back on track with no fuss or hassle. Our team of friendly, legally trained advisers are available to provide free, no obligation advice if you are considering making a car accident compensation claim.
It is simple to claim – you will never be asked to pay a penny towards legal costs if your no win no fee car accident compensation claim is unsuccessful. Our panel of specialist car accident compensation solicitors will act on your behalf on a no win no fee basis. This means that should you win, you will receive the maximum compensation allowed in law. Due to recent changes in the law, your solicitor may take a small proportion of your compensation as a contribution towards their costs. If your car accident claim is unsuccessful, you will not be asked to pay anything with regard to legal fees.
You can make a personal injury claim if you were a driver or passenger of a vehicle at the time of an accident. If you were a driver, you can only make a car accident compensation claim if you were not totally at fault for the accident. You can make a no win no fee compensation claim if you were partially to blame for the accident, i.e. 50/50 liability accident. As an injured passenger, you can make a no win no fee compensation claim against the negligent driver responsible for the accident even if that was the driver of the vehicle in which you were travelling.