Road traffic compensation claims – Reality and myths

Each year more than 100 people are injured or killed on the UK’s roads. If you are injured in a road accident, you can claim road traffic compensation regardless of whether you were the driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian.

Road traffic accidents do not simply involve cars. Accidents involving buses, motorcycles or bicycles can also result in claims for compensation.

Most people will have heard of whiplash and this is one of the most common claims for compensation in road traffic accidents, but road traffic accidents can result in a range of injuries including spinal injuries, limb amputations, broken bones, soft tissue damage, head injuries and in some cases fatality. The effects of a road traffic accident can be long lasting and even life changing which is why it is important to have legal representation that is experienced in the handling of such claims.

If you only have the registration number of the other driver because he or she refused to give you their details you can still make a claim. Your insurer will be able to identify the driver of the other vehicle, although such behaviour might indicate that the driver has something to hide and is perhaps not insured. However, even if the other driver is uninsured a claim can still be made and compensation awarded. The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) deals with claims for compensation against uninsured drivers.

An accident is a traumatic event, especially if it involves an injury that requires time to recover from. After an accident, you may decide to not consider claiming for personal injury as you want to simply recover from a distressing experience. However, this does not mean that a claim cannot be made later. Anyone involved in a road traffic accident who suffered personal injury or loss as a result of the accident can make a claim up to three years after the accident occurred. If an individual was a child when the accident occurred they have up to their 21st birthday to make a claim.

Compensation is not restricted to claims for physical injuries suffered in the accident as claims for psychological effects such as post traumatic stress and financial losses that were accrued as a result of the accident can also be made, e.g if you have to take time off work and suffer a loss of income as a result. You may also be able to claim interest on the sums received for personal injury and financial loss and legal costs. To obtain compensation for injuries, you will need to be examined by a medical expert who will assess the extent of the injuries. The report provided by the medical examiner will not only contain details of the injuries, but also the prognosis for recovery and how the injuries are likely to affect you in the future. The contents of this report will determine how much compensation is likely to be awarded.

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