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How to claim compensation for a car accident

Have you been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? Our expert lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Last updated on April 26th, 2021

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Kimberley Kirkby Express Solicitors

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  • Over 1,000 years of combined legal expertise
  • We’ll get you more compensation than anyone else
  • Early payments to cover your expenses*
  • We win the cases other firms can’t
  • Fully independent, and fully regulated.

* Where applicable

The most important things to remember when claiming for a car accident:

  • Claims can be processed on a No Win, No Fee basis
  • You should collect as much evidence as possible at the scene e.g. numberplates, insurance details
  • You have three years to make a claim, subject to some exceptions
  • You can claim against uninsured drivers
  • You can claim on behalf of a child.

Car accident claims

If you’ve been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible to claim compensation. You do not need to have been driving the car to claim. At Express Solicitors, we understand the physical and mental toll that car accidents can have. We’re here to support you through every step of the claims process, and to get you the compensation you deserve.

What is a no win no fee car accident claim?

When you make a car accident personal injury claim with us, your claim will be handled on a No Win, No Fee basis. This means you do not need to pay anything upfront. You’re completely free from financial risk, and will only pay if you win the case.

In many winning cases, your opponent (a driver or whoever is at fault, such as a local council) will contribute to your legal fees. We’ll always be totally transparent with you about what you can claim based on your individual circumstances.

You’ll claim more with us.

We have recovered an additional £21.2m more in compensation for clients who switched to us from their previous firm. Contact us now to discover the real value of your claim.

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Who can claim for a car accident?

Whether you were a driver, passenger or pedestrian, you may be able to claim if you were not at fault. Cyclists involved in road accidents can also claim against other road users.

Remember, your claim may not always be against another road user. For example, if you were injured due to poorly maintained roads, you may be able to claim against organisations like the local council.

Those under the age of 18 can have a ‘litigation friend’ claim on their behalf, or wait up to three years from the date of turning 18 to claim.

Why claim with us

At Express Solicitors, we offer more than 1,000 years’ combined legal experience processing car accident claims like yours. In particular, we take on the cases that other firms cannot – which has led to a record 21,000 claimants and £160 million in compensation.

Our expert teams are fully regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority. We’re also known for going above and beyond the remit of other personal injury solicitors. We’ll leave no stone unturned, ensuring you get compensation for every facet of your case – whether that’s loss of earnings, injury, or property damage. We’ll also do our utmost to secure you interim payments while you wait.

Every claimant is entitled to our unique Service Pledge – honest, transparent claims processes with no legal jargon. If you’ve been let down by other solicitors, or want to start a new claim, we’re here to help.

How much compensation can you claim?

There is no fixed compensation amount for car accident claims. Our experts take a number of factors into account, including personal injury, vehicle damage, and the impact on your day to day life. We’ll also consider the severity of your injury.

As a guideline, the most common car accident injury is whiplash. Compensation amounts usually start at around £2,000. However, with more severe injuries, claimants have been known to receive as much as five-figure sums.

We’ll guide you through this entire process and ensure no stone is left unturned – securing you the maximum compensation possible.

What is the claims process?

First and foremost, at the time of the accident, it’s imperative to make sure you are safe. Get yourself out of dangerous situations, for example, by leaving the road and asking for police assistance. Seek medical attention if you need it – don’t be tempted to leave the scene without examining any injuries.

You should ask any other road users involved for their personal details and insurance records, as well as vehicle details. You may also wish to ask any witnesses if they’d be willing to provide evidence.

Notify the police of the accident immediately. If you fail to do this, you may not be able to make insurance claims. Ask for a copy of police records, as well as any medical records if you do need a doctor’s attention.

You should present all of this when speaking to our compensation team. We encourage you to make a personal injury claim as soon as possible. This allows us to get the most accurate witness reports and keep on top of any personal injury developments. Try to gather as much evidence as you can, for example with photos or CCTV footage.

Once we have this information, our expert claims handling team will set about seeking compensation. We’ll need to consider multiple factors, particularly if the other driver disputes your claims.

How long do I have to claim?

Generally speaking, you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim. Alternatively, you can claim three years after you are diagnosed with an injury that is directly related to the accident.

There are some exceptions to this rule. If you were under 18 at the time, you can claim up to three years after your 18th birthday, or ask somebody to represent you. Alternatively, those with mental capacity limitations have no time limits to claim – they can claim after their cognitive capacity has been restored, or someone can claim on their behalf at any time.

Accidents occurring outside of the UK may be subject to international laws. We will be able to advise you on the best course of action when you contact us.

A claim process built just for you.

Our tailor-made claim process takes the stress out of claiming and keeps you in control. Choose how often, and how you want to be updated. Phone, SMS, mail, video-call, it’s up to you.

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How long does a car accident claim take?

Every claim is different, depending on the evidence you provide us, and any disputes or other issues we may have to follow up. As a general guideline, road accident claims take around four to nine months.

Remember – we always work to get you as much compensation as possible in the shortest amount of time. This may take longer than other solicitors, but we can help you with interim payments while you wait for your full compensation.

What evidence do you need for a car accident claim?

The more physical evidence you can provide us, the easier it will be to process your claim. This can be, but is not limited to:

  • Photographs/CCTV footage of the vehicle, accident, and physical injuries
  • Written police and medical reports
  • Witness statements
  • Receipts for expenses incurred e.g. public transport costs to treatment
  • A sketch of the accident type (provided by your vehicle insurer)
  • Insurance details for you and any other drivers involved
  • A diary of events following the accident.

Please try to gather this evidence as soon as possible. This will support the accuracy of your claim, for example, if a witness is making a statement from memory.

It’s not just compensation we can help with

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, we don’t just recover compensation for the injury. We will also claim any losses and expenses as a result of the accident. This might include travel to physio or hospital appointments, damage to clothing or personal possessions, hire cars, and even interim payments.

Replacement car

We’ll replace your car within 24hrs of your accident.

Financial support

Where applicable, we’ll provide an early compensation payment.

Physiotherapy

Private healthcare immediately at your choice of location.

Rehabilitation

We’ll support your recovery until it’s no longer needed.

What to do after a car accident

At the time of the accident, you will likely feel anxious, angry, or in pain. Remember to stay calm and avoid abusing any other road users. This will go against you in any insurance claims. Likewise, do not apologise or admit fault.

Your first priority is to stay safe. Move out of the road and call an ambulance if you have sustained severe injuries. You should also inform the police straight away.

Exchange insurance and contact details, and speak to police about obtaining reports and/or CCTV footage. They should also be able to assist you to get home safely. When, and only when it is safe for you to do so, contact us. We can work with your insurers to get you the compensation you deserve.

Can I claim if it was my fault?

When we assess your claims, accidents are put into one of three categories:

  • Entirely their fault
  • Partially your fault
  • Entirely your fault.

In cases where it is undeniable that you caused the accident, for example through reckless driving, it will be difficult to make a claim. However, oftentimes both drivers are at fault, or you may dispute who was at fault. For example, the other driver may not have been wearing a seatbelt, or may have been under the influence of alcohol.

You need to be totally transparent with your solicitor and present all evidence that you can. In some cases, external factors such as poorly maintained roads may be the cause. At Express Solicitors, we’ll fight your corner to win you fair compensation wherever possible.

We understand the financial impact of an accident.

In 99% of cases, we recovered more compensation than the insurer’s first offer. We’ll provide financial security with our interim payments wherever possible, meaning you don’t need to rush into an offer that is lower than you’re legally entitled to.

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What can you claim for

At Express Solicitors, we’ll look at your case from a totally holistic perspective to get you the compensation you deserve. We understand that accidents go beyond physical injury – there are also psychological impacts and lifestyle changes to consider.

Your car accident claim will be based on the following:

  • Vehicle damage and insurance excess costs
  • Damage to possessions in the vehicle
  • Physical injury, depending on severity
  • Psychological injury, such as PTSD
  • Treatment costs such as rehabilitation
  • Travel costs for treatment
  • Medication costs e.g. prescription fees
  • Adaptations to your home
  • Loss of earnings, bonuses or potential job opportunities.

What are the average car accident claim amounts?

We take into consideration all aspects of a car accident when assessing your claim. However, a key factor is the severity of your injuries, in particular, damage to certain body parts.

For example, minor injuries to the ankle, eye or non-permanent scarring may secure compensation of £1-6,000. More severe injuries, such as broken arms which will heal, can be compensated in the tens of thousands.

In life-changing circumstances, for example amputation, permanent facial scarring, paralysis or blindness, you can expect compensation upwards of £200,000.

Please remember that these are guidelines and every case is assessed individually. We also need to consider your evidence and any disputes as to who is at fault.

Average car accident compensation amounts

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Head Minor £1,880.00 to £10,890.00 Covers brain damage with recovery within a few weeks. Higher compensation if symptoms include headaches.
Head Moderate £13,430.00 to £112,130.00 Symptoms ranging from poor concentration, lower and higher risk of epileptic attacks, minor personality changes, depression, more severe intellectual impairment, or injuries/symptoms leading to a vegetative state.
Head Serious £186,890.00 £240,590.00 Covers reduced life expectancy, serious physical symptoms, serious changes to personality or intellect, large dependence on others due to paralysis or otherwise.
Head Severe £240,590.00 to £344,640.00 Covers minimally conscious state (life expectancy less than 15 years), severe disability, brain damage with little/no response, vegetative states needing full-time nursing.
Eye Severe £56,080.00to £229,260.00 Complete blindness on one/both eyes or severe visual impairment on one/both eyes.
Face Minor £1,460.00 to £7,460.00 Light or no scarring on the face, but no fractures, loss/damage of one/two front teeth, simple fractures of the jaw or nose, but with a possibility of complete recovery.
Face Serious £15,320.00 to £26,010.00 More serious fractures such as a broken jaw or nose, breaking/damage/loss of several teeth.
Face Severe £26,010.00 to £38,850.00 Severe injuries resulting in facial disfigurement, several jaw fractures, chronic tooth pain, and scarring. May lead to eating restrictions or higher risk of joint arthritis. Covers negative effects on mental health.
Ear/ hearing Minor Up to £5,980.00 Possible Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), slight/occasional tinnitus.
Ear/ hearing Moderate £12,700.00 to £25,350.00 Partial hearing loss or mild to severe tinnitus.
Ear/ hearing Serious £25,350.00 to £38,850.00 Complete deafness in one ear. Severity varies based on additional symptoms (e.g. dizziness, tinnitus, etc.).
Ear/ hearing Severe £77,430.00 to £120,040.00 Complete deafness in both ears. Higher compensation for child injuries also resulting in a loss of speech.

Car accident compensation amounts for back, neck, shoulders and upper body injuries

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Neck Minor Up to £6,680.00 Soft tissue injuries or whiplash with recovery within 3 – 24 months. Compensation factors include severity of pain and amount of negative effects on everyday life.
Neck Moderate £7,410.00 to £47,760.00 Covers injuries that accelerated a pre-existing condition, disc lesions, cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent and/or recurring pain, all caused by fractures or dislocations.
Neck Severe £56,100.00 to £139,210.00 Serious fractures, severe soft tissue damage, chronic pain conditions, disc damage, partial paraplegia, or significant, permanent disability.
Back Minor £2,090.00 to £10,670.00 Includes lighter strains, sprains, disc prolapses, and soft tissue injuries. Recovery between 3 months and 5 years.
Back Moderate £11,730.00 to £26,050.00 Includes: spinal fusion, compressed or fractured lumbar spine (possibly resulting in higher risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain), prolapsed discs and other injuries that may require surgery and a continued acceleration/worsening of a pre-existing back condition.
Back Severe £36,390.00 to £151,070.00 Typically requires surgery. Injuries include: damaged spinal cord and partial paralysis, psychological issues, loss of bladder and/or bowel function, disc lesions, impaired movement, arthritis, etc.
Shoulder Minor Up to £6,730.00 Soft tissue injury resulting in pain. Full recovery between 3 – 24 months.
Shoulder Serious £10,890.00 to £16,380.00 Fractured humerus, clavicle or rotator cuff needing surgery.
Shoulder Severe £16,380.00 to £40,970.00 Significant disability caused by severe damage to the neck or brachial plexus.
Pelvis & hips Minor £3,370.00 to £10,750.00 Complete recovery after minor soft tissue injuries. Little or no disability within 2 years.
Pelvis & hips Moderate £10,750.00 to £33,430.00 No serious disability, but covers injuries requiring hip operations, replacement of hips (or the need for either in the future).
Pelvis & hips Severe £33,430.00 to £111,690.00 Severe hip/pelvis fractures resulting in bowel damage or spinal fusion, childbirth complications, hip replacement, and/or leading to higher likelihood of future surgery.
Scarring (not facial) Minor £2,020.00 to £7,380.00 One noticeable scare or several superficial, unsightly scars on the legs, arms, or hands.
Scarring (not facial Moderate Up to £7,380.00 Full recovery within 2 years, up to a partial recovery with symptoms that are not largely debilitating.
Scarring (not facial Severe £6,680.00 to £19,390.00 Several noticeable laceration scars or a single disfiguring scar.

Car accident compensation amounts for arm, hand, and finger injuries

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Arm Mild £5,630.00 to £16,380.00 Fractured forearm.
Arm Moderate £16,380.00 to £33,430.00 Serious arm injury leading to long-lasting symptoms.
Arm Serious £33,430.00 to £111,690.00 Serious injury resulting in an inability to use the arm(s) to some extent. Does not result in amputation.
Arm Severe £82,040.00 to £255,930.00 Results may include the amputation of one/both arms. Compensation amount will depends on amputated area, whether phantom pain is experienced, and on other effects on the quality of life.
Elbow Moderate Up to £10,750.00 Includes: tennis elbow, deep cuts, simple fractures, no permanent damage.
Elbow Serious £13,360.00 to £27,320.00 Results in restricted movement but does not require surgery or cause disability.
Elbow Severe £33,430.00 to £46,780.00 Injury causes severe disability or requires surgery.
Wrist Moderate Up to £8,740.00 Uncomplicated Colles fracture or minor undisplaced fractures with recovery between 1 – 2 years. May include use of plasters.
Wrist Serious £10,750.00 to £20,900.00 Soft tissue damage or broken wrist causing some permanent disability.
Wrist Severe £20,900.00to £51,070.00. Significant permanent disability or complete loss of wrist function.
Hand Minor Up to £4,050.00 Covers lacerations and crush injuries, and soft tissue injuries (recovery within 6 months).
Hand Moderate £4,780.00 to £11,330.00 Covers penetrating wounds and crush injuries resulting in permanent but non-intrusive symptoms, or soft tissue damage and deeper cuts resulting in impairment of the hand (may require surgery).
Hand Severe £24,740.00 to £171,920.00 Covers amputation and rejoining of several fingers, resulting in a clawed, impaired, or unsightly hand, amputation of one/both hands (alternatively, amputation of several fingers rendering the hand almost useless).
Finger Minor Up to £4,055.00 Includes: full-healed fractured finger bones (healed within 1 year) with/without minor scarring.
Finger Moderate £3,370.00 to £5,000.00 Includes: complete (or almost complete) recovery after broken finger, amputation or loss of a part of the little finger.
Finger Severe £10,380.00 to £31,350.00 Includes: complete amputation of one/more fingers, fractures of the index finger. Compensation depends on level of disability and suffering.
Thumb Minor Up to £4,055.00 Short-term, severe pain gone within 3 months.
Thumb Moderate £3,370.00 to £10,750.00 Covers fractures with recovery within 6 months, damage to nerves or tendons resulting in partial loss of sensation, and cosmetic thumb deformities.
Thumb Severe £10,750.00 to £46,780.00 Partial/complete amputation of the thumb, surgical wire insertions, nerve damage, fractures, inability to grip.

Car accident compensation amounts for leg and foot injuries

Part of body Severity of injury Amount of compensation Types of injuries
Leg Minor £7,780.00 to £12,010.00 Minor injuries with recovery within a few months (e.g. soft-tissue injuries, bruising, cuts, and contusions). Slightly more severe injuries such as simple fractures of the femur, tibia, or fibula.
Leg Moderate £15,320.00 to £46,780.00 Minor fractures with partial recovery, serious soft tissue injury, injuries to one leg (e.g. broken bones, crushing injuries), ligament injuries, compound fractures leading to near certainty of arthritis or instability.
Leg Severe £46,780.00 to £240,590.00 Severe injuries resulting in extensive degloving, bone grafting, permanently reduced mobility, or amputation of one/both legs (above/below the knee).
Knee Minor Up to £11,730.00 Includes soft tissue injuries (recovery within a few months), a twisted knee, lacerations, or bruising resulting in discomfort or pain.
Knee Moderate £22,340.00 to £37,070.00 Includes: seriously damaged kneecaps, ligaments, or muscles, dislocation, a torn meniscus, acceleration injuries (over several years), resulting in ongoing discomfort or pain.
Knee Severe £44,470.00 to £82,080.00 Covers constant pain, severe disability, or muscle wastage. Higher compensation if need for surgery or injury effects quality of life.
Ankle Minor Up to £11,730.00 Smaller fractures, but bone has not been displaced. May include sprains, injured ligaments (likely leads to scarring). Smaller injuries can allow for full recovery within a year, without any scarring.
Ankle Moderate £11,730.00 to £42,710.00 Includes ligament tears, fractures, leading to smaller disabilities while standing/moving. Increased risk of osteoarthritis. Operation/cast needed. May lead to inability to work or call for special footwear.
Ankle Severe £42,710.00 to £59,480.00 Severe injury resulting in deformities, disabilities, or even amputation of the body part down the line.
Achilles Minor £6,200.00 to £10,750.00 Minor instability due to tendon damage around the ankle. Some more severe cases might involve scarring.
Achilles Moderate £10,750.00 to £17,970.00 More serious injury and partially ruptured tendon. More severe cases tend to involve disability and/or permanent scarring.
Achilles Severe £21,320.00to £32,780.00 Restricted movement of the ankle due to severed muscle tissue. Small likelihood of further improvement of limp and residual scarring.
Foot Minor Up to £11,730.00 Includes: minor fractures, lacerations or contusions (with complete recovery within 2 years), ruptured ligaments or other puncture wounds that result in chronic pain or a permanent limp.
Foot Moderate £11,730.00 to £59,730.00 Includes: metatarsal fractures resulting in permanent deformity and ongoing symptoms, fractured heels (both), restricted mobility, degloving and heel fusion.
Foot Severe £71,640.00 to £171,920.00 Injury needing amputation of one/both feet or traumatic amputation of the forefoot (to prevent need for complete amputation).
Toe Minor Up to £8,190.00 One or more broken toes with a varying recovery period. Compensation depends on presence of long-term symptoms and speed of recovery.
Toe Moderate £8,190.00 to £11,730.00 Multiple fractures, crush injuries to two/more toes, permanent disability. May have involved unsuccessful past operations.
Toe Severe £11,730.00 to £47,830.00 Severe crush injuries leading to less/surgical amputation of one or two toes (not including the big toe), amputation of all toes or the big toe.

The claim process

We are completely transparent with our clients. Not only do you know exactly how we’re representing you, you’ll also know exactly where you are in the claim process.

Consultation

Get impartial no win no fee legal guidance with a free initial no-obligation consultation.

On your side

We’ll use our experience and expertise to build the strongest legal argument for your claim.

Supporting your claim

Including medical assessments to ensure your claim is valued correctly.

Litigation

We negotiate the maximum amount of compensation for you, representing you in court if needed.

Car accidents and serious injury

If you have been seriously injured as a result of a car crash, this may have myriad impacts on your life. You may no longer be able to work in your chosen profession, or take part in your hobbies. We will consider all of these factors when dealing with your claim, and be sensitive to your needs.

Do you have to have a medical exam?

Doctors may need to review your medical history for more serious claims. You can request that your medical history be kept private, providing you have a good case to do so.

Even if you have a pre-existing condition, you can still claim. Doctors will need to examine you to determine how the car accident affected your overall health, or impacted any existing conditions.

If you do not claim until after you have healed, you will still need a medical report. This provides useful evidence when processing your claim. We will recommend our trusted professionals to give you an accurate, unbiased report.

Will I have to go to court?

We will do everything in our power to ensure you do not need to attend court yourself. Even in circumstances where court proceedings are needed, our solicitors will endeavour to represent you outside of court.

If your claim is disputed, you may have to attend court as a last resort. You will be asked to provide evidence of your injuries, any financial losses, and your own account of the accident. We appreciate that this can be stressful, which is why we will fight to stop this from happening – and have your legal costs covered where possible.

Common car accident injuries

One of the commonest car accident injuries is whiplash, which is a neck injury caused by sudden movements. Other potential injuries include:

  • Cuts, grazes and scrapes
  • Broken bones
  • Herniated discs
  • Internal bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Spinal injuries
  • Head trauma.

Your total compensation amount will be judged based on the severity of your injury, and the lasting impacts it has on your life.

Claiming for a child in car accident

If a child is injured in a car accident, you may be able to represent them as a ‘litigation friend’. You’ll need to be a parent or guardian to proceed with this claim, or a legally trained representative.

Those without legal training are called a ‘lay representative’ and can represent the child in court. Those with training are called ‘McKenzie friends’, and can offer moral support throughout proceedings.

If you’re acting on somebody’s behalf, you should follow up the claim as if you had been affected yourself – collecting as much evidence as possible.

Frequently asked questions about claiming compensation for a car accident

Can I claim for car accident caused by road conditions?

If a poorly maintained road causes an accident, for example excessive potholes, you may be able to claim. In this case, your claim would be against a local council or the Highways Agency, and we would need to prove that there was no record of adequate inspection.

Can I claim if the other driver was uninsured?

If the accident was the fault of an uninsured driver, you may be able to claim through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. This organisation is there to help people in cases such as this, or for other claims like cycling accidents. We can approach the MIB on your behalf.

Can I claim if it was a work-related car accident?

If the accident was your fault, your employer will be liable to pay any damages. However, your employer may contest this if you broke any employment agreements, such as allowing uninsured drivers to use the car. If the accident was not your fault, you can pursue a compensation claim as normal. We will be acting on behalf of your employer for vehicle damages, and you for any physical injuries.

What are split liability car accident claims?

If you’ve been in an accident on public transport that wasn’t your fault, you can make a personal injury claim in the same way. In these cases, we would be claiming against the organisation rather than individuals. Please be advised that these claims may take longer, as larger organisations may dispute the fault of their employees.

Can I claim for a car accident caused by animal?

If the animal is owned, for example a household pet or microchipped livestock, then you may be able to claim compensation against the owner. The owner may dispute the claim if they feel you were at fault. Claims against wild animals are unlikely to win, as they cannot be considered negligent.

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