Solicitors Guide to Understanding Road Traffic Accident Claims

Posted on: 16 mins read
Susan Vanden

Partner, Road Traffic Accident Technical Manager

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No matter where you are in the world, road traffic accidents are unfortunately inevitable, and they happen every single day. According to Brake, The Road Safety Charity, five people lose their life on the road in the UK, and 82 are seriously injured. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, you could be able to make a claim for compensation. 

Being involved in a road traffic accident can have a massive impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Whether you were the driver of a motorbike or a car, or whether you were a passenger, you might be able to make a claim for compensation. 

Simpson Millar’s team of expert Road Traffic Accident Solicitors can help you claim compensation to help you start healing and rebuilding your life again. 

Dealing with the consequences of a Road Traffic Accident can be really hard, especially if you’re having to consider the price of recovery, care and rehabilitation. That’s where claiming compensation is there to help – the system is set up to make sure you can get the support you need. Our Solicitors here to help with exactly that.

What Types of Road Traffic Injuries Could I Claim For?

After being in a road traffic accident, you could be left with multiple different injuries, which can have a severe impact on you and your quality of life. If the road traffic accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to suffer through this. 

At Simpson Millar, our team will get an independent medical professional to assess your injuries and create a report. We’ll also aid you in getting whatever kind of specialist care or rehabilitation you need because of your injuries. 

We’re here to help you make a claim for compensation for a wide range of injuries. These include: 

  • Spinal injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Fractured bones
  • Paralysis
  • Brain and head injuries
  • Amputation and much more

Whatever injury you unfortunately suffer as a result of your road traffic accident, we know it can have a massive effect on your life. Get in touch with our team of Road Traffic Accident Lawyers to learn more about how we can help. 

Should I Make a Compensation Claim for my Road Traffic Accident?

If you’ve been in a Road Traffic Accident, the first reason to make a claim is very simple: to get justice. You might have been seriously injured and it might not have been your fault – if this is the case, a claim recognises and understands this. When you make your claim – if it’s successful – you’ll get access to the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Whether it covers your care, accommodation or any other type of treatment or need that you have, the compensation money is there to help you. 

In addition, if you claim compensation for your Road Traffic Accident, it could help to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. For example, if your accident was due to poor work or practices, if you claim compensation, this could result in changes being made.

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Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

Figuring out who exactly is at fault for a car accident is essential if you’re looking to claim compensation – but we understand that, in a lot of cases, this can be difficult. That’s why it’s worth working out whether or not the other driver made a mistake, or if they breached the Highway Code in some way.

Even if you were partly responsible for the car accident, you may still be able to claim compensation, as long as you can prove that the other driver also contributed, and that this was responsible for any injuries you’ve sustained.

What Should You Do if you’ve Been in a Car Accident?

There are lots of steps you can take to improve your chances of getting the highest possible amount of compensation if you’ve been injured as a result of a road traffic accident.

Get Medical Help Straight Away

Your immediate priority after suffering injuries in a road traffic accident should be to get medical attention, as a medical expert can tell you exactly what injuries you’ve sustained and what treatment you may need.  This is important after a road traffic accident, because some of your injuries could be worse than you think. In addition, medical practitioners will keep records of your injuries in great detail, as well as the treatment you had and the dates they saw you – and this can be crucial when you’re putting together a claim for compensation.

Get as Much Evidence as Possible

Although it might not be possible, depending on how severe the accident was and what injuries you have, it’s a good idea to collect as much evidence as you can whilst you’re still at the scene. This can include the other driver’s vehicle registration number, insurance and contact details, photos of the location at the time of the accident and photos of damage to any vehicles that were involved in the accident.

Report Your Accident to the Police

A police report is a critical piece of information, as this provides a further record of the circumstances of the accident, and when and where it took place.

Take Photos of Your Injuries

Some of the injuries you sustain in a road traffic accident, such as bruises, can heal very quickly, so it’s worth taking photos as soon as you can, so you have a permanent record of what your condition was immediately after the accident.

Keep Documents and Receipts

It can prove costly to put your life back together after you’ve been in a road traffic accident, with expenses like taxi fares to medical and hospital appointments, as well as paying for any modifications you’ve had to make to your home if you’ve been left with a disability.

In addition, you could be dealing with a loss of income or earnings, because injuries sustained in road traffic accidents often leave people unable to work. It’s a good idea to keep track of the costs and expenses you’re having to incur , so your Solicitor can factor this into the valuation of your claim.

Log Details of Care Provided by Friends and Family

Your injuries might have left you struggling to do basic tasks at home like cooking meals, cleaning, getting dressed and doing the washing up, leaving you relying on your friends or  relatives to do this for you.

A lot of the time, the tasks they’re doing to help you out are above and beyond the level of care you’d need if the accident hadn’t of happened. It’s important to note that this type of care and support could be included in your claim.

So, you should keep a detailed record of what type of care you’ve been given by friends and relatives and how long this went on for.

Don’t Immediately Accept a Compensation Offer

You could be tempted to settle your claim as quickly as possible without going through a Road Traffic Accident Solicitor, and instead by dealing with the other driver’s insurer. However, you most likely won’t get the full amount of compensation you deserve and are entitled to. 

This is because it’s in the interest of the other driver’s insurer to settle the claim for a low sum. However, a specialist Solicitor will be able to complete an in-depth investigation into the full impact the accident has had on your life. Due to this, they’ll be able to calculate a more fair compensation sum that meets all your needs.

Did the Other Driver Make a Mistake?

A car driver could be seen as negligent by the law if they were committing an offence when the accident happened. For example, the driver may have:

  • Skipped a red light
  • Been travelling at excessive speed
  • Pulled out without looking
  • Not checked their mirror before making a manoeuvre
  • Acted out of road rage
  • Racing with another car
  • Stolen a vehicle and caused a collision in a police chase
  • Been drunk/ or under the influence of drugs
  • Lost control
  • Run over a pedestrian by failing to stop at a crossing
  • Run over a pedestrian by mounting the pavement/kerb

In many instances, it’s hard to prove that any of the above took place. However, witness statements documented by the police can prove invaluable in establishing the chain of events . If the police have collected contact details of any of these witnesses, our team of Car Accident Claims Solicitors could be able to get more information and a testimony from them if this is necessary, to support your claim.

To succeed with a car accident claim, you need to be able to demonstrate that your injuries resulted from the accident.  This is called causation, and either a doctor’s report or your medical records should be able to establish whether your injuries and issues were there before the car accident, or if the accident caused them.

Making a conviction

The other driver may have been convicted of breaching the rules of the road, receiving points on their licence and/or a fine for their offence. This can help to prove in a car accident claim that the other driver was negligent.

Just because the other driver involved in the accident hasn’t been convicted yet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t already start your claim, whether it’s on your behalf or on the behalf of your family member. 

Furthermore, did you know that even if the criminal proceedings are dropped or are unsuccessful, that is not a bar to a successful injury claim because it does not mean that the other driver was not negligent? It just means that the other driver was not responsible for committing a criminal offence.

Typical offences are:

  • Driving without due care and attention
  • Causing serious injury by careless driving
  • Causing death by careless driving
  • Causing serious injury by dangerous driving
  • Causing death by dangerous driving
  • Driving whilst unfit through drink and drugs
  • Causing death whilst no policy of insurance is held

Do Car Accident Claims Go to Court?

The majority of car and vehicular accident claims are settled outside of Court, usually because the evidence of fault, also known as liability, is evident – or, it might not be in the other party’s interests to dispute the claim.

As of June 2023 it was recorded that only 3% of personal injury claims in the UK go to Court, and car accident claims represent just a fraction of these.  So, if you’re feeling stressed or anxious about the idea of having to go to Court and gattend a  Trial for your case, chances are you probably won’t have to.

Even in the event that there is a dispute around who was liable for the accident, or if both parties cannot decide on a settlement amount and a date for a Trial is set, your case could still be settled in advance of the trial date – and this often happens.

Our national team of Road Traffic Accident Solicitors have many years of experience in helping clients successfully claim substantial amounts of compensation.

How Much Compensation Could I Claim for an RTA?

How much compensation you receive in your successful car accident claim depends on the personal injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. Generally, this means that, if your injuries are more severe, you will likely be able to claim for and settle on a higher amount of compensation. 

Personal injury compensation exists to try to get you back to where you were before the accident happened. So as Personal Injury Solicitors, it’s our job to make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation and rehabilitation support you’re entitled to by law.

Average General Damages Compensation Payouts

Brain/Head Injury

Minor - A full recovery within a few weeks - £1,940 to £11,200

Moderate - Small risk of epilepsy, concentration and memory are affected, ability to work is reduced, intellectual deficit, personality changes and senses/speech affected - £13,430 to £37,760

Severe -  A low amount of response to the surrounding area and environment, low or no language function, needing around-the-clock nursing care, experiencing double incontinence - £247,280 to £354,260

Neck Injury

Minor - Soft tissue injuries (whiplash) that are resolved in three months to two years - A few hundred pounds to £6,920

Moderate – Suffering fractures and/or dislocations, disc lesion, wrenching-type injuries, as well as injuries which have accelerated and/or exacerbated pre-existing injuries - £6,920 to £33,750

Severe - Serious fractures, paraplegia, substantial loss of movement in the neck, loss of function in limbs, severe headaches - £39,870 to £130,060

Back Injury

Minor - Strains, sprains, disc prolapses and soft tissues injuries that are resolved in three months to five years - A few hundred pounds to £10,970

Moderate - Moderate residual disability with pain and discomfort.  Perhaps a need for surgery. The acceleration and/or the exacerbation or worsening of already existing injuries - £10,970 - £34,000

Severe - Damage to spinal cord and nerve roots leading to chronic conditions and dysfunction - £34,000 to £141.150

Shoulder Injury

Minor - Soft tissue injuries with almost complete recovery in three months to two years - A few hundred pounds to £6,920

Moderate - Soft tissue injuries/frozen shoulder with symptoms lasting more than two years - £6,920 to £11,200

Severe - Dislocation, damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus causing symptoms, fractured humerus leading to restricted shoulder movement - £11,200 to £16,830

Arm Injury

Minor - Simple fractures of the forearm - £5,810 to £16.830

Moderate - Serious fractures of the forearm with significant permanent residual disability – either functional or cosmetic - £31,220 to £52,490

Severe - Serious injuries that cause a total loss of function - £84,310 to £114,810

Pelvis and Hip Injury

Minor - Minor soft tissue injuries with complete recovery, or injuries with little or no residual disability - Up to £3,460 to £11,040

Moderate - Significant injury to pelvis or hip but permanent disability isn’t major - £11,040 to 4,340

Severe - Extensive fractures and dislocation - £34,340 to £114,810

Leg Injury

Minor - Simple Fractures Up to £10,380 to £24,340 - Up to £10,380 to £24,340

Moderate - Severe injuries short of amputation - £24,340 to £119,210

Severe - Below the knee/above the knee amputation of one or both legs - £85,910 to £247,280

There are other types of personal injury which the Judicial College Guidelines cover. These include:

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Amputation
  • Brain / Head injuries
  • Damage to upper body limbs, including wrists, elbows, hands and fingers
  • Damage to lower body limbs, including ankles, knees, feet and toes
  • Injuries affecting the senses
  • Psychiatric and psychological damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Scarring Facial injuries

Special Damages

In addition to General Damages, you’re entitled to claim the out-of-pocket expenses known as Special Damages which were incurred as a result of the road traffic accident.  This could include the loss of earnings you’ve sustained, the help you now need from friends and family, known as care and assistance, treatment costs, travel expenses, and medication.

This compensation can cover:

  • Any lost earnings or income
  • Damage to your car, motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle
  • Damage to personal property – such as a mobile phone, satnav, laptop, child car seats, motorcycle or cycling clothing, and helmets
  • Rehabilitation and any other treatment you need
  • Extra costs, such as prescription charges and taxi fares
  • Care and assistance provided by friends and relatives
  • Home modifications (or the cost of suitable property) if you're left with a disability
  • Any other aides or modifications you need to your home, car, or motorcycle

Your Personal Injury Solicitor calculate the amount of Special Damages by adding together all the finances you’ve lost. This will entirely depend on your own personal circumstances.  For example, if you cannot work anymore due to the road traffic accident and the injuries you’ve sustained because of it, you will get more compensation for Special Damages than someone who can still work after their accident.

What is the Time Limit on Making an RTA Claim?

If you live in either England or Wales, you have three years from the date of your accident to make a Road Traffic Accident claim.

However, it’s essential to start making your claim as soon as possible. This way, we will be able to have more time to build your case with you, without any worrying time pressures or deadlines. In addition, if you start earlier, and if we collect any witness statements, they’re more likely to remember the details of what happened.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions, in extenuating circumstances. For example, if a child is the victim of an RTA, you can claim for them when they’re still under 18. If you don’t, they then have 3 years from the date of their18th birthday to claim compensation.

What Does the RTA Claims Process Look Like?

  1. The Free Claims Assessment: At this first stage, we’ll talk to you so that we can understand what has happened to you. We’ll assess your claim for free, at which point we’ll be able to tell you if we will take on your claim. If we decide to do so, we could take on your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
  2. We Gather the Evidence: Once we’ve done the Free Claims Assessment, we’ll begin to collate all the evidence we can find to spoort your claim, whether that’s eyewitness statements, photos from the scene of the accident, photos of your injuries from the scene, or something else.
  3. We’ll Figure Out Who’s at Fault: We’ll then investigate  to figure out who was liable for what happened to you.
  4. We’ll Get You a Medical Report: We will then instructan independent medical expert to assess your injuries. They will create a report, which will help us understand the effect the injuries have had on your life.
  5. We’ll Calculate How Much you Can Claim: We’ll consider  all of the information and evidence we have, and we’ll calculate how much compensation you could claim for. We’ll keep you updated about this figure at all points during your case.
  6. We Will Settle Your Claim: We always want to get your claimed settled without anyone having to go to Court. Before everything is settled, we could look into getting you interim payments to help you cover urgent care, if needed. When it comes to settling, we’ll be in your corner at all times, negotiating the right sum for you to reflect your injuries and the consequences of your Road Traffic Accident.

How Long Will a Road Traffic Accident Claim Take?

Each case is different so it’s impossible for us to say exactly how long your claim will take. Straightforward cases can settle within as little as a few months, whereas more complex claims have taken several years. Sometimes, a straightforward claim can turn into a more complicated case because a person’s injury has gotten worse over time. Contact our Road Traffic Solicitors and we can offer a free claims assessment for your claim.

How Simpson Millar Can Help

At Simpson Millar, out team of RTA Solicitors are national leaders in their area. We’re also part of the Motor Accidents Solicitors Society, promoting high-standard legal services. 

When it comes to injuries, we understand that everyone is different, meaning we always tailor our services to your particular situation and needs. 

When you contact us, we’ll ask you to walk us through how the accident took place and how the resulting injuries have impacted your life. We’ll assess your case and let you know whether you can make a claim. 

We have a track record in getting all the evidence we need to get you the best compensation settlement possible. If your injuries from your Road Traffic Accident were especially bad, we might be able to help you access specialist rehab and medical care. 

Call us today on 0808 239 6443 and let our team help you.


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Government of the United Kingdom. (2023). Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly: April to June 2023. Retrieved from

Simpson Millar LLP. (n.d.). £515,000 Compensation Awarded After Serious Car Accident. Retrieved from

Practical Law UK. (n.d.). Judicial. Retrieved from

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Susan Vanden

Partner, Road Traffic Accident Technical Manager

Areas of Expertise:
Road Traffic Accidents

Susan specialises in managing road traffic accident cases, and mainly represents pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists in multi-track cases, as well as clients who have developed chronic pain syndrome and sustained organic injuries.

She also supports junior members of staff across the department.

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