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How to Claim Injury Compensation for Passengers in Car Accidents

Injury compensation for passengers in car accidents can often result in a significantly higher sum than settlements of compensation extended to drivers who may have been injured in the same road traffic accident. This is because of the fact that passengers in car accidents often do not receive the split-second opportunity to prepare themselves for the impact of a collision, and – as passengers are often women and children – they may have weaker neck muscles which can result in more substantial injuries.

Passenger compensation eligibility following a car accident is often strong due to the fact that passengers are seldom to blame for causing the accident. Nonetheless this does not mean that passenger compensation for a car crash is easy to claim, and there is the danger that a claimant may be under-compensated if it is incorrectly judged that two people who have received identical injuries in the same accident are entitled to the same amount of compensation.

Liability for a Passenger’s Injury

Before seeking injury compensation for passengers in car accidents, it is important to know who was at fault for the accident. Passengers are most frequently injured in car accidents due to rear-end collisions and accidents which were due to the negligence of another road user. However compensation can also be claimed in situations where the passenger was travelling in the vehicle of the driver who was responsible for the accident.

If this is the situation, a potential claimant may find it difficult to initiate a claim if the driver is a family member or friend – particularly when the driver has also sustained an injury. If this is the case it is important to remember that the passenger claim procedure is initiated against the insurance company of the negligent party, and is not a personal claim against the driver.

A passenger may also be able to seek passenger compensation for a car crash if the accident happened as a result of an inadequately maintained road. It is possible that this was the only vehicle involved in the accident, in which case the local council, utility company or private landowner will be held liable for the injuries which have been sustained.

The Initial Passenger Claim Procedure Following an Accident

The initial passenger claim procedure may have already been partially or fully completed if you are contemplating injury compensation for passengers in car accidents. The driver of the vehicle in which you were travelling may have gathered evidence already or has reported the accident to the relevant parties on his/her own account. If this is the case, the evidence and reports may be shared.

If you need further clarification as to whether a procedure has already been/needs to be completed, it is recommended that you consult with a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Failure to acquire medical attention following an accident may not only have an adverse long-term effect upon your health, but could also affect your passenger compensation eligibility. In this case, it should be your immediate priority to summon an ambulance or attend the accident and emergency department of the nearest hospital following a car accident.

If a record of your injuries does not exist within your medical history, you will not be able to back up any claim of passenger compensation for a car crash. If you only received first aid at the scene of the accident or nursed your injuries upon reaching home, you should make an appointment to visit your GP immediately and have your injuries recorded.

While your compensation claim will be strengthened with evidence of negligence, the contact details of anybody who witnessed the accident and the registration and insurance of those involved in the accident, failure to seek professional medical attention will damage your passenger compensation eligibility and likelihood of compensation.

Log a Report When you are Able to Do So

If you were not in a position to perform post-accident formalities due to your injuries – and they have not been completed by a driver or other passenger – you still have the opportunity to log a report to the police if they are not already aware of the accident, and note your accident in their “Accident Report Book”.

If the driver who caused your accident and injury is unknown, the police may trace them via CCTV footage or roadside traffic cameras. If a negligent driver has fled the scene of an accident, deliberately failing to provide insurance details, this could be due to an uninsured driver. If this is the case, the police will have additional reason to seek the negligent driver in question.

In the event that the driver who caused your injuries was uninsured, passenger compensation eligibility may still apply. Your claim will be made against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which was established for the purpose of providing compensation to those who have been injured on account of the negligent actions of an uninsured or untraceable driver.

Claiming Injury Compensation for Passengers in Car Accidents

There is a set passenger claim procedure to follow when claiming injury compensation for passengers in car accidents. A “Letter of Claim” will be sent to the insurance company of the driver being held liable for your injuries. If the driver is uninsured or untraceable the letter will be sent to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, or to the local council/utility company/third party if the accident was on account of poor road maintenance. This letter will be sent along with evidence you may have which could support your claim for passenger compensation for a car crash.

Twenty-one days are given to the insurance company to reply to the letter, after which they have ninety days to accept or reject responsibility for the negligent actions of their policyholder which resulted in your injuries. If the insurers accept liability – and you are fully aware of the consequences of your injury – negotiations will begin between your solicitor and the insurers in order to ensure you receive the highest compensation amount possible for your claim.

Should the insurance company reject liability for your injuries, your solicitor may initiate court proceedings if necessary. Doing so could provoke the insurance company to seek a settlement of the case, as they are wary of being responsible for both your court costs and their own should your claim for passenger compensation for a car crash be successful. If an unsolicited offer of compensation is made directly to you, you should inform your solicitor immediately as any subsequent passenger compensation eligibility may be forfeited.

Amounts of Injury Compensation for Passengers in Car Accidents

The amount of injury compensation for passengers in car accidents to which you may be entitled will be determined by the injuries themselves, their seriousness and the impact they have had upon your life. As mentioned previously, passengers can be entitled to a much higher amount of compensation than drivers, and each claim should therefore be analysed on its own values.

General damages will be determined by the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages – a publication which lists a selection of injuries and how much passenger compensation for a car crash you may be entitled to based upon previous settlements of compensation for passengers in car accidents.

This provisional amount will then be adjusted according to your age, gender and state of health before the car accident. The passenger claim procedure can also include “loss of amenity” compensation if you can no longer perform day-to-day tasks or partake in social events and leisure activities due to your injuries.

It is recommended that you keep a diary during this period. This will enable you to take note of any situations where you could not partake in normal events on account of your injuries, and your feelings on the matter. This will assist the passenger claim procedure for compensation for assessing any emotional trauma you may have suffered on account of the accident itself or during the recovery period. You may also be eligible for expenses or lost income which has occurred because of the injuries you have suffered as a result of your car accident.

Note: Passenger compensation eligibility can be affected if you were the passenger in a car and you knew the driver was not insured or was intoxicated. If this driver subsequently caused an accident which resulted in your injury, you may still initiate the passenger claim procedure. However this could have an effect on the amount of compensation to which you may be eligible, as you were aware that a risk was being taken.

Unsolicited Offers of Compensation

The process of seeking injury compensation for passengers in car accidents can be disrupted when an insurance company has been made aware that their client is liable for an accident in which you have been injured. This can be due to your solicitor’s Letter of Claim or after they were told so by their client. As a result you may receive a direct approach from the insurance company with an offer of compensation for your injuries.

There is a strong likelihood that the compensation being offered for your injuries was calculated while the full extent of your injuries was still unknown. These offers are often made when you are in a highly vulnerable state, and they may appear to be highly welcome when offered to you. However if you accept an offer which later transpires to be inadequate for your personal needs, your passenger compensation eligibility to receive further funding will be non-existent.

If your financial situation is of immediate concern, your solicitor may be able to organise interim compensation payments until your claim of passenger compensation for a car crash has been fully resolved to your benefit.

Further Advice on the Passenger Claim Procedure

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an accident in which you were a passenger, you may be entitled to injury compensation for passengers in car accidents. If you believe this to be the case, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor experienced with claiming passenger compensation for a car crash. Many solicitors will provide a free initial consultation, and if your case is strong enough you may be offered representation on a “No Win, No Fee” arrangement.

Please note:-

  • Claiming injury compensation for passengers in car accidents is possible even when the passenger was travelling in the same car as the negligent driver
  • Claims for passenger compensation for a car crash will be settled by the insurance company of the negligent party, or by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau if the driver is uninsured or untraceable
  • Passenger compensation eligibility can be affected if a passenger was aware that they were taking a risk in entering the vehicle
  • The first step in the passenger claim procedure should always be to seek immediate medical attention, which is more important than the gathering of details for a claim
  • The compensation amount to which you are entitled will be established upon your injuries and their extent
  • Unsolicited compensation offers should always be referred to your solicitor before acceptance

It is crucial to remember that no two claims for passengers injured in a car accident are the same, and therefore if you have been the victim as a passenger in a car accident due to the negligence of another party, it is recommended that you contact a solicitor with the specific details of your case at the first available opportunity.