Can I make a claim if I was a passenger In a car accident? How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

Can I make a claim if I was a passenger In A car accident? How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

Whilst cars are improving in crash test results and roads are becoming ever safer it is a fact that every year thousands of people are involved in road traffic accidents. And if you are an innocent passenger, injured through absolutely no fault of your own it can be especially galling. Passengers have very little control over the circumstances of their accident. They are unable to take evasive action. And, as they are not interacting with the traffic outside, they are often injured unexpectedly meaning they haven’t had time to brace for impact or shield themselves leading to more serious injuries, leading to passenger accident claims.

If you have been in a car, van, bus, lorry or other vehicle as a passenger and suffered injuries as the result of an accident you can seek compensation. By talking to a company such as ourselves, with friendly solicitors who have 30 years of experience in compensation claims, including passenger accident claims, you can make the process as smooth and hassle free as possible.

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Your guide to claiming for compensation as a passenger

Passenger Accident Claims Guide

Passenger Accident Claims Guide

According to Government Figures on Reported road accidents there were 136,621 reported road traffic accidents in 2016, of which 1,695 were fatal. The circumstances surrounding an accident can be complicated. Multiple insurance companies can be involved and there may be police investigations if criminal activity is suspected. This means that you need to take advice from someone with the experience and knowledge of passenger claims to guide you through the minefield that making a claim as a passenger can become.

Who is responsible for your injuries?

One of the primary issues that needs to be resolved is who you are actually claiming against in passenger claims. Who caused the accident and to what extent could the accident have been avoided?

There are several possibilities:

  • The driver of the vehicle you were travelling in.
  • The driver of another vehicle responsible for the accident.
  • The owner of the road
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle you were travelling in
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle that caused the accident

Some accidents leading to passenger accident claims are clearly the fault of one individual. A driver makes a simple mistake, for example they fail to stop when the car in front does because they are travelling too close for the speed of traffic. Others are caused by a complicated sequence of events, for example when an accident in traffic travelling in the other direction crosses into the lane you are travelling in.

The conditions of the road can have an impact both on the likelihood that an accident will occur and on the types of injuries sustained. A severe pothole could jar your back, causing damage to the spine or poor lighting could make it harder for drivers to avoid each other.

Finally, cars, for all their modern technology and improved build quality, are sometimes faulty. If a design flaw contributed to the accident or to your injuries, then you may be able to claim against a car manufacturer for compensation.

Can my passenger sue me?

You are responsible for your passenger’s safety whilst they are in your car, so you may be liable for their injuries if it can be shown that you failed to ensure that they were safe. So, if you were in the wrong, can my passenger sue me will likely be answered with a firm ‘Yes”. Typically, it will be your insurance company that will deal with the passenger accident claims and they will pay compensation as part of your claim with them.

What your liability is can become extremely complicated. If you’re asking can a passenger sue a not at fault driver, then the answer depends on the situation. If your passenger is found to have not been wearing a seatbelt then whether you provided one, whether you knew if it was broken, or whether they had suddenly decided to remove it to take their jumper off just before the accident occurred will all have a bearing on to what extent you are liable for their injuries in passenger accident claims.

If you have been involved in a car accident as a driver and wondering in a car accident that’s my fault can I claim personal injury, then there are circumstances where you can indeed put in a claim. If you are unsure what your legal liabilities are for a passenger whiplash claim, then you should seek legal advice without delay.

Can I claim against foreign drivers?

We hear stories about unpaid speeding fines incurred by foreign drivers so it is natural to assume that accidents involving foreign registered cars or foreign licensed drivers would be even more complicated to deal with as passenger accident claims.

All cars driven the UK have to meet certain standards which includes the insurance that the driver covers for accidents they cause (third-party insurance). Since 1953 we have been a member of the Green Card system whereby a foreign driver can indicate that they are fully insured in their home country.

The Motor Insurers Bureau will deal with compensation for passenger accident claims involving foreign drivers and will be able to liaise with the driver’s insurance agents.

How can I claim if the driver is uninsured?

Another function of the Motor Insurers Bureau is the run the uninsured driver’s compensation scheme. All drivers pay into the scheme as part of their annual premiums. If the driver responsible for the accident is untraceable or uninsured you will be able to file a claim against the fund for your compensation.

What to do if you are involved in a road traffic accident?

The Highway Code Rule 283 offers advice in the immediate aftermath of an accident including using hazard warning lights to alert other driver’s to the incident, turning off engines and avoiding smoking to minimise the risk of explosion, calling emergency services if needed and not removing injured persons from their vehicles unless they are in danger.

Once the immediate area has been made safe your health should always be of paramount importance, so it is important to be checked up as soon as possible. Some injuries can result in much more severe consequences if not treated promptly.  If you think that you may wish to pursue a claim for compensation then there are a number of steps you can take which can speed up processing of your claim and ensure you are eligible for the maximum amount.

If you are able to then take photographs of the accident, the car you were travelling in, the area surrounding the accident, and of any visible injuries you sustain. These will be much more valuable to passenger accident claims if taken immediately. But do not put yourself in further danger in order to obtain such evidence.

Write down your version of events before you forget what happened. The bare minimum should include the time of day, the date, the weather conditions, what you were doing just before the accident and if you noticed anything unusual prior to the accident. Notes about when you noticed pain or injury are also helpful. Memories can become corrupted by time and speaking to others so the sooner you do this the more accurate your point of view will be.

Gather contact details of anyone else involved in the accident. Drivers will need to provide insurance details. Ask pedestrians and anyone else involved in the accident if they will provide a statement and take their details.

Make sure to speak to the authorities. Many road traffic accidents result in a police call out to deal with the aftermath and investigate what happened. If this is the case, then their reports will also be helpful as evidence in your claim. All road traffic accidents that result in injury should be reported to the police within 24 hours.

The more evidence you can gather the stronger your passenger in car accident compensation claim will be. This will ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries instead of relying on a generic assessment based on the type of injury you report.

Claims from passengers in cars

It can be bewildering trying to work out for yourself who was responsible for your accident. It is a natural part of the recovery process to pass through a stage where you blame everyone – including yourself.  In the UK it is the law that drivers must have appropriate third-party insurance to cover damage and injury that they cause. Which means it is probably going to be an insurance company that will ultimately pay your passenger accident claims compensation.

However, it is essential that you take professional advice to ensure you know who to claim from and to guide you through the whole claims process.

Claims from passengers on public transport

Road traffic accidents are not restricted to private cars. You could have been a passenger in a taxi, bus, tram or coach. Passenger accident claims involving vehicles could also involve trains or ferries in exceptional circumstances.

The main difference with claims involving public transport is that you may be dealing with an entire organisation rather than a specific individual. When filing a claim you will still need to have all the details of which vehicle and driver was involved, even if their employer is dealing with the claim filed against them as a whole.

Passenger Accident Statistics

Passenger Accident Statistics

Passenger Accident Statistics


How to get started

Once you have decided to make a compensation claim your first step is to take expert advice. With over 30 years of experience in compensation claims of all types our friendly team, backed up by specialist solicitors, we can talk you through the process and advise you of the likelihood of success. If you have questions such as ‘How much money can a passenger in a car accident get?’ ‘How do I know if an accident was my fault’ or ‘How much is the average payout for whiplash’ then simply call us to gain more information.

Your first passenger accident claims consultation with us will be free and will give you the chance to ask questions about your claim and the whole process of making passenger accident claims. We operate on No Win No Fee basis for passenger accident claims so if we think your claim is not valid we will advise you of that as soon as we can.

Each claim is different as no two accidents are comparable. However we have put together a brief guide to what areas you can claim for and a rough estimate of how much you might be entitled to.

What can I claim as a passenger?

There are a number of areas that you can claim damages for in passenger accident claims. Very simply you shouldn’t be left out of pocket for an accident which was not your fault and for expenses you, therefore, did not expect to pay.  Regardless of whether the car you were in was responsible for the accident or not or whether you were a bus passenger, taxi passenger or on a tram you might be pleasantly surprised at what compensation you can claim for.

  • General damages are what most people would think of when discussing compensation for car passengers. The general damages section of your claim includes an amount for your injuries as detailed in the next section as well as pain and suffering for passenger injury.
  • Care is often necessary following an accident. If you suffer broken limbs or extensive muscle damage you may be unable to care for yourself and require assistance at home. The amount payable is related to the type and quantity of care you require and includes any nursing care you may receive in your home.
  • Loss of Earnings covers you for the amount you have lost in pay following the accident. It can also cover the impact of your accident on your future earning potential. For example if you are a builder and, following an accident in which you were a passenger, can no longer sustain the physical effort necessary to continue in that line of work you would be able to claim for future earnings.
  • Travel Expenses includes all expenses related to travel incurred because of your accident. It usually includes such items as fuel for driving to extra doctor or hospital appointments.
  • Medical Expenses covers healthcare related costs such as medication. It could include use of private medical facilities and provision of aids such as wheelchairs as needed following your accident.

We will assist you in ascertaining which section of your claim you can claim damages under. Different injuries come with different complications and consequences so it is essential that you take professional advice before filing a claim to ensure you claim everything you are entitled to.

Types of injuries

Depending on the speed of the cars involved in the accident you can sustain almost any injury with almost any severity. However, there are certain injuries that are far more likely in a car accident due to the fact that you are seated and the way in which seatbelts restrain.

  • Whiplash is perhaps the most common injury that people associate with car accidents as it occurs during sudden braking when your head continues moving after your body has stopped. In passenger in car accident whiplash, the momentum of your head sprains the soft tissue in your neck causing pain and potential long-term damage. Correct use of head restraints can reduce the severity of whiplash suffered by preventing the head from stretching the neck backwards as well as forwards. It can present similar symptoms to other injuries so it is important that you are examined promptly.
  • Head injuries such as concussion can be caused by your head impacting on the interior of the car. Modern air bags aim to minimise the impact your head has to deal with, but it can still be severe enough to cause damage leading to symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and confusion.
  • Facial injuries can be sustained through incorrect impact with air bags or from broken windows or shards of metal. Facial injuries can not only be extremely painful and debilitating they can also impact on your whole future if they lead to scarring.
  • Neck injuries are easy to sustain in an accident. Internal damage – such as that caused by whiplash – can be coupled with external damage such as cuts and grazes.
  • Spinal injuries are some of the most serious injuries occurring as a result of car accidents. In certain situations, it is not the initial injury that is the danger but rather inappropriate treatment resulting in a worsening of your condition. The most serious spinal injuries are life changing and can result in partial or full temporary or permanent paralysis.
  • A broken pelvis is a particular injury caused due to the position in which you sit in a car. It can lead to difficulty walking and impaired sexual function.
  • Broken or crushed limbs are possible if you become trapped in the wreckage of the car or vehicle you are travelling in. Unsecured objects in the vehicle can also lead to impact injuries. In extreme cases a car accident can result in amputation.
  • Burns caused by fires due to chemical or fuel spills can also occur during or just after a car crash. If you are able to leave the vehicle and you smell leaking fuel you should do so as soon as possible. Friction burns from contact with upholstery or the other interior fabrics can also occur as can abrasions if you are thrown clear of the vehicle.

Thankfully not all of these injuries occur at the same time and most people are able to walk away from the scene of the accident. Injuries to the head, neck and spine can seem less severe initially so it is vitally important that you are examined following any accident involving moving vehicles.

Compensation estimates

No one can say for certain how much you will be awarded. Legal precedents are set however, which, coupled with our 30 years’ experience in the field of compensation claims, allows us to offer you a ballpark figure for the amount you could receive.

Shown below is part of a table indicating the compensation amounts payable for various injuries known to occur to passengers as a result of a car accident. The table does not list everything, and the amounts are only indications. The actual amount you receive will depend on the severity of your particular injuries. If you have any questions, feel free to call us for a no obligation chat about your situation.

Type of InjurySeverityCompensation Range
Shoulder InjuryMinorUp to £6,000
Shoulder InjuryModerate£6,000 - £9,700
Shoulder InjurySerious£9,700 - £14,600
Shoulder InjurySevere£14,600 - £36,500
Spinal Injury Causing ParalysisQuadriplegic£246,750 - £307,000
Spinal Injury Causing ParalysisParaplegic£166,500 - £216,000
Neck InjuryMinorUp to £6,000
Neck InjuryModerate£6,000 - £29,250
Neck InjurySerious£34,575 - £112,750
Arm InjuryModerate£14,600 - £29,800
Arm InjurySerious£29,800 - £45,500
Arm InjurySevere£73,100 - £99,500
Back InjuryMinorUp to £9,500
Back InjuryModerate£9,500 - £29,475
Back InjurySevere£29,475 - £122,350
Facial InjuriesMinor to Severe Jaw Injury£4,900 - £34,600
Facial InjuriesMinor to Severe Cheekbone Injury£1,775 - £12,000
Facial InjuriesMinor to Severe Tooth Damage£830 - £29,000
Leg InjuryModerate£21,100 - £29,800
Leg InjurySerious£29,800 - £41,675
Leg InjuryVery Serious£41,675 - £64,275
Leg InjurySevere£73,150 - £103,250
Brain InjuryMinor£1,675 - £9,700
Brain InjuryModerate£32,725 - £166,500
Brain InjurySevere£166,500 - £214,350
Brain InjuryVery Severe£214,350 - £307,000

Why choose

We know that picking up the pieces after even a minor accident can be difficult. You have a lot of questions that you want answering and you need to know that you are dealing with someone who cares about you. You want someone who is dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcome for you and who you can call with questions when you have them – you don’t want to wait until your next appointment!

We can offer all this and more:

  • Unlike a high street solicitor’s practice, we have a large team of experts which allows us to provide you with expert advice, whatever circumstances you need to claim under.
  • All team members are highly experienced in their chosen field.
  • We work on a No Win No Fee basis which means you don’t need to pay us a penny until your claim is paid.
  • We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

No Win No Fee service for all claims

We don’t get paid until you do which means we don’t waste your time pursuing claims that are unlikely to be successful. We offer a free consultation to assess your claim and to talk you through the rest of the process should you decide to continue.

Because we don’t charge a flat rate regardless of outcome you can rest assured that we are working our hardest to ensure that your claim is dealt with quickly and efficiently. Ask yourself whether a solicitor who is going to send a bill whatever happens will have that sort of incentive to try their hardest? It also means you don’t incur any extra financial burdens at a time when your finances may be stretched due to loss of earnings or extra medical expenses.

Why not speak to us and see how we can help?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by talking to one of our helpful advisers. They will be able to answer all your questions – even the minor ones you think are too silly to ask – and can explain what the next stage of the claim process will be. Our friendly, compassionate and knowledgeable staff are there at any time of day and will continue to be there for your questions throughout the whole claims process. So, don’t delay – call 0800 073 8801 today!

Helpful Links

How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Whiplash?

Find out the amounts of compensation you could claim for whiplash injuries.

Whiplash NHS info

A neck injury common in passenger accident claims, whiplash can be painful. Read the NHS advice on the condition here.

Highway Code Rules

Read some of the most important rules within the Highway Code here.


The bureau set up to protect accident victims in situations where drivers cannot be traced or held accou9ntable for accidents.