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Road traffic accident claims

Whether you're driving as part of your daily commute or you’re a passenger on a long car journey,  or a pedestrian, if you're involved in a road traffic accident (RTA) it can have a long-lasting and even life-changing impact on your daily life.

A different kind of law firm

If you've been unfortunate enough to have suffered as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to make a road traffic accident claim. 

Whether you're ready to pursue a claim or would like additional information, getting in touch with specialist RTA solicitors can help put your mind at ease. Just knowing there is someone on your side can help relieve the additional stresses and strains that can occur following a potentially life-altering road traffic accident.  

Darren Pugh - RTA story

That is what happened with Darren Pugh. Following a major collision, he was left with life-changing injuries, including amputation and fractures. Watch the video to find out how Shoosmiths was able to get the RTA compensation he needed to live a fulfilled life following such tragedy.

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What are the types of road traffic accidents?

With so many different road users several different types of road traffic accidents can occur. Understandably, the severity of injuries following an RTA can vary greatly and is dependent on many factors, including the speed of the vehicle, the age and safety record of the vehicle, the presence of safety features, and the number of vehicles involved in the incident.

All drivers have a duty by law to keep all road users, including pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists, safe. If an individual's driving has caused you an injury, you may be entitled to make an accident compensation claim.

The most common road traffic accident personal injury claims come from car drivers and passengers. There are hundreds of different scenarios that could lead to a collision, from adverse weather conditions to reckless road users. Unfortunately, no matter how conscientious the driver, sometimes accidents do happen.

  • Accidents Involving Pedestrians

    While accidents involving pedestrians are decreasing, they are still an all-too-common occurrence. Accidents can be caused by pedestrians not looking where they are going (which would make them ineligible for compensation), but they may also suffer a life-altering injury as a result of a road user’s dangerous driving, or even poor traffic control.

  • Bicycles and Motorbike Accidents

    Accidents concerning bicycles and motorbikes usually involve another vehicle. Cyclists and motorbike riders are some of the most vulnerable road users, with many accidents occurring because drivers of larger vehicles fail to see them.

    Treacherous road surfaces are another common reason for bicycle and motorbike accidents.

  • Accidents involving uninsured drivers

    Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is injured by an uninsured or untraced driver. This equates to 26,000 injuries each year or nearly one in every five road traffic casualties. If you've been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault and the other party was uninsured, you can still make a road traffic accident claim through the MIB. 

    As long as liability can be proven, an innocent accident victim will be compensated through the MIB scheme.

  • Hit-and-run accidents

    Being involved in a road accident can be traumatic enough, but when it involves a hit and run it can be even worse. Hit-and-run accidents can not only cause physical injuries but can have a detrimental impact on your psychological wellbeing too. You may fear that without knowing who the responsible party was you won't be able to make an RTA claim

    But rest assured that this is not the case. Following a road traffic accident where the offender was not caught, you can make a claim via the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) Untraced Drivers Agreement. If the liable driver is caught by the police and has no insurance your claim will still be dealt with by the MIB under the Uninsured Drivers Agreement.  If the driver has valid insurance, you can then claim using the traditional process.

  • Fatalities caused by a road traffic accident

    While fatalities following a road traffic accident are decreasing, they sadly do still occur. Fatal accidents can be caused by several reasons, but in many cases it is the action of an individual that leads to this unfortunate incident.

    Here at Shoosmiths our team of RTA lawyers have successfully represented injured road users of all ages who have encountered life-altering injuries. Sadly, we have also represented family members who have lost a loved one because of a road traffic accident.

    If you or a loved one has been involved in a road traffic accident that wasn't your fault, allow us to listen to your experience so we're best able to ascertain how we can help.

    You can contact us by calling 0370 086 8687 or sending us a message for a no-obligation consultation about your claim.

Need more help?

Our team of friendly specialists are on hand to help guide you through all aspects of your road traffic accident claims. 
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Shoosmiths the Road Traffic Accident Experts

  • What are the types of injuries sustained in an RTA?

    There are essentially five different categories of injury that can be sustained in a road traffic accident, and the severity of each will have an impact on the amount of compensation you could be awarded.


    The UK may have some of the safest roads in Europe but fatalities still occur and can have a devastating impact on loved ones.

    Very serious injuries

    Very serious injuries include the following and may have the potential to be either life-threatening or life-altering:

    • Spinal cord injury due to a broken neck or back
    • Severe head injury
    • Severe chest injury
    • Internal injuries
    • Multiple severe injuries with loss of consciousness

      Moderately serious injuries

    When being reported by the police following an accident, 'moderately serious injuries' may be classed as 'very serious'. These also have the potential to be life-threatening or life-altering:

    • Full or partial loss of arm or leg
    • Fractured pelvis or upper leg
    • A chest injury (excluding bruising)
    • Deep penetrating wound
    • Multiple severe injuries – while remaining conscious

    Less serious injuries

    While not as serious compared with the previous injuries, 'less serious injuries' are still reported by the police as a 'serious injury'. These may not result in an extended hospital stay, but you may still be eligible for RTA compensation. The Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain determines these as being:

    • Fractured lower leg, ankle or foot
    • Fractured arm, collarbone or hand
    • Deep cuts and/or lacerations
    • Another type of head injury

    Slight injuries

    Slight injuries are fairly common in any type of road traffic collision. Most slight injuries can be treated at the scene, without needing to go to hospital. On 31 May 2021 the government made changes to the claims process for low value road traffic accidents (RTA) related injuries.  This means that you can now settle your claim online without the need to go to court or seek legal presentation.  The type of injuries  that fall into this new claim process are classed as:

    • Whiplash or neck pain
    • Shallow cuts, lacerations or abrasions
    • Sprains and strains
    • Bruising
    • Shock


  • How can an accident affect you?

    The effects of a road traffic accident can vary greatly. In some cases, you may come away with only slight physical injuries, but the emotional impact can cause life-long trauma.


    Physical injuries are often the most obvious sign of a road traffic accident. A physical injury has the potential to alter your life completely. Should you require specialist care long into the future, RTA compensation can help fund this.


    Not all signs of a serious injury are visible to the naked eye. Many individuals involved in a road traffic accident can encounter emotional or psychological problems. These non-physical injuries can be just as hard to cope with and seeking professional help is just as important.

    In most cases we can get things agreed and funded before the other side has accepted liability, so there's nothing preventing you from getting the treatment and rehabilitation you require straight away.


    If you've been involved in a road traffic accident that has meant you were unable to work for a few weeks or longer, or you’ve lost a loved one who contributed to the household, this can not only have ramifications on your psychological wellbeing, but it can also have a huge financial impact on you and your family.

    We understand that no amount of RTA compensation can ever give you the life you had before the accident, but it can help relieve some of the pressure you now face.

    Not only can we help you with the legal aspect of your claim, but we can also offer practical advice, as well as emotional support.

  • How can Shoosmiths help?

    We have more than 20 years' experience in dealing with serious UK road traffic accident claims where individuals have faced life-altering injuries. We can help you get all the financial, medical and practical support you need to speed up your recovery.

    Shoosmiths can call on medical and rehabilitation specialists, forensic engineers, barristers and other leading experts whose evidence can not only help progress your RTA claim but can also give you and your family useful information and advice about how to cope with your injuries.

    We're here to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. Our specialist team of RTA solicitors will be with you every step of the way, working tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you need.

    As a UK-wide commercial law firm, we have the resources and connections to help.

    To learn more about how we can help you, contact us now. Call 0370 086 8687 or send us a message for a no-obligation consultation about your claim.


Your Road Accident Claims Specialists

Our skilled team of specialist lawyers want to speak to you today for free
Sharine Burgess

Sharine Burgess


Personal injury

Sharine is an award-winning lawyer in the personal injury department, acting on behalf of claimants and their families through a wide range of cases, so give her a call.

Chris  McKinney

Chris McKinney


Personal injury

Chris will come to your home or hospital. He specialises in serious personal injury and has won several multi-million pound claims for clients. Call Chris today.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you have grounds for an RTA claim?

    If you've been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault, you have every right to pursue a road traffic accident claim.

    To make a claim, you must show that the other party involved was negligent and that your injuries were suffered because of their negligence. However, we understand that sometimes it can be hard to know who was at fault, which is why seeking the advice of specialist RTA solicitors is important.

    Here at Shoosmiths, our team of lawyers can take an in-depth and impartial look at the series of events that occurred before, during and after the accident to determine who was at fault. Even if you don't have all the details of the driver or the vehicle, or you were involved in a hit and run, you can tell us what you know and we can take it from there.

    Our team know exactly what's needed to help you rebuild your life after a serious accident – from legal advice to ongoing medical care.

    If you're unsure whether you have grounds to make a claim, you can speak to one of our friendly team on 0370 086 8687 or you can send us a message.

  • How do road traffic accident claims work?

    We aim to make every claim as easy and straightforward as possible for you. After all, seeking RTA compensation should be about making your life easier – not harder.

    We’re signed up to the Serious Injury Code. This means we work with you and the insurer(s) to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. If we think you have a claim, one of our expert lawyers will take up your case.

    To begin proceedings, we will send a letter of claim to the potential defendant, and investigations will begin with the police and any witnesses to your accident. We will obtain your medical records and then independent medical reports from leading experts.

    When we have finalised our medical evidence, we will be in a position to value your injuries. The principle behind any claim is to put you in the same position you would have been in if the accident hadn't occurred. This may not be possible in some cases where a serious injury has happened. In such cases, financial compensation is awarded on an increasing scale depending upon the severity of your injuries.

    If the other party accepts blame at this stage, we’ll seek to secure an interim payment to cover any immediate costs. If not, we’ll start the court process. All this means in practice is that your RTA injury claim now has a deadline to be settled. And you can be sure we’ll be with you at every step. 

  • How long does a claim take?

    There are a number of factors that can affect how long a road traffic accident claim can take. For example, if the other party doesn’t accept fault, or the matter proceeds via the MIB this can make the process longer. If you're seeking compensation following the death of a loved one, a Inquests may have to take place and this can take time too.

    But please rest assured that no matter how long your RTA claim takes, we will do everything in our power to make the process as quick as possible without compromising on due diligence.

  • How many claims go to court?

    Very few personal injury claims go to court. Even if we do need to start court proceedings as part of the process, your RTA claim will likely be settled out of court.

    If you're claiming on behalf of a loved one who lacks capacity as defined in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, it will be necessary to go to court. But rest assured that your personal lawyer will explain the process to you.

    If you're making a fatal road traffic accident claim, generally only complex cases end up in court.

    While we can't guarantee your case won't go to court, remember we'll be with you every step of the way.

  • How much compensation could you receive?

    The amount of RTA compensation you receive will depend on the nature and severity of your injuries, and any costs or losses you've experienced as a result. Your physical and emotional injuries, damage to your property, and any loss of earnings are all taken into account.

    If your claim is as a result of the death of a loved one, you will be able to claim a statutory bereavement award in addition to the compensation claim. The amount awarded is £15,120 if the death occurred after 1 May 2020. If the death was before 1 May 2020 the bereavement award is £12,980.

    Only the spouse/cohabiting partner or the parent of a child under the age of 18 can claim a bereavement award under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976. No one else in the family is entitled to do so.

  • How much does claiming compensation for a road traffic accident cost?

    At Shoosmiths we believe everyone should be given the opportunity to make a claim. That’s why we take the majority of road traffic accident personal injury claims, that fall outside the new claims process on a No Win No Fee basis.

    This means you will only pay a 'success fee' at the end of your case if your claim is successful. We're completely transparent and the amount will be pre-agreed so there'll be no surprises.

    It is advised that you take out an ‘After the Event’ insurance policy, which will protect you from having to pay the opposition’s legal costs if your case is unsuccessful.

  • What do you need to prove?

    To increase the chances of bringing a successful RTA claim, there are certain things you will need to do following the accident.

    For a claim to be successful, we must establish who was at fault for the accident and whether it was another driver or the condition of the road itself.

    Gathering evidence is crucial in making a claim, so you must keep hold of as much information as possible from the date the accident took place. Taking photos of the scene and your injuries should be the first things you try to do – of course, we know that following an accident gathering evidence could be the furthest thing from your mind.

    If you're unsure if you have the grounds to make a claim, our expert RTA lawyers can examine the evidence for you.

  • What happens if a fatality occurs following an RTA?

    If your friend, family member, or loved one has been killed as a result of a car accident, you may be entitled to make a fatal road traffic accident claim.

    Those who can claim compensation include the dependants of the deceased, family members, and the estate of the deceased.

    To put your claim in the best possible position, we recommend that you:

    • Report the accident to the police
    • If possible, obtain details of witnesses
    • Seek medical attention
    • Keep records of funeral costs, medical costs, expenses and other documents related to the case

    By taking action you can help ensure your RTA claim is not only likely to be more successful, but that you will receive the correct amount of compensation following the death of a loved one.

  • What happens if the claim is against a family member?

    If your injury was caused by the negligence of a friend or family member you may still be eligible to make a claim. It doesn't matter if the person at fault is a relative of yours, if they're liable, you can claim RTA compensation from them through their motor insurance company.

    Children can also claim against a family member. Anyone under the age of 18 can make personal injury claims, as long as a parent or guardian can assist them as their litigation friend. However, if a child was a passenger in their parent’s car and was injured in an accident for which their parent was liable, they cannot have that particular parent as their litigation friend as it would be seen as a conflict of interest by the court.

  • Who pays the compensation in a road traffic accident claim?

    Usually, in a road traffic accident claim, the insurance company acting for the person responsible for the accident will pay your compensation. For this to happen, liability for the accident needs to be determined.

    Therefore, instructing experienced RTA solicitors is essential for your claim. We'll be able to gather the evidence and liaise with the responsible party and their insurance company.

    This can take some time as the responsible driver’s insurance company has 21 days to acknowledge the claim and a further three months to admit or deny responsibility for the accident. This can be even longer if the insurance company needs to wait for a copy of a police report before responding to the claim.

    If the accident was caused by an uninsured or untraced driver, compensation can be sought from the MIB.

  • Why should you make a road traffic accident claim?

    We understand that no amount of money can change what happened to you and your family but claiming compensation for a road traffic accident can help you cover the cost of treatment, rehabilitation, lost income, and anything else still to come.

    We know that following a road traffic accident making a claim could be the furthest thing from your mind, which is why we endeavour to make the whole process as quick and stress-free as possible.  

Start a road traffic accident claim today

You can start your RTA claim today by calling us on 0370 086 8687,  your initial consultation is free, and we'll listen to your experience and talk you through your options, as well as explain how we could help you. 
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Who we work with

  • Brain Injury Group
  • Child Brain Injury Trust
  • Headway
  • SIA
  • Back Up
  • Macmillan
  • Danielles Flutterbyes
  • Forces
  • Bens Heroes Trust

Our accreditations

  • Accredited Personal Injury
  • Apil
  • Ama
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Legal 500
  • UK Chambers
  • The Society Of Clinical Injury Lawyers