Should you claim compensation?

You might decide you want to claim compensation following a collision. Most collisions cause relatively minor injuries and damage and so result in fairly modest claims or compensation.

These can usually be settled without going to court. More complex or larger claims will require specialist legal knowledge.

If the other road user is prosecuted successfully for their actions, then this can be used in a civil court as evidence that they were at fault and such evidence is extremely difficult to rebut.

However, if the police decide not to prosecute, or if someone is found not guilty, you may still have a case in a civil court as the rules of evidence in the criminal courts are much stricter.

To succeed in bringing a claim for compensation against another road user, you will need to persuade either a court or insurance company that the driver was not taking reasonable care (in legal terms, ‘negligence’). If the collision was not down to negligence you will not be entitled to compensation.

The same principle applies to potholes: you have to show that the local authority did not take reasonable care maintaining the road. Factors include the importance of the road (a major road should be checked and repaired more frequently) and whether the defect was there long enough that they should have noticed it and repaired it.

Once you have established negligence, the level of compensation depends on evidence of the extent of your injuries and losses.

If you feel you need legal advice then we suggest you contact a solicitor. LCC members are entitled to a free initial interview of up to half an hour. Most will take on further work on a no-win, no-fee basis. However you should consider the implications and in particular, ask how much you will pay in legal fees if successful.

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