There are some 39 million licenced vehicles in the UK. That averages out at around 414 vehicles for every square mile in the UK. The UK road network totals about 262,300 miles, so an average of 148 vehicles for every mile of road. To put this into perspective, if every vehicle in the UK were on the road at the same time, they would take up almost half the road network. With the greatest concentration of cars in urban areas, cities and motorways, it is little wonder that there are so many car accidents.
It is estimated that in 2019, there were a total of 153,000 casualties from reported road traffic accidents. This is actually a decrease of 5% from 2018. Latest figures for 2020 suggest a total of 131,000 casualties, the reduction largely due to covid related lockdown restrictions.
If you are unlucky enough to have been injured as a result of a road traffic accident in England or Wales, whether as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, rider, or pillion, we can help.
The Most Common Causes of Road Traffic Accidents
Driving under the influence of alcohol
Around 13% of all traffic related deaths are as a direct result of alcohol impairment. Despite public awareness this continues to be a huge problem, with an average of 85,000 drink driving convictions per annum, and some 85% of those being male.
Speeding is a significant contributor to the number of accidents, and also the severity of injuries likely to be suffered by those involved. Speeding gives the driver less time and distance to react to the road ahead of them. There are various studies but research shows that the probability of pedestrian death when hit by a car is at or under 10% at 30mph, and between 30 – 50% at 40mph.
Road Safety Web Publication No. 16 – Relationship between Speed and Risk of Fatal Injury: Pedestrians and Car Occupants
Tiredness, much the same as impairment thought alcohol, significantly increases reaction times. It can also cause erratic driving whether veering from lane to lane, unexpected changes in speed, unexpected braking or late braking. In the worst cases, drivers may actually fall asleep. Whilst tiredness can affect drivers anywhere, this is particularly dangerous on the motorway. The monotony of motorway driving, especially at night can easily cause a tired driver to lose concentration or even fall asleep. This will typically cause the vehicle to slowly veer out of lane and collide with other traffic, the central reservation, or banking and at motorway speeds, the consequences are often catastrophic.
In December 2003 it became illegal to use a mobile phone when driving. Despite this, and the possibility of 6 penalty points and a £200 fine mobile phone use whilst driving remains one of the most prevalent causes of distraction accidents. There are campaigns to toughen the penalties for using mobile devices whilst driving. Even a quick glance down to check a text message can result in the death or serious injury of another road user. Most commonly however such accidents happen because the driver failed to notice the vehicle in front stopping or slowing down. A high proportion of “rear end shunts” are caused by distraction, and especially phone use. Historically, distraction might have been changing over a cassette in your car stereo. These days, most cars have steering wheel controls for many of the functions that might previously have distracted a driver and taken their attention from the road ahead.
We all know that driving in winter weather, snow, ice or even rain makes driving more dangerous. Despite huge advances in car safety over recent decades, whether anti-lock brakes, stability control, automatic wipers and lights, or even tyre technology, driving in adverse weather requires a greater level of concentration and care.
What should you do if I have been involved in a Road Traffic Accident?
Of course, if there are any serious injuries, the first thing to do is summon help from the emergency services as soon as possible.
Almost everyone now carries a camera in their pocket. Use it to take photos / video of the accident scene to show the positions of the vehicles involved and the extent of damage. Take photos of registration numbers of vehicles and if possible, the drivers. If you are able to obtain details of any witnesses, you should do so. This may be especially helpful later on, if there is a dispute about what happened.
You should ensure that you obtain medical treatment for your injuries. In these Covid times, it may not always be possible or sensible to attend hospital or your GP. You should however at the very least seek telephone triage from your GP practice. They will make a record of your enquiry and this will be evidentially helpful to identify the nature of your injuries should there later be a dispute.
Attending your GP or the hospital following your accident will help to document the injuries you have sustained. These medical records will provide a good basis for supporting your claim later on.
You should speak to a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. You (usually) have 3 years from the date of an accident to make a claim, and it is far better to start the process as soon as possible. Even if you think the accident may have been partly your fault you should still seek legal advice as you may well be entitled to make a claim.
You should gather as much evidence as you can.
Keep a diary of expenses and to track your recovery. Keep records, receipts and evidence of any out of pocket expenses.
What Can I claim For?
Each claim is different but examples of what you may be able to claim might include, in addition to compensation for injuries the following;
- Damage to your vehicle
- Car hire car charges
- Storage & recovery charges
- Incurred Loss of earnings
- Future Loss of earnings
- Cost of medical treatment, including physiotherapy, counselling, prescription & medication charges, even operations or more extensive treatment or investigations.
- Care and assistance provided by family or friends (whether you pay them or not)
- Professional Care and Assistance.
- Travelling expenses.
- Damage to personal items, including clothing, mobile phones, cycle helmets etc
- Any other expenses incurred as a result of the accident
If you were a passenger in a vehicle which has been involved in an accident you are very likely to have a good claim for compensation. Even if the accident was caused by your friend or family member, bear in mind that t will be their insurers who pay the claim rather than them.
Uninsured or Untraced Drivers
The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) is a body set up to provide compensation for victims of accidents caused by uninsured or untraced drivers. Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed by uninsured drivers and without the correct insurance their compensation comes from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. This bill is paid for through the insurance premiums of all law abiding motorists.
Evidence suggests that uninsured vehicles are consistently used to conduct wider criminal activity, and are more likely to be involved in a collision, so by targeting uninsured drivers the MIB aim to deter criminal activity and remove their means of transport and make our roads safer.
We are here to help. We are personal injury expert solicitors established since 1985. We can provide immediate advice and will respond to enquiries made outside of our core office hours of 9am-5pm Monday – Friday. We do not engage third party call centres who will simply take your details and promise a call back. You can get expert, personal and bespoke advice and assistance from one of the directors of our firm right now by contacting us. We are equally able to deal with a straightforward whiplash claim or life changing injuries of the utmost severity.