Road crash compensation

Last updated: 15 April 2019

If you've been bereaved or injured in a road crash and it wasn't your fault, you can claim compensation.

This is money paid to help ease any physical or mental trauma you suffered because of the road crash.

Some people find it difficult to think about compensation at this time. You can claim compensation up to 3 years after the date of the road crash. If a child under 16 was involved, you can claim compensation for them at any point until they turn 19.

If you were bereaved by a road crash

If you have lost someone close to you because of a road crash:

  • any compensation payment will be through the driver's insurance company or the Motor Insurers' Bureau if the driver was uninsured
  • the amount that can be claimed depends on your relationship with the person who died, and other factors that a personal injury solicitor can advise you on

If you were seriously injured by a road crash

If you have been injured because of a road crash, a claim for compensation depends on:

  • how severe your injuries were
  • any emotional trauma suffered
  • any physical or financial loss suffered

The amount which can be claimed depends on a number of factors, which a personal injury solicitor can advise you on.

If you have been injured following a minor road crash

Before you look into claiming for compensation, there are a number of steps you should take. These include:

  • calling your insurance company to let them know the road crash happened
  • telling the police
  • reporting the injury to your doctor – it may be more serious than it feels, and if the case goes to court they may be asked to provide a medical report
  • gathering any evidence you can and writing a detailed description of what happened, including any witnesses, while it's fresh in your mind

Making a claim

There are a number of ways to claim compensation following a road crash. For most you will need to contact either a solicitor or claims assessor. You shouldn't have to pay a solicitor to meet with them to discuss your case.


If you contact a specialist solicitor they will hear the details of your story and, based on what evidence is available, will advise how much compensation you should claim for.

A solicitor can also give you information on the next steps to take, and can take the case to court for you.

You will have to pay for legal action for compensation, though you might be able to apply for legal aid to help you cover the cost.

Claims assessor

A claims assessor will offer to take on your case on a 'no win, no fee' basis. This means if your compensation claim isn't successful, you won't have to pay anything (such as solicitor's fees).

However, claims assessors aren't usually solicitors, so they won't be able to take your case to court. This means you may get less compensation.

They may also ask you to pay a percentage of your compensation to them. If you're claiming for a large amount of money, the percentage you pay to the assessor may work out more expensive than a solicitor would have cost.

Support and advice

Read more about the help, advice and support you can get as a road crash victim.

You can also get support and advice from:

Phone: 0808 8000 401 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)
Phone the Brake helpline for emotional support, information and practical help. They can put you in touch with local services and volunteers who have been through a similar experience to yours.

S.C.I.D (Scotland's Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers)
Telephone: 01236 610234
Campaigns for the rights of road crash victims and their families.

Citizen's Advice Scotland
0808 800 9060
Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm
Saturday 10am to 2pm
Get advice about personal injuries online, over the phone or at a Citizens Advice Bureau near you.

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland
Telephone: 0845 600 2227
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 9pm
Offers one-to-one counselling across Scotland and support through the helpline for anyone who has been bereaved.

The Samaritans
Phone: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day, every day)
Gives confidential emotional support for people experiencing distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.

The Compassionate Friends
Phone: 0345 123 2304 (10am to 4pm and 7pm to 10pm)
Offers support to bereaved parents and their families after the death of a child. The helpline is always answered by a bereaved parent. There's also an online forum where you can speak to other bereaved families.

Victim Support Scotland
Phone: 0800 160 1985 (weekdays 8am to 8pm)
Provides advice and support for victims of crime.