There Was No Witness To My Accident, Can I Still Claim?
By Daniel Fish. Last updated on 10th January 2022. You may be aware that if you’re injured in an accident caused by a breach in the duty of care owed to you, y2022ou could be eligible for personal injury compensation. When we discuss claims, we’re often asked “can I sue if there was no witness to my accident?”.
Therefore, that’s the question we’ll try to answer in this article. As well as showing how witnesses could help with a claim, we will also consider what other evidence could be used when witnesses aren’t available. Furthermore, we’ll look at when personal injury claims might be possible and how much you could claim.
We are here to help if you’d like advice on claiming. Our specialist advisors will discuss your claim with you during a telephone consultation and provide free advice. You don’t have to claim but, if your case is strong enough, we could refer it to a personal injury solicitor from our panel. Importantly, if your case is accepted, it will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis.
If there is no witness to your accident, this could lead to certain facts and circumstances surrounding the event being disputed. It’s possible this could affect your chances, but it doesn’t make a claim impossible.
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To learn more about how to make a personal injury claim without witnesses, please continue reading.
Services And Information
- Everything You Need To Know About Claiming With No Witness To An Accident
- What Is A Personal Injury Claim Witness?
- What Is A Witness Statement?
- Why Are Independent Witnesses Important?
- Why Are Eyewitnesses Important?
- Calculate Compensation For An Accident Without A Witness
- What Happens If There Is No Witness To My Accident?
- What Happens If You Have A Reluctant Witness?
- Other Evidence To Support A Personal Injury Claim
- Proving Your Claim On The Balance Of Probabilities
- Time Limits To Claim If There Was No Witness To An Accident
- Claim For A Personal Injury With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
- Other Information
Accidents happen all of the time. In some cases, there’s not a lot that could have been done to avoid them. In those situations, you wouldn’t be able to seek compensation. However, if an accident happens because a third party who had a duty to keep you as safe as possible failed in this regard causing you an injury you could be eligible to make a compensation claim.
There are many different types of accidents that could result in a personal injury claim. They include:
In fact, there are so many different types of accidents that we couldn’t possibly list them all here. No matter what type of accident it is though, you will need to supply evidence that shows who was to blame and how the accident happened. This is where witnesses can prove really useful.
The question posed at the beginning of this article was, “Can I sue if there was no witness to my accident?”. The answer to that question is yes you can and as we go through this guide, we’ll explain how. That said, we will also look at the different types of witnesses who could be contacted by a personal injury solicitor and show how witness statements work.
If you are thinking of making a claim, you’ll need to do so within the relevant time limit. In most cases, you will get 3-years from the date of the accident to begin. However, where injuries aren’t diagnosed until a later date, you’ll have 3-years from the date of knowledge.
After you have read our guide, why not get in touch to see if think your claim is viable? If we do, we could refer you to a personal injury solicitor from our panel to see if they’ll take your case on.
A witness in a personal injury claim is just one method of substantiating your allegation that the defendant is liable for your injuries. Importantly, you need evidence to help prove:
- That you were owed a duty of care by the defendant
- They breached that duty by being negligent. As a result, an accident occurred
- Because of the accident, you were made ill or were injured.
If a witness saw what happened when the accident took place, your solicitor could contact them for a statement. This could be used to corroborate your version of events.
If you have been injured in an accident but there weren’t any witnesses, don’t worry as you could still claim. If you believe you were not responsible for the accident, please get in touch. We offer free case reviews and advice on your options. If there’s enough evidence to proceed, we could pass your case to a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.
Witness statements are documents that set out what happened during an accident. Statements can be provided by you (as you would’ve witnessed what happened), the defendant and also any independent witnesses. Importantly, the statement must be accurate and true.
It is worth noting, that statements might not always be required. For example, if the defendant’s legal representatives admit liability right from the start, then there will be no requirement for statements.
In the rare event that your case goes to court, a judge may use any witnesses available to them to try and apportion liability for the accident.
An independent witness is somebody who saw the accident happen but was not involved in it. Furthermore, they will not know or be related to either the claimant or defendant. Having an independent view of the incident can be helpful in cases where the defendant and claimant disagree on the reason for the accident.
If the independent witness corroborates either party’s version of what happened, then it will probably help prove liability. However, if the independent person did not have a clear view of the accident other evidence may also be required.
At the scene of any accident, it is always looking around to see if anybody else was present. You shouldn’t ask them for a statement at the scene. Instead, you should take down their contact details. If needed, your solicitor can make contact with them at a later point.
You have probably heard somebody say that you shouldn’t apologise at the scene of an accident. That is because it can be used as an admission of fault.
While you might provide a statement detailing what happened, the defendant’s own statement might conflict with it. Then it’s simply a case of one word against another. However, if there is an independent eyewitness, their statement can really help to clarify who was to blame. If there were more than one witness at the scene then this will build a strong case for either the claimant or defendant.
This goes to show why it is really important to try and take the time to take down the details of any witnesses at the time of the accident. That said, as we’ve shown already, you shouldn’t worry if you don’t have a witness as claims could still proceed without one.
Now let’s take a look at what amount of compensation could be paid for your injuries. We should point out that claims can vary quite a lot. Therefore, please speak to an advisor if you’d like us to estimate a more accurate figure than those listed in our compensation table for you.
The data we’ve used to populate our table comes from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Lawyers and insurers may refer to the JCG to help set compensation levels.
|Body Part Affected||Severity||Settlement Bracket||Extra Details|
|Neck||Severe||£42,680 to £52,540||Dislocations and fractures that result in chronic suffering because of a permanent disability.|
|Back||Minor||£2,300 to £7,410||These soft tissue injuries to the back will be fully healed within 2-years without the requirement for surgery.|
|Hips||Moderate||£24,950 to £36,770||Significant hip injuries but there will be negligible risk in the future plus any disabilities will not be major.|
|Arms||Amputation||£102,890 to £122,860||Above the elbow arm amputations (single arm).|
|Legs||Moderate||£26,050 to £36,790||Complicated or multiple fractures of a single limb.|
|Toe||Amputation||Around £29,380||Covers the amputation of a great toe.|
To prove how much you’ve suffered, you will need a medical assessment during your claim. This will be handled by an independent medical specialist. Usually, the solicitors on our panel can make local appointments. After the assessment has ended, the specialist will produce a report. This will explain how your injuries have affected you and if you are likely to suffer in the future.
If your injuries have resulted in you sustaining financial losses or expenses, you could make a special damages claim as well. Again, what can be included will vary from case to case. You could claim:
- Medical costs – to cover prescription costs and non-NHS services.
- Travel related costs – such as fuel or parking costs linked to hospital visits.
- Loss of earnings – if you lose money while off work recovering.
- Future lost earnings – where your ability to work is adversely affected in the long term.
- Modifications to your home – to help you cope with any disabilities.
Our team are happy to review your claim with you. As part of the telephone consultation, we could advise you of what special expenses might be included in your claim. Therefore, why not give us a call today to start the ball rolling?
Workplace Injury Statistics
When an injury occurs in the workplace, your employer should report the incident to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). This section will focus on RIDDOR statistics for 2020/21.
As you can see in the graph below, the common cause of workplace injuries in 2020/21 was “falls on the same level”. This could lead to minor injuries such as bruises or cuts, but some more extreme cases could result in broken bones, paralysis, or even death. You can still make a fatal accident claim on behalf of the deceased if it was caused by negligence.
Having a witness to these (and other) kinds of injuries can be a good advantage when making a claim for personal injury compensation. However, there is no guarantee that your fall will be witnessed by anyone else. It could be that you were working alone in a separate area of the building. Alternatively, you may be working early or late with no other employees present.
If there is no witness to your accident, you may find it more difficult to make a claim. It doesn’t however mean that it will be impossible. There are other forms of evidence that exist such as CCTV footage.
The figures in the graph below do not state how many of these injuries were not the fault of the employee, nor does it state how many of these incidents were witnessed by someone else. However, it does illustrate just how often these kinds of workplace accidents take place across the country.
As we have demonstrated, where there is no witness to your accident, it could make the claim trickier to prove. However, it’s not necessarily the end of the story. We could review what other evidence exists in your case to see if you could be compensated.
There are several reasons why somebody might be reluctant to tell a solicitor what they saw when an accident happened. For instance, they might be worried about reprisals or they might not be sure about what they saw.
So, as we’ve said, the answer to the question, “Can I be compensated if there was no witness to my accident?” is ‘yes you can’, but you will need other forms of evidence. This is key because you must be able to demonstrate the cause of the accident, liability and the injuries you’ve sustained. Therefore, following any type of accident, you should:
- Take photographs. Use your phone to capture the accident scene in a photograph or video. Ideally, this will show the scene before the cause is removed.
- Look for CCTV footage. If the area is covered by CCTV, try to get hold of a copy of the footage. Most businesses who are filming an area will put up a sign to say who is responsible for the cameras.
- Get medical evidence. Your injuries should be treated as soon as possible. Rather than just accepting first aid, you should attend A&E or visit your GP. Medical records can help to show what injuries you sustained.
- Report the accident. Accidents on business or public premises should be reported where possible. The log could help to prove that a) the accident took place and b) where and when it happened.
If you would like us to review your evidence, why not get in touch? We could pass your case to a personal injury solicitor from our panel if there’s enough evidence to support it.
When you read about criminal cases, you’ll often hear that the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. However, personal injury claims use a different system to determine liability for an accident and injuries.
That means you could be able to claim for a car accident with no witnesses, for example. The system used in these cases is called the ‘balance of probabilities. Essentially, you need to use evidence to show that the probability that your version of events is correct.
For example, if there are photographs of the accident scene showing that the defendants car caused damage to the back of your car, then it is more likely that they drove into the back of you than any other scenario.
As we mentioned previously, injury claims are time-limited. The amount of time you’ll have will depend on the type of claim you’re making. Here are some examples:
- Adult injury claims. You’ll have 3-years to claim. This will either begin from the date of the accident or from when you found out about your injuries (date of knowledge).
- Child injury claims. As a child cannot represent themselves legally, a responsible adult can represent them. Claims are possible at any time before the child becomes 18-years old through the litigation friend process. If a claim isn’t made, when the child becomes an adult, they can submit their own claim before their 21st
- Adults without the mental capacity to claim. If an adult claimant is not able to represent themselves because of a lack of mental capacity, the 3-year time limit will not apply until such time as they have recovered. If it is likely that they won’t recover, a friend or family member could become their litigation friend to represent them during their claim.
We know that you might worry about losing money on legal fees when hiring a solicitor to pursue the case on your behalf. Having a solicitor handle your claim is not a necessity. However many claimants prefer to have a personal injury solicitor on their side. For that reason, our panel of personal injury solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. That means that you can fund your solicitor through a Conditional Fee Agreement.
If your case appears to be feasible, we could refer you to a solicitor on our panel. After considering your case, you’ll be given a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) to review if they are happy to represent you. The CFA will explain that the solicitor is only paid if they meet certain criteria. These are that:
- They must win your case.
- You must be compensated for your injuries.
If that happens, a success fee will be deducted from your compensation payment to cover the solicitor’s work. The fee is expressed as a percentage of your compensation. So that you are aware of it at the start of your claim, the fee (which is capped by law) is listed in the CFA.
No Win No Fee solicitors mean that you:
- Won’t need to pay your solicitor in advance.
- Don’t need to pay anything towards your solicitor’s fees while they work on your case.
- Won’t have to pay any solicitor’s fees if your case does not succeed.
If you’re interested in a No Win No Fee agreement, why not contact our team today to find out more?
Get In Touch To Start Your Claim
Our advisors are standing by to help you. We will have a few questions for you to determine whether or not you could have a valid claim. If we think you could be owed compensation then we may be able to connect you with an expert lawyer from our panel.
Even if there was no witness to your accident, this doesn’t necessarily make it impossible for you to make a successful claim. Reach out today to begin the process.
We have almost finished this article about how witness statements can be used to support an injury claim. Therefore, to provide additional support, we have linked to some extra resources that might help you.
Motor Insurers’ Bureau – An organisation that could compensate you if you’re involved in an accident where the other driver fled the scene.
Subject Access Requests – Advice on how to use a SAR to request copies of CCTV footage that could be used in your claim.
Workplace Health And Safety – Information on safety laws relating to an employer’s duty of care towards staff wellbeing.
Rights Following An Accident At Work – This guide sets out the rights you’re entitled to if you are injured whilst working.
Public Place Accident Claims – Details on what to do if negligence causes you to be injured in a public place.
How To Report A Road Traffic Accident – Advice on when you need to report car accidents.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority – Find out how much you could potentially claim for criminal injuries.
Aside from the question, “Can I claim if there were no witnesses to my accident?”, we’re often asked about different elements of the claims process. Therefore, we’ve answered a few of them below.
How long could my claim take?
The amount of time a personal injury claims takes to be processed varies from case to case. Where liability is established and admitted early on, claims may only time a matter of months to be finalised. Where the extent of the claimant’s injuries are not fully understood, claims could take longer to be settled while medical and other reports are arranged.
Will I need to meet my solicitor?
Generally, claims are handled over the phone, by email or by letter. This does not mean you cannot meet with your solicitor if you want to. It means you don’t need to choose a solicitor based locally.
Do claims often go to court?
It is quite rare for personal injury claims to end up in court. That’s largely because injury lawyers vet claims before they accept them. This means they’ll already have a good idea of whether the defendant is liable or not. Most cases can therefore be settled amicably without court action.
Could I claim for another person?
There are times when an injured party isn’t able to represent themselves. This can include claims involving children or those without the mental capacity to represent themselves. In these cases, it might be possible to somebody else to represent them through the litigation friend process.
Thank you for reading our guide on making a claim when there was no witness to your accident.
Checked by EI.