Vulnerable Road User Accident Claims
also In this guide, we will look at how a vulnerable road user might be able to make a claim for compensation. This is a term used to describe road users who are more vulnerable to serious injuries than other road users.
As of January 2022, changes to the Highway Code have been introduced. These new rules have been introduced to protect the most vulnerable road users and put a greater responsibility on those who are driving vehicles that have the potential to cause the greatest injuries.
This article looks at these recent changes to the Code and how they could affect liability in road traffic accidents. Also, we look at the Whiplash Reform Program and see how in some cases, the process of making a personal injury claim has altered for some road users. At UK Law, our team can help explain these points to you right now:
- Simply call us on 020 3870 4868
- Email or write to us at UK Law
- Or access the ‘live support’ option for immediate free legal advice
Select A Section
- What Is A Vulnerable Road User?
- Who Has Priority On The Road?
- Pedestrian Accident Road Accident Claims
- Cyclist And Horse Rider Accident Claims
- Calculating Vulnerable Road User Accident Compensation
- Talk To Us About No Win No Fee Vulnerable Road User Accident Claims
A vulnerable road user is one who doesn’t have the protection that a vehicle offers. Pedestrians and cyclists are usually considered to be the most vulnerable.
Under the existing rules of the Highway Code, all road users must still adhere to the standards of skill and care of the average motorist. But new guidance places extra emphasis on those operating vehicles that have the potential to create the most damage or harm.
There is still a requirement for all road users to act in a way that reduces the risk of injury to others; pedestrians must still conduct themselves with the safety of others in mind. However, this duty of care is no longer equal, and those handling vehicles that have the potential to cause the greatest harm also have the greatest responsibility.
Other new recommendations have been made such as the ‘Dutch Reach’ method of opening a car door. This requires the motorist to use the hand furthest from the door to open it. This forces the driver to turn and check there are no oncoming cyclists or pedestrians.
What Are Vulnerable Road User Accident Claims?
A vulnerable road user accident claim is any claim for personal injury compensation made by a road user of increased vulnerability for injuries caused by negligence. There are a range of accident scenarios that could result in this kind of claim:
- A pedestrian being hit by a car at a junction
- Motorists failing to stop on zebra crossings or when pedestrians are crossing at junctions
- A motorist overtaking on the left and colliding with a cyclist
- Motorcycle riders or vehicles failing to leave a safe distance when overtaking a horseback rider. This causes them to collide with the horse, throwing the rider to the ground
- Uneven road surfaces that create hazardous conditions. For example, a pothole on the road could cause a car to swerve and collide with a cyclist travelling down a cycle path.
This list is not exhaustive. There may be other circumstances in which the larger road users have failed to properly consider their presence on the roads, leading to greater risk for the vulnerable groups.
Under the new Highway Code rules, the following adjustments and new directives have been introduced relating to passing certain road users:
- Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres of space when overtaking cyclists when travelling at 30mph. At higher speeds, they should give more space.
- 2 metres should be left when passing horse riders who are travelling at 10mph or slower
- When pedestrians are walking in the road (for example, where there isn’t any pavement), drivers should leave at least 2 metres and keep a low speed.
In addition to this, changes have been made in relation to cyclists at junctions:
- If there are no separate cycling facilities, then cyclists should proceed as if they’re driving a vehicle. This could include positioning themselves in the centre of the lane if it’s safe to do so.
The following rules have been introduced or clarified in relation to the right of way at junctions:
- If a pedestrian is crossing or waiting to cross at a junction, other traffic should give way
- Drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists must give way to people on zebra and parallel crossings
If you’d like clarification on whether you have a valid vulnerable road user claim, speak with a member of our team today.
Pedestrians are recognised as the most vulnerable road user because of their unprotected condition compared to other traffic. Motorcyclists and cyclists may wear protective clothing or crash helmets to offer greater protection.
Collision with a vehicle can cause injuries that range from minor to life-threatening. Depending on the speed of the impact, pedestrians can suffer fractures, traumatic brain injuries, scarring and other highly distressing injuries. All such injuries could form the basis of a pedestrian compensation claim.
The Whiplash Reform Program
From May 2021, all whiplash and soft tissue claims where the injured are valued at £5,000 or less must now go through an online government Official Injury Claim portal. However, these reforms only apply to drivers and passengers of vehicles who are over the age of 18.
Pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, sidecar passengers and horse riders do not have to use the new portal. So if you are a vulnerable road user who has been injured as a result of negligence, you would not be required to use the online portal and could make your claim through the usual channel.
Cyclists and horse riders are not considered as vulnerable as pedestrians. Furthermore, they are lower on the hierarchy of road users because they have a greater potential to cause harm.
Whilst horse riders have been considered in these new updates, it does not mean that a horse rider can make a claim in all situations where they were injured. For example, if your horse reacts poorly to normal road conditions, or an accident occurs because you failed to handle them appropriately, you would not be able to claim.
If you’d like more information about making a claim as a vulnerable road user, speak with a member of our team today. You could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.
When you make a claim for compensation, you could receive two different heads of claim. These are general and special damages.
General damages are the part of your claim that relates to the pain and suffering that your injuries have caused you. You will be invited to a medical appointment with an independent expert as part of your claim.
Once their report has detailed the nature and extent of your injuries, solicitors can also compare it to an index of personal injury compensation values called the Judicial College Guidelines.
This publication lists severities of commonly found injuries and gives an amount that could be appropriate for each one. We’ve included some excerpts from these guidelines in the table below.
|Injury type||What level of severity?||Judicial College Guidelines award amount||notes|
|Brain injury||Moderate (c) (i)||£140,870 to £205,580||cases like this can affect speech, concentration, personality and sight. The risk of epilepsy may prevent the sufferer from working as normal|
|Neck injury||Severe (a) (i)||In the region of|
|types of incomplete paralysis or paraplegia with severe headaches and restricted movement in the neck|
|Arm injury||Severe (a)||£90,250 to £122,860||injuries serious enough to warrant payments similar to amputation of that limb. Chronic nerve damage|
|Back injury||Severe (a) (i)||£85,470 to £151,070||severe damage to nerve root or spinal cord creating long term disability and pain, degrees of paralysis and bladder dysfunction|
|Pelvis injury||Severe (a) (i)||£73,580 to £122,860||the sort of fractures that can rupture the bladder, intolerable levels of pain and mobility issues|
|Leg injury||Severe (b) (i)||£90,320 to £127,530||serious loss of flesh and tissue, injuries that leave the leg shorter and may require a bone graft|
|Foot injury||Serious (e)||£23,460 to £36,790||continual pain and increased risk of traumatic arthritis with possible need for fusion surgery|
|Psychiatric harm||Severe (a)||£56,180 to £94,470||psychiatric issues related to the trauma of what happened that are bad enough to affect every area of the person's life|
|Finger injury||Severe (f)||Up to £34,480||Severe finger fractures that lead to partial amputation.|
|Thumb injury||Serious (s)||£11,820 to £15,740||Including amputation of the tip, nerve damage or fracture|
Special damages are the second head of compensation that could be applicable. Using documentation in the form of receipts or bills that show costs to you caused by your injuries, you can request these amounts back. You could include:
- Loss of earnings
- Expensive medical costs
- The cost of childcare
- Costs to repair your bike or personal property
- Adaptations to your home if your disabilities mean that they are necessary
- Travel costs to hospital or work
A personal injury solicitor can help you track and predict future expenses that may arise. This is important as you can only claim once. If you are awarded compensation and an additional cost arises that was not included in your original claim, you won’t be eligible to receive this back.
Anyone is free to start their own personal injury claim but it can be far more beneficial to do so with the help of a solicitor. With this in mind, a personal injury lawyer could act on your behalf under a No Win No Fee agreement; this is a way of funding legal representation for a claim.
Under this kind of agreement, you don’t spend anything up front or as the claim is ongoing. You also won’t be expected to pay anything in the event of an unsuccessful claim.
Your solicitor will deduct a small, legally capped amount from the settlement amount as a “success fee”. Find out how our panel of personal injury solicitors could help you in this way by:
- Contacting us on 020 3870 4868
- Writing to us at UK Law
- Benefiting from instant free legal guidance by using the ‘live support’ option to the bottom of this screen.
Road Safety And Accident Claim Resources
Below are further resources to assist vulnerable road users to decide about their compensation claim:
- Were you a cyclist hit by a car door? If so, our guide could help
- You could potentially claim for a fatal car accident. Read our guide to find out more.
- At UK Law, we can offer further resources on any type of road traffic accident injury claim.
- The road safety organisation Think! is the government’s road safety campaign
- As well as providing guidance for drivers, they also provide advice for horse riders
- A guide on claiming with road traffic accident solicitors
- Passenger road traffic accident claims
- Road accident solicitors – why work with a claims expert?
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