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Road Traffic Accident Claims: Glossary

In this guide, we cut through the legal jargon and explain common terms used in road traffic accident claims, clearly and accurately.

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Accident Reconstruction Report

During your case, your solicitor may request that an accident reconstruction report is completed on your behalf. This could be requested for a number of reasons, such as proving liability, though the report itself should shed light on how the accident occurred.

Civil Liability Act 2018

This piece of legislation was finally implemented by government on 31st May 2021, and makes provisions about whiplash claims and the personal injury discount rate. The aim of the legislation was to reduce the cost to the motor insurance sector due to the volume of ‘low value’ whiplash claims being made.

Civil Procedure Rule (CPR)

In short, the Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) is a procedural code, which sets out the rules and steps to be taken that will allow the courts to deal with civil cases justly.

The Personal Injury Protocol falls under the CPR.

Claims process – small claims track

This is the process that is followed by whiplash injuries valued under £5,000. As of 31st May 2021, these cases are pursued via the Official Injury Compensation portal, set up by the MoJ.

Claims process – fast-track

This process is typically followed for any accident claims valued at up to £25,000. These cases are usually handled by a specialist road traffic accident solicitor and can involve court hearings, though these will usually be informal with involved parties sat around a table with a judge.

Claims process – multi-track

The multi-track process is followed where accident claims are valued at over £25,000. These are often much more complex than fast-track cases as they typically involve severe injuries, meaning full recovery will take a substantial amount of time, or there may be life-altering consequences.

Compensation claim

This is the term given to the legal pursuit of financial recompense for injuries sustained in an accident. Claims can be pursued by the victim themselves, or via legal representatives.

Contributory negligence

A key part of successfully seeking compensation is determining fault. However, in some cases, the party at fault may argue that the victim was at least partially responsible for the accident, or the extent of the damage. For instance, they may argue that the injured party could have taken further steps to reduce the impact, or it may be found that the victim was not wearing a seatbelt.

This is known as contributory negligence, and if it is found that the injured party was partially at fault, then the extent to which this contributed to the outcome will have to be determined. This is given as a percentage and will be used to reduce the overall amount of compensation that can be claimed.

Court proceedings

Court proceedings refers to any activity that occurs in a court. Not all cases will progress to this stage, as compensation can usually be negotiated between the involved parties. It is rare that either side would wish the case to proceed to court.

However, if there is a dispute over who is at fault, or negotiations cannot be completed between the involved parties, cases may be taken to court, where a judge will preside over proceedings and determine the correct outcome.

Why do I need a lawyer after a road traffic accident?

Cardiff-based personal injury lawyer, Nick Collins, explains the benefits of seeking legal advice after a traffic accident and the various options of compensation that a lawyer can provide.

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Letter of Claim

To begin any compensation claim, a formal Letter of Claim is sent to the party at fault, usually by your solicitor. It explains that you will be seeking compensation for the accident, setting out the details of the case and giving the other side 21 days to respond and identify their insurers.


This is a legal term identifying a person at fault for an accident. If you are found to at fault, you will be liable to pay compensation for any damage or injuries caused.

Litigant in Person

The term ‘Litigant in Person’ refers to a victim who is representing themselves in a compensation claim, rather than appointing a specialist solicitor to do so for them. This was relatively rare, though is more common after the introduction of the Civil Liability Act and the updates to whiplash claims.

Medico legal report

For any injury claim, a report will have to be sought from a medical expert, detailing the extent and impact of your injuries. Their findings are written up into a medico legal report, which will be used by solicitors and/or the courts to determine the appropriate amount of compensation.

Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB)

The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) is an organisation which provides compensation to the victims of accidents caused by uninsured or untraceable drivers. Every motor insurance company in the country is obligated by law to contribute to the organisation.

Official Injury Claim

The Official Injury Claim Portal was set up by the Ministry of Justice in 2021 to provide people with a self-service means of seeking compensation for small claim track cases. People seeking compensation will have to represent themselves as a litigant in person.

Personal Injury Protocol

Set out in the Civil Procedure Rule (CPR), the Personal Injury Protocol details the actions the courts expect to be taken to ensure cases are handled fairly and justly. This includes the proper exchange of information by both parties, the need to carry out proper pre-action investigations, and an honest attempt by both parties to reach an agreement before court proceedings are necessary.

Where court proceedings do go ahead, the protocol also details the timetable to which cases will run.


Though the NHS states whiplash to be a neck injury, the Civil Liability Act 2018 describes whiplash as soft-tissue injuries to the neck, back or shoulder. This includes sprains, strains, tears, ruptures or lesser muscle, tendon or ligament damage.

It is caused by forceful and rapid movements in the muscles, and as such is a very common injury in road traffic accidents due to the force generated by collisions.

Whiplash Reforms

Introduced alongside the Civil Liability Act 2018 on 31st May 2021, the reforms detail how much compensation you should receive dependent upon the extent of your injuries. You can read more information here.

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Why choose Slater and Gordon?


We are an award winning law firm and have a dedicated team of road traffic accident solicitors to advise and guide you – no matter how complex your situation may be.

Affordability and advice

We're able to offer affordable expert legal advice and can provide guidance on all aspects of road traffic accident claims. Our Initial Consultation provides tailored advice on your situation giving you clear guidance and options regarding next steps.

Tailored advice

We understand that every claim is different – so we are able to provide tailored advice and guidance to suit your individual needs.

Local access

We are a national law firm, with legal experts available locally across the UK. Meetings can be arranged via telephone or video call, to suit your requirements.

Speak to one of our road traffic accident solicitors today

Call us now on:   0330 041 5869
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