This page refers to the 2021 edition of Serious injury in a road crash: Help and information for victims and their family and friends.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for victims and their families and friends affected by injuries that require urgent and ongoing care and help, that are:

  • life-threatening (someone might die), and/or
  • life-changing, meaning they cause one or more disability that affects independence, and/or cause ongoing pain, or require ongoing operations, treatments, or therapies.

Injuries may include, for example, head injuries, spinal injuries, internal injuries, facial injuries, or loss or damage of limbs.

Even if your injury seems minor, this guide may be useful to you. Some injuries that seem minor can still cause long-term challenges.

Who writes this guide?

This guide is by the National Road Victim Service, which is run by the road safety charity Brake.

We are an independent service working in partnership with other services to care for your needs. We offer emotional support and practical help and advice. We also help people bereaved in road crashes.

Reading this guide

Use the contents below to go to a part of this guide you need to read. If the crash happened very recently, the first sections of the guide are most valuable to read now.


Section 1: What happens now?

Information and advice about things that happen in the first few days after a road crash, including help from the police, help for victims of crime and telling other people what has happened

Section 2: At the hospital

Advice for family and friends

Section 3: Seeking expert legal help

Advice on choosing a specialist personal injury solicitor

Section 4: Vehicles, insurance, and visiting the crash site

Information about what happens to vehicles involved in a crash

Section 5: Media attention

Advice about what to do if the media wants to cover a crash or court case

Section 6: Rehabilitation and disabilities

Getting treatment to help recovery and adjusting to life with injury or disability

Section 7: Coping with shock and emotions, and getting support

Common reactions and how to help yourself and others

Section 8: The police investigation

Evidence, police reports and making a victim statement

Section 9: The decision to bring a prosecution or not

Charges, offences and victims' 'right to review'

Section 10: Court cases, verdicts, punishments and restorative justice

Information and support through a court case

Section 11: If the crash happened abroad

How you can get support if a crash happens abroad

Section 12: Claiming for financial support

Hiring the right solicitor to pursue a claim for financial support

Section 13: Campaigning and useful organisations

How to find organisations that can support you after a road crash