Road Accident Compensation Claims
Road traffic accidents are unfortunately all too common. Thousands of people are injured in road accidents each year in the UK, whether as a driver, a passenger or a pedestrian. In fact, according to the Department for Transport, in 2014 there were 194,477 reported casualties from road traffic accidents in Great Britain. This includes 1,775 fatalities and 22,807 people that sustained serious injuries. These figures only take into account accidents that have been reported to the police, so the actual number of people injured in road accidents each year is estimated to be around 700,000.
If you have been involved in a road accident that was not your fault, and you have sustained personal injuries as a result, you have a legal right to seek financial compensation. Experienced personal injury solicitors can provide you with a no win no fee service. This means that you won’t have to pay any fees to start your claim, and you won’t have to worry about any financial risk of losing your case. If for any reason your solicitors are unable to win your case, you won’t pay them a penny.
Although making a personal injury claim can feel daunting, friendly solicitors are on hand to help you every step of the way. They will aim to make the whole process as quick and straightforward as possible, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track.
Can I make a road traffic accident claim?
Under personal injury law, certain factors must be met to enable a person to pursue a claim for compensation. This is the same whether your accident was in a car, on a bus, riding a motorbike, as a pedestrian or as any other type of road user. These factors are as follows:
Somebody else must have been at fault for the accident
In some cases, the person that caused the accident will admit liability, or it will be so clear cut that there is no possible dispute as to who was at fault. However, sometimes liability for the accident will be disputed, or perhaps you were partly responsible. The key point is that the accident must have been caused by somebody else’s negligence, whether wholly or partly.
You must have sustained a personal injury
To be able to make a personal injury claim for a road accident, naturally you must have suffered an injury. This can include physical injuries such as whiplash, cuts and bruises, broken bones and concussion, or psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress for example.
Regardless of the type of injuries you have sustained, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you don’t feel too bad straight away, some injuries can be masked by the adrenaline and shock of being involved in an accident. Visiting the hospital or your GP will also create a medical record of the fact that you have been involved in an accident and have been injured. This record can then be used as vital evidence if you decide to pursue a claim for compensation.
If you have been lucky enough to come out of the accident unscathed, you wouldn’t be entitled to claim for what could have happened, regardless of how negligent the third party has been.
Your claim must be made within the statutory time limits
If somebody else was at fault for the accident, and you were injured, your legal right to make a compensation claim could be lost if you put off making a claim. This is because there is a statutory time limit of three years from the date of the accident within which your personal injury claim must be made.
In the vast majority of cases it is best to start your claim as soon as possible, as this can make it easier to gather vital evidence and ensure that the time limit is not exceeded.
For children, which is anybody under 18 years of age, the three-year time limit does not start until the day they turn 18. So a child injured in a road traffic accident when they are 12 years old would still have a legal right to make a claim against the third party at fault when they become a legal adult on their 18th birthday.
The process of making a road accident claim
Regardless of who was at fault for the traffic accident, the first step you should always take if possible is to check that you and everyone else involved is ok. If anybody has sustained any serious injury, an ambulance should be called immediately.
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, the driver of any motor vehicle involved in a road accident must stop so that identification and insurance details can be exchanged with any other parties involved. If a driver does not stop or fails to provide their name and address, you should report the incident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable to do so.
The next step is the process of gathering evidence to support your claim. The type of evidence available will vary from case to case, but could include the following:
- Third party details – you should take down the name, address, phone number and insurance details of the people involved in the accident. As added security, in case you are given false contact details for example, it is worth writing down some additional details about the vehicles involved. This could include the make, model, colour and licence plate number.
- Witness statements – if there were any witnesses to the accident, you should make a record of their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Witness statements can then be requested by your solicitor, which can be used to back up your account of the events that took place. This evidence is particularly helpful if the third party denies liability.
- Photographs – as the saying goes, a picture can paint a thousand words. Taking photos of the scene of the accident, the vehicle damage and injuries can be used as great evidence to support your compensation claim. If the incident was captured on CCTV, you have a legal right to receive a copy from the camera owner. This can be requested by our solicitors on your behalf if it is needed to prove that another person was at fault.
- Medical records – whenever you visit your GP or a hospital, the details of these visits are recorded in your medical records. It can also be a worthwhile exercise to keep a diary of these visits, along with any medication or treatments you have received. Writing down how the injuries have affected you, such as having to miss work, being unable to perform certain tasks, etc. can also be used to demonstrate the extent and impact of your injuries.
The next stage is to seek legal advice from an experienced firm of personal injury solicitors. They will be able to assess if you have a valid claim for road accident compensation, and if you do, they will be able to start legal proceedings against the party at fault for your accident.
Accidents involving uninsured or hit and run drivers
Under UK law, all motor vehicles, which includes cars, buses, lorries, motorbikes and vans, must have valid insurance to be on the road. If you are involved in an accident, it is the insurance policy of the person at fault that will pay compensation for your personal injury and vehicle damage.
Unfortunately, thousands of people break the law by driving without valid insurance, or they fail to stop at the scene of an accident. In these cases, there is no insurance policy to claim against, but this doesn’t mean you should be left out of pocket. For this very reason, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) was established to protect the victims of these type of accidents.
The MIB is funded by insurance companies and enables you to pursue a claim for compensation if you are injured by an uninsured or untraced driver (hit and run).
Want to find out more?
If you or a member of your family has suffered injuries in a road accident, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible.
Solicitors offer a free claim assessment service for all types of accidents. An experienced claims assessor will conduct this service over the phone, and it usually takes less than 10 minutes.
A fully trained adviser will assess the potential success of your claim and provide guidance on how much compensation you may be entitled to. They will also be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your compensation claim and explain what your options are.
If you decide to pursue your legal right to claim, your solicitor will be happy to work for you on a No Win No Fee basis. This ensures that making your claim does not put you in any financial risk, and also means you can start your claim without having to pay a penny.
To get started, simply request a call back using the contact forms provided or call free on 0800 678 1410. Alternatively, you can find out more information about different types of road traffic accident claims using the links below.