Traffic Accident Claims
It is quite common for solicitors to receive questions concerning the process for making traffic accident claims and therefore useful to offer a traffic accident claims guide to provide answers for the most frequent issues that arise.
Unfortunately, it is not surprising that solicitors receive so many questions about traffic accident claims, considering the prevalence of road accidents in the United Kingdom. According to the latest statistics reported by the Department for Transport, there were 208,648 reported casualties attributable to traffic accidents in 2010 – 6 percent less than in 2009, but still a worrisome fact nonetheless. If either you, or a loved one, have been injured as a result of a traffic accident that was not wholly your fault the following traffic accident claims guide will provide the basics of what to do after an injury has taken place.
Qualifying Basis of Traffic Accident Claims
The first element to take into account prior to making traffic accident claims is to establish whether injuries have, in fact, occurred. Injuries can be either psychological or physical – and, in many cases, a psychological injury is present in conjunction with physical trauma. Moreover, although sharing the road with a bad driver can be extremely irritating, traffic accident claims cannot be made on the basis of negligence alone – that is, an injury must have occurred as a result of negligence in order to make traffic accident claims for compensation.
On the other hand, if an injury was sustained but it cannot be attributed to someone else’s fault, it cannot qualify for the legal basis for making traffic accident claims. As such, it must be established that both an injury and negligence on the part of another for having caused it, have occurred.
In some cases, negligence is not a straightforward matter to prove – i.e. different degrees of negligence may be attributable to different parties. This could happen, for example, if you are considered responsible for partly contributing to the accident, or in the case of multiple car collisions where a number of parties may be liable for your injuries. This principle of partial liability is known as “contributory negligence”.
The Traffic Accident Claims Guide for What to Do After an Accident
By far the most important matter to attend to after a traffic accident is your health and safety, and that of others. In a serious accident, the police as well as an ambulance will be present at the scene of the accident, however if it is a less serious accident, you should still go to hospital and report to the casualties department.
Even with seemingly minor injuries, you should at the very least make an emergency appointment with your general practitioner, for it is crucial to address symptoms at an early stage and seek immediate treatment. This cannot be emphasised highly enough, since many times people assume that, since they have not immediately developed symptoms of an injury, the impact of the accident is not serious. However, hours later they are likely to feel the effects of the injury; whiplash injuries, for example, may take a few hours or a couple of days to fully manifest.
It is also important to note that your attendance at hospital or other medical centre will be recorded in your medical records - records which will play an instrumental part in supporting any traffic accident claims and substantiating the effects of your injury.
No Two Traffic Accident Claims Are Alike
Since each case is unique, we highly recommend you to contact an experienced solicitor to discuss your particular situation. We have set up a freephone traffic accident claims guide service to provide you with a free case assessment and answer any questions you many have about making traffic accident claims in England and Wales. You can either call us, or fill out our form to receive a call back at your convenience. Your confidential call places you under no obligation to proceed with traffic accident claims.
What to Do at the Scene of the Accident
Besides tending to your immediate health concerns, another matter to consider if you have been involved in a traffic accident is to make sure to stop and contact the authorities – this should be done regardless of whose fault it is for the accident. This crucial step should be done in cases where someone is injured, property is damaged (personal or street property) or an animal has been hit.
You should also stay long enough at the scene to answer questions about the accident, exchange insurance information, and if at all practicable, take photographs recording the positioning of the cars, weather conditions, and anything else that helps give a clear picture of the scene of the accident. At this time, you will want to capture the license plate numbers of the involved cars to substantiate any traffic accident claims.
Furthermore, if the police do not come to the accident scene, the accident should still be reported to a police officer or station as soon as possible.
Lastly, but certainly not least, you should refrain from admitting liability right after the accident, as this can later prove damaging to traffic accident claims you may wish to make.
If the Driver is Unknown or Uninsured
There are cases where it is not possible to obtain the insurance details of the driver – either because the car accident was a ‘hit and run’, or because the driver is uninsured. In these cases, making traffic accident claims is still possible, but they will be handled through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which was set up to adequately protect the victims of uninsured or unidentified drivers.
Compensation for Traffic Accident Claims
Compensation for traffic accident claims is awarded on the basis of the severity of the injury, the impact on the injured person’s quality of life, future prospects (earning potential, for example) the degree of negligence attributed to the parties involved, and with consideration to the precedent amounts awarded to similar cases.
Traffic accident claims may qualify you to pursue not only “general damages” (for pain and suffering), but also “special damages” which takes into account quantifiable losses caused by the injury – from travel costs, to medical expenses, to present and future loss of earnings - which is calculated according to each individual’s earning potential for their occupation.
Traffic Accident Claims Guide – Third Party Capture
Following a car accident, it is not uncommon for you, as the affected party, to be contacted directly by the negligent party’s insurance company. While this may be a sign that the other company is willing to negotiate a compensation settlement, it is rarely in your best interests to settle traffic accident claims directly with the insurance company of the negligent party. Instead, it is worth remembering that the insurance company is acting in their own interests to cut costs, and while it may be tempting to accept an offer, any amount offered will be usually much lower than you would otherwise receive with the assistance of a qualified solicitor acting on your behalf.
A Solicitor is Your Best Traffic Accident Claims Guide
We therefore highly recommend that you seek impartial advice directly from a solicitor who can best act as your traffic accident claims guide. Please call our freephone traffic accident claims guide service, or request a call back at a convenient time by filing out the form on this page. Any of our experienced solicitors will gladly answer your questions and concerns about making traffic accident claims in England and Wales, and assist you with all your traffic accident claims concerns.