According to the Law Society, the UK’s regulatory body for solicitors across the UK, there are currently over three million people injured in accidents each and every year.
Of course, not all of these accidents take place on the road. Many of these happen at work, at home or whilst otherwise enjoying a leisure pursuit or hobby. That said, in 2015 there were 1,730 killed and 22,144 people seriously injured on roads across the UK – many of which could easily have been avoided. Sadly, these statistics rarely show any improvement from year to year which means increasingly more people are looking to claim compensation after an accident that simply wasn’t their fault.
In this article, we take a look at some of the key benefits associated with consulting a solicitor after a car accident and how best to claim compensation for any monies you might be rightfully due.
What should I do after a car accident?
Of course, the key thing to concentrate on after any type of accident – no matter how minor or otherwise serious it might be – is to concentrate on your health and well-being.
If you’ve had a car accident then it might be that the emergency services are called, in which case you’re most likely to be offered roadside assistance and any further medical care, either through your own GP or the nearest A&E Department for more serious cases. At this early stage of the process then your health should remain paramount – the rest can wait; especially any pieces of crumpled metal.
That said, once you’re back on your feet you’ll naturally want to think about claiming for any losses which have been incurred – whether that’s for personal injury, damage to your vehicle or for any other claims that might be relevant, such as medical expenses, loss of earnings or (for more serious cases), future rehabilitation requirements.
To make sure you get what you’re rightfully entitled to, you’re certainly well advised to consult a solicitor in respect of any claim you might want to make. Most high street firms offer a free initial interview so that you can ask a few basic questions, decide whether that particular solicitor is right for you and, where appropriate, initiate the claims process against the other side.
What are the benefits of using a solicitor instead of dealing with the claim myself?
It perhaps goes without saying that a solicitor specialising in both personal injury and claims management will be much better placed to conduct proceedings on your behalf, but here we take a look at just a few of the many advantages you’re most likely to find:
- Firstly (and as mentioned above) a personal injury solicitor such as Smith Jones Solicitors will have much more experience of dealing with PI claims than the average motorist. That’s to say that he or she will be able to more specifically advise you on what you can (and can’t) claim as a result of the accident and will be able to give you the best guidance when it comes to maximising your claim potential. There may, of course, be lots of things you can claim that you might not initially think about – for example, prescription fees for any pain relief you might need, parking charges when you attend any hospital appointments resulting from the accident and even loss of income (whether immediate or for the future, if you’ve suffered a particularly serious injury – or alternatively, a type of injury which might well take time to heel, such as a broken leg or head injury).
- Whilst many of us associate solicitors with being incredibly expensive (which they certainly can be!), most personal injury claims qualify for financial assistance in terms of either “no win, no fee*” claims or other conditional fee agreements. Ultimately this means that you’ll be able to receive legal advice up front and not have to pay for your solicitor until such time as your claim is completely settled. Whilst there are a few various funding options available, most solicitors will charge a ‘success fee’ which only becomes payable when a claim is successful but otherwise won’t charge you. The only exception to this is in respect of standard disbursements, such as Court issue fees, medical reports and so on. However, provided you ask the right questions and shop around, then there’s certainly no reason why the cost implication should deter you from making an otherwise successful claim.
- In many cases, a car accident solicitor might also be able to settle your claim out of Court. This not only means that you won’t have the stress of giving evidence but also means you can settle the matter much sooner and, as such, concentrate on getting yourself better as opposed to worrying about calling any witnesses to give evidence, what to expect from the other side and generally what might – or might not – happen when your case goes to Court. For some, it can be a daunting experience so if it can possibly be avoided and the right outcome can still be reached, it may be the best option. Each case is very different and a specialist solicitor will be able to advise you on the best option for your individual circumstances.
- If your claim is particularly serious then your solicitor will be able to offer you advice on how best to claim for any future expenses; i.e. not simply the ones already incurred to date. Often, of course, it can be extremely difficult to quantify expenses going forward but, given their level of expertise, a good PI solicitor will be able to calculate future expenses, such as any assistance you might need around the home (gardening, dog walking, shopping and so on), together with any future medical expenses. They might also recommend a medical review within a set period of time e.g. 6 or 12 months’ in order to ascertain your position and likely recovery time. By doing this, you not only have the assurance of regular reviews but also know that your claim amount is justified – particularly in cases where the future prognosis might not be clear-cut.
Suffice it to say, the benefits of consulting a solicitor after a car accident can be quite significant and should never be underestimated. Whether you believe your accident has been quite minor – or might have bigger consequences in the longer term – your solicitor should be able to provide relevant advice and above all else, ensure that you’re able to go through the RTA claim process smoothly and claim back whatever you’re rightfully entitled to.
Ultimately, of course, this means you can simply kick back and get yourself back on the road to recovery, safe in the knowledge that you’re in good hands and won’t suffer any financial loss for something that simply wasn’t your fault.