Claiming Car Accident Compensation
The impact of being in a car accident that wasn’t your fault goes way beyond the accident itself. There can be numerous after-effects which you may not be prepared for, which is why it is vital that you seek professional and specialised advice straight away. The information below acts as a general guide on what to do following a car accident and making a claim, but if you would like a free, no obligation consultation on your specific circumstances then please feel free to contact us through the form, live chat or on 0800 195 9590.
- What Should I Do After A Car Crash?
- What Evidence Will A Solicitor Need For My Car Accident Claim?
- What If The Car Accident Was Partly My Fault?
- The Process of Making A Claim
- What Can Be Claimed For Following A Car Accident?
- Claims Against an Uninsured Driver
- Public Transport & Taxi Accident Claims
- Dealing With Motor Insurance Companies
- Why Choose Smith Jones as Your Car Accident Solicitor?
What Should I Do After A Car Crash?
A car accident isn’t something most people are familiar with and it generally happens so quickly it can all become a haze. Should you be unlucky enough to be the victim of a road traffic accident, here are the key steps to take in the first instance:
1) Get Help. If you have been injured or any other person is in pain as a result of the accident, telephone an ambulance immediately as a priority. After that, you will need to call the police too who will be able to deal with any imminent dangers as a result of the accident. They will also be able to give you an incident number (Police Reference Number) and a copy of the police report. This is essential evidence which you will need if you are going to make a claim.
2) Gather Essential Information. Note down information such as the description of the other vehicle involved and the registration number. Obtain the name, address and insurance details of all drivers, and passengers present and collect the contact details of any witnesses who observed the accident.
3) Note Additional Details. Make a note of other factors which could influence the accident. Document the weather conditions, visibility and what the road conditions were like when the accident took place. If there are circumstances which added to the incident, make a note of these. If you have access to a camera, take some photos or videos of all damage incurred, of all vehicles involved and also the environment around you.
4) Speak To Your Insurers. Report the incident to your insurers, ensuring you make a note of all the information they ask for. If you don’t have all of this information available, use the time while you’re still at the scene of the accident to gather as much information as possible.
5) Seek Legal Advice. After the accident, make sure you seek professional legal advice from highly experienced and qualified solicitors such as Smith Jones. We are hardy and often ‘soldier on’ after an accident when we could have been receiving specialist care to help with our recovery. Many legal teams like ours will offer a free consultation, so make sure you call a company you feel you can trust.
What Evidence Will A Solicitor Need For My Car Accident Claim?
When you approach Smith Jones, or any accident claim solicitor to obtain legal advice, there are several things that we will need from you to help with your case and negotiate the injury compensation you deserve. It is helpful if you can supply as much of this as possible as having more evidence available to us helps us to maximise the amount of compensation you can be awarded. These are the types of evidence which will help with your claim:
1) Clear photographs of all injuries incurred,
2) Prescriptions, doctors notes and receipts for all your injuries and the expenses you have incurred in respect of medical treatment,
3) Receipts for all additional costs that you have incurred because of your accident, for example, payments for additional childcare, the cost of taxis to medical appointments or cancellation fees for a holiday,
4) A letter from your employer stating how much time you have had to take off work due to any suffering you have sustained and the amount of income you have lost,
5) A personal diary which outlines any further information which has not been covered by receipts. This can include information such as any period of time in hospital or rehabilitation clinics, details about your suffering and pain and information about any difficulties you face in your everyday life.
Car Crash Claims
What If The Car Accident Was Partly My Fault?
Most motorists believe that if they were partially at fault that they are unable to get any compensation, but this isn’t always the case. Whether the accident happened due to loss of driver concentration, dealing with adverse weather conditions or any other reasons, it still makes sense to obtain legal advice about making a claim for compensation.
All claims for car accidents are different and there is a chance you may still be able to recieve compensation. For example, if your vehicle hit another motorist, but it was due to a pothole in the road, you may have a case, although sometimes the amount of compensation you will be awarded may be reduced to reflect your partial responsibility. We’re here with impartial help if you need to explore your options after your car accident.
Should you have been unlucky enough to have a collision which involves a motorist without insurance, it is still possible to make an uninsured driver claim through the Motor Insurers Bureau. Uninsured driver claims will require legal advice in order to navigate this complex process effectively.
The Process of Making An RTA Claim
We will begin the process by notifying the Defendant of the claim. As injuries resulting from road traffic accidents can vary from minor soft tissue injuries and fractures to more serious spinal and brain injuries, the process will differ between claims.
Claims that are valued under £25,000 will be made in the Portal. The Portal is an online claims system, set up by the Government to manage claims efficiently and quickly. A claim notification form, which will include details of your injury and the circumstances of your accident, will be sent to the Defendant or their insurer.
Claims exceeding £25,000 will be made in a paper-based system but will follow a similar path.
The Defendants Response
Upon notification of the claim, the Defendant must acknowledge receipt and provide a response to the claim thereafter. In their response, the Defendant may:
- Admit liability for the claim in full.
- Admit liability subject to causation.
- Allege contributory negligence.
- Deny liability in full for the claim.
Liability & Settlement
If liability is admitted:
The claim will need to be substantiated. We will instruct a medical expert to produce a report on the injuries you have suffered following your accident. The expert will give their prognosis, which will help identify the effect the accident has had on you and estimate how long it has taken or will take for you to recover. The expert may also recommend further treatment such as physiotherapy.
Once you have approved the contents of the report, it will be used to help calculate an award of general damages for the injuries you have suffered. It will also help calculate some of your financial losses, including loss of earnings and future medical treatment. We will then value your claim and discuss what amount you would be willing to accept in settlement.
Once we have your instructions, our team will attempt to settle your claim with the Defendant by negotiation. There may be a number of offers made by each party before a settlement is reached. If the two parties are unable to reach a settlement, the claim will need to be issued at court, where a judge will determine what you will recover in damages.
If liability is denied:
The Defendant must explain why liability is denied and provide documents in support of their denial. We will then review the Defendant’s decision and consider what options are available to you, including the possibility of split liability.
It is likely that further corroborative evidence will be needed in support of the claim. This may include obtaining witness statements from persons who were present at the time of your accident or who can comment on the circumstances surrounding the claim.
The Defendant will then be asked to reconsider their decision on liability. If they maintain their denial, the claim will have to be issued and may reach Court.
Proceedings must be issued within 3 years from the date of the accident, unless the claim is being brought on behalf of a child, in which case, the Claimant has until 3 years after their 18th birthday.
Once a settlement has been reached, you will normally receive your compensation within 2 months. In the case of children, any compensation will not be payable until the child has reached the age of 18. This compensation will be held by the Court or, depending on the level of compensation, be transferred directly into their Child Trust Fund Accounts.
If you would like to know more about the car accident claims process, you can call our free accident advice helpline on 0800 195 9590 and our team will be happy to answer any questions regarding your road traffic accident.
What Can Be Claimed For Following A Car Accident?
Put simply; the law states that if you have an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you’re entitled to be put back into exactly the same position as you would have been in had the accident not occurred.
Quite what this might entail will naturally depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident, but typically, heads of claim can include personal injury, damage to your vehicle and other associated losses such as medical expenses, prescription charges and loss of earnings etc. Of course, this list certainly isn’t extensive and for the best advice, potential claimants are advised to speak to a legal professional, such as a solicitor or reputable claims management company. They will then typically include some, or all, of the following:
Personal injury can be defined as either a physical injury, disease illness or psychological illness (which can often occur some considerable time after an accident has taken place).
If you suffer any type of personal injury as a result of a car accident, then you’ll need to obtain medical evidence in order to support any claim you might want to make. This usually includes notes from your own GP, any hospital admission notes (particularly if you were taken into A&E following the accident) and any specialist reports, which are usually prepared by a consultant, often on the request of the third party’s insurer. Of course, personal injury can be extremely difficult to quantify, especially if the symptoms have the potential to become long-term. In cases such as these then it’s likely you’ll be referred for periodical assessments and this, of course, means that your claim may not be settled for quite some time. That said, some insurance companies are prepared to make periodical payments in respect of ongoing medical conditions, so it’s always advisable to look into this possibility – especially if you find yourself having to take time off work and resultantly receive a much lower income or have to claim statutory sick pay. At the time of writing (February 2018) the standard rate for this is £89.35 a week and is payable for up to 28 weeks.
Specific financial losses
As stated above, these can include any type of financial loss you might incur as a direct result of the accident, such as travel expenses, any time you might have to take off work (either on sick leave, or to attend medical appointments) and the replacement of any items which were damaged in the accident (such as glasses, clothing or other personal equipment). Whilst these are usually much easier to quantify than the personal injury aspect, you’ll still need proof of your specific loss – such as receipts for any replacement items, parking tickets and taxi receipts etc.
Damage to your vehicle
Vehicle damage is usually quite straightforward to quantify and is often done by obtaining two or more independent quotes. Most insurance companies will insist that any repairs are done by an approved body shop, so it’s important not to get any work done until such time as they’ve been pre-approved. You may also have to pay an excess.
If your insurer takes the decision that it isn’t economical to repair your vehicle, then they’ll usually offer you the vehicle’s market value (and this might well be substantially less than what you’d hoped for – or what you might previously have been able to sell it for). This procedure is known as the “write-off” procedure, i.e. the insurer will simply pay what they consider to be its ultimate value. In some cases, you might be able to keep the vehicle, or effectively ‘buy it back’ from salvage. However, this can have certain implications – such as not being able to retain the original number plate and/or substantially increasing your insurance premiums.
Claims Against Uninsured Drivers
There have recently been numerous reports in the press regarding a rise in uninsured drivers on UK roads. In July 2016, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) reported that over 500,000 uninsured cars had been seized in the previous four years. It was also estimated that a million drivers continued to drive without insurance in the UK.
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road accident, you should always ask for details of the other driver. To find that the driver of the other vehicle is uninsured can be distressing. It may leave you unsure about how to proceed and what rights you have to redress.
The Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) is in place to help provide a route to compensation for those injured in a road accident involving an uninsured or untraceable driver. If a driver is uninsured or leaves the scene of an accident without giving their details, the MIB may be the only option available to you to pursue a claim for compensation.
It is important to note that you can pursue a claim through the MIB without legal representation. However, we do provide a service whereby you can instruct our team to pursue the uninsured driver claim on your behalf if you wish.
This service is effectively the same service we provide to claimants of insured drivers – the only real difference is the party responsible for paying the compensation. A solicitor can take the burden of compiling the relevant information and evidence and can ensure that all the required components are in place to give your claim the best possible chance of success.
You will be required to provide an independent medical report. These can be expensive, and you will be required to pay for it. If a solicitor is involved, they will generally fund the cost of your claim, including the required medical report, until your uninsured drivers compensation has been received. You will most likely be offered representation on a no win no fee* basis, which means there is no risk to you in pursuing a claim against an uninsured driver.
*Terms and conditions apply.
Points to note:
- You may not be aware of all the losses you are entitled to claim for, resulting in your claim being under-settled. An expert solicitor can guide you through the additional losses which you may have suffered to ensure you are properly compensated for the uninsured driver claim.
- A solicitor can liaise with the medical expert instructed regarding any physiotherapy/rehabilitation they may suggest to aid your recovery. This means that while a solicitor is taking care of your claim, you can concentrate on your treatment. The cost of this can be included in your claim.
- A solicitor can take on the burden of chasing each stage of the process on your behalf, moving the claim forward as quickly as possible.
Untraced Driver Claims
The process for pursuing a claim against an untraced driver differs to a claim against an uninsured driver. Untraced driver claims are commonly associated with hit and run road traffic accidents and must be reported to the police within 14 days where an injury claim is to be pursued. Our team are experienced in representing clients in these types of untraced driver accident claims via the Motor Insurer’s Bureau, and we recommend you seek advice in relation to a claim as soon as possible.
If you choose to instruct a solicitor in an untraced driver claim, the MIB will arrange the medical report. Our role would be to guide you through the process, examine all the evidence that has been compiled and raise the appropriate questions to ensure you stand the fairest chance of success in your claim.
The compensation awarded in uninsured driver claims is calculated using the same ‘tariff’ as a road traffic accident being pursued against an insured driver. If you wish, you can use our handy claims calculator to see how much compensation you could be entitled to claim for your injuries.
In addition to compensation for your injuries (pain and suffering), in an uninsured driver claim, you are able to claim for any losses you have suffered as a result of the accident. These may include travel expenses, prescription costs, damage to your property and loss of earnings if you were unable to work for any period following the accident.
The compensation awarded in untraced driver claims through the MIB is slightly different from those against uninsured drivers. While you will still receive a sum for your injuries and loss of earnings if successful, you will not be able to claim for additional expenses such as property damage as a result of the accident.
As with most claims for personal injury, your claim to the MIB must be made within three years from the date of the accident. We recommend you start your uninsured driver claim as soon as possible to avoid details being lost or forgotten and to ensure your claim is concluded as efficiently as possible.
Public Transport & Taxi Accident Claims
When taking a taxi or other means of public transport, you are entrusting a stranger to get you from A to B in full control of a vehicle. If you have chosen this safe and convenient method of transport after a night out, for example, you should not be placed in any danger. Unfortunately, accidents do happen though. As such, any company responsible for providing public transport owes a legal duty of care to its users in order to ensure their safety, whilst also complying with any applicable health and safety standards. Suffice it to say, bringing a public transport related claim certainly has potential to quickly become complex – particularly if there are a number of different organisations involved. Consequently, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim, then it is imperative that you get the right advice – and as soon as possible.
Our highly experienced road traffic accident team are accredited by The Law Society and have advised thousands of clients in relation to car accident claims and taxi claims. If you’ve been a passenger in a taxi or public transport accident then call us on Freephone helpline 0800 195 95 90 for a no-obligation appraisal of your accident claim. If it is found that the accident was due in part to the poor upkeep of the vehicle, then the taxi firm / management company has both put you in danger and also broken the law. According to the Health & Safety at work Act of 1974 employers, in this case, taxi companies have a duty of care to both their employees & customers. This law also applies to the self-employed cab drivers.
Car Accident Claims Resources
Dealing With Motor Insurance Companies
Every motorist in the UK must have an adequate insurance policy before being permitted to use their vehicle on the road. This law guarantees that, should they cause a road traffic accident, they can compensate the victim for the damage to their car as well paying compensation for hardship experienced due to any physical injuries sustained in the crash. Even third-party cover, which is the minimum requirement for insurance, covers any of the victims, offering monetary relief if the injured party needs to take time off work for recuperation.
These days, lots of insurance companies will offer an early settlement to victims before they have been able to seek legal advice. However, it is usually a bad idea to accept an offer early, since the amount of compensation you are likely to be offered will almost certainly be considerably lower than the sum which you could receive through the courts. Since no insurer can properly value a compensation claim without getting evidence from a medical professional about your injuries, you should never accept an offer of early settlement before speaking to a legal professional.
If you have sustained injuries from a car accident that was not your fault at any time during the past three years, you may be able to pursue an injury claim. Our professional team have years of experience in handling the legalities and will be able to determine the validity of your car accident claim.
Why Choose Smith Jones?
Established in 1988, Smith Jones solicitors have a long history in dealing with all types of personal injury claims resulting from car accidents. We are proud to have successfully represented thousands of motorists who have suffered at the hands of another person’s negligence on the roads. As accredited personal injury solicitors, we can be relied upon to handle your case most sensitively and efficiently.
Thanks to our expertise and commitment to our clients, we can offer you the support and rehabilitation necessary to get your life back to normal. Most of our car crash claims are funded through no win no fee arrangements, so you can rest assured that there will be no costs to pay upfront and no financial risk. Should your compensation claim be successful, your legal fees will are subtracted from the amount that you receive.