Road Traffic Accidents – How Do I Pursue A Claim?
News article published on: 17th September 2019
Road traffic accidents come in myriad forms: from vehicle collisions with pedestrians, another vehicle or a stationary object, road traffic accidents often result in injury and in the worst cases, death. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 1.25 million people die every year because of road traffic accidents and that injuries as a result of road accidents are the leading cause of death of people between the ages of 15 and 29.
Our own UK government also collates data on road traffic accidents: in 2017 for example, there were nearly 171,000 casualties of road traffic accidents, of which just under 25,000 were considered serious and 1,793 resulted in death. The same year, car occupants accounted for 44% of road accident deaths, with pedestrians accounting for 25%, motorcyclists 19% and cyclists 6%.
Personal injury claims in the UK
The Association of British Insurers collects data on the number of motor insurance claims each year. In 2017, there were 320,000 motor related personal injury claims settled. So, if you too have been affected by a road traffic accident, how do you go about making a claim? Let’s go from the beginning.
At the road traffic accident site: knowledge is power
If you are involved in a road traffic accident, always stop: it is illegal not to do so. Call 999 for an ambulance if necessary and then call the police. If you can, exchange contact details with drivers, passengers and witnesses.
It is also a good idea to get as much information as possible about the accident, including the time and date of the crash, a sketch of what happened, registration numbers and a note of the weather, road and traffic conditions. You could consider taking photographs of the scene and close-up images of any damage or injury. Then, when you get home inform your insurer as soon as possible – failure to do so could result in problems later.
After the road traffic accident: supporting details
If your road traffic accident was not your fault, you could claim financial compensation with the assistance of a specialist solicitor. Collecting evidence can help your case for compensation. So, obtain documentation that shows how the accident affected you. These documents may include:
- Medical reports written at the time of your initial injury
- Reports of subsequent treatment sessions, such as physiotherapy
- Additional medical reports during your recovery
- Receipts to indicate costs of any therapies, medications, aids
- Receipts for loss of earnings, out of pocket money for travel etc
- A personal diary of how your injuries affect you and your family
- Police reports of the accident site
- Witness details and statements
A successful compensation claim can include money to cover for any injuries incurred, loss of earnings and for other costs such as medical treatment, policy excess and depreciation of your vehicle. The value of the personal injury claim depends on several factors, including severity of injury and the duration of impact on your life and activities of daily living. Pay-outs can range from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It is important to remember that once the accident has happened, you have only 3 years to make a compensation claim. This means that it is within your best interests to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible.
You now have legal representation. What happens next?
Once you have secured legal experts to help you make your compensation claim, there are a few stages ahead of you, before an offer is made. These stages may include:
- Another medical examination – this is vital to any compensation claim as it endorses the severity and impact of any injuries. The more information you have, the better.
- Providing evidence of the crash – your legal team will look for evidence to support your claim that another party caused your road traffic accident. They will consider photographs, witness statements and any images available from CCTV or dashcams. Determining negligence of a third party tends to smooth the passage to compensation and may facilitate an early part-payment of compensation to cover any immediate expenses.
- Settling out of court – most compensation claims from road traffic accidents are settled out of court, between representatives of the defendant and claimant.
- Going to court – if it is not possible to come to a resolution, your case may go to court. If this happens, your legal team will present your case and will advise you on acting as a witness. You will be supported every step of the way, so there is nothing to worry about.