Road Traffic Accident Claims
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Road Traffic Accidents
Road Traffic Accident Claims
The number of people using Britain’s roads is increasing every year, and road traffic accidents are an all too common occurrence. According to the Department of Transport, over 153,000 were injured on the roads in 2019, with almost 2,000 people killed.
In the majority of accidents, thankfully, no one suffers a personal injury and the only damage done is to the vehicles involved. However, there are times when road traffic accidents can have serious consequences, including severe injuries or even death.
So, if you or a loved one has sustained road traffic accident injuries through no fault of your own, you could be eligible to claim compensation. To find out more, call now on 0800 234 6438.
What is a road traffic accident compensation claim?
A road traffic accident compensation claim refers to the legal process of seeking financial compensation for injuries, damages, and losses suffered as a result of a road traffic accident. It aims to provide support to victims and help them recover physically, emotionally, and financially from the impact of the accident.
In order to make a personal injury claim following an accident, you must be able to demonstrate that you suffered an injury as a result of the accident, and that the accident itself was caused by the negligence of a third party.
To find out more about making a road accident claim, call now on 0800 234 6438 and speak to a trained legal advisor who will be able to tell you whether or not you have a claim to make. Or submit a Claim Online.
Importance of seeking compensation after a road traffic accident
The aftermath of a road traffic accident can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. In such challenging times, it’s important to know that seeking compensation can make a significant difference in your recovery journey.
- Financial support for medical expenses and rehabilitation: Dealing with medical bills and the costs of rehabilitation can add immense stress to an already difficult situation. Compensation can alleviate this burden by covering expenses such as medical treatments, surgeries, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and even assistive devices. With the financial support provided, you can access the best possible care and focus on your recovery without worrying about the cost.
- Compensation for pain and suffering: The aftermath of a road traffic accident can bring both physical and emotional pain. It’s important to acknowledge the impact it has on your quality of life. Compensation for pain and suffering recognises the hardships you’ve endured and serves as a measure of justice. It can provide a sense of validation and help you move forward with greater peace of mind.
- Loss of earnings and future earning potential: If the accident has forced you to take time off work, or if your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous occupation, compensation can help bridge the financial gap caused by the loss of earnings. Additionally, it takes into account any potential reduction in your future earning capacity caused by the accident. This aspect of compensation aims to provide stability and financial security during your recovery and beyond.
- Access to specialist treatments and support: Severe injuries resulting from road traffic accidents often require specialised treatments, therapies, and support services. However, these resources can come at a significant cost. Compensation ensures that you have the necessary funds to access the specialised care you need, increasing your chances of a full recovery. It’s important to have the best possible care available to you as you work towards regaining your health and well-being.
- Closure and justice for victims: Making a successful compensation claim can bring a sense of closure and justice for victims of road traffic accidents. Holding the at-fault party accountable for their actions and ensuring they take responsibility for the harm caused can provide a sense of relief and closure. It’s an opportunity to seek the justice you deserve and to prevent similar incidents from happening to others in the future.
Remember, seeking compensation is your right, and it can make a significant difference in your journey towards recovery. By taking this step, you can access the support you need, both financially and emotionally. If you’ve been through a road traffic accident, don’t hesitate to explore your options and seek the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Road Traffic Accidents
Road traffic accidents can occur due to various factors and involve different types of vehicles. Understanding the common causes and types of accidents can help individuals navigate the compensation claim process effectively.
What is a road traffic accident?
The actual term ‘road traffic accident’ covers a wide range of incidents, but those which seem to occur on a regular basis include:
- Accidents between two cars
- A motorcyclist who has collided with another vehicle
- A passenger travelling in a car which has been involved in an accident
- A driver or passenger injured in an accident caused by a dangerous road, an obstacle or poor driving surface
- A pedestrian being hit by a car
- A cyclist being hit by a car
- Accidents involving heavy goods vehicles or lorries
- Injuries to bus and taxi passengers
Types of road traffic accidents
Road traffic accidents encompass a wide range of incidents. Some common types include:
- Car accidents: Collisions involving cars can range from minor fender benders to high-speed crashes. These accidents can cause a range of injuries, from whiplash and fractures to more severe injuries such as head trauma or spinal cord damage.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries due to the lack of protection compared to cars. These accidents can lead to broken bones, road rash, traumatic brain injuries, and even fatalities.
- Bicycle accidents: Accidents involving bicycles can occur due to collisions with vehicles or hazards on the road. Cyclists are vulnerable to serious injuries, including fractures, head injuries, and spinal cord damage.
- Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians are at risk of being hit by vehicles, particularly at crosswalks or when crossing roads. These accidents can cause significant injuries, including broken bones, internal organ damage, and head injuries.
Common causes of road traffic accidents
Road traffic accidents can result from various factors, including:
- Distracted driving, such as texting or using mobile phones.
- Speeding and reckless driving.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Poor road conditions.
- Adverse weather conditions.
- Mechanical failures.
- Fatigue and drowsy driving.
Injuries and damages resulting from road traffic accidents
Road traffic accidents can result in various injuries, from minor injuries, to significant permanent disability, through to death:
- Broken bones and fractures: The force and impact of a collision can lead to fractures and broken bones. These injuries can range from minor fractures to more complex breaks that require surgical intervention. Fractures can occur in various parts of the body, such as the arms, legs, ribs, or skull.
- Head and brain injuries: Head injuries are a significant concern in road traffic accidents. They can range from minor concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Head injuries may result from direct impact with the steering wheel, dashboard, or other objects inside the vehicle. The consequences of these injuries can vary from short-term symptoms to long-term cognitive impairments.
- Spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord is a critical component of the central nervous system. Injuries to the spinal cord can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, loss of sensation, or impaired motor function. These injuries can have a profound impact on a person’s mobility and quality of life.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the head and neck are suddenly jerked back and forth due to a sudden impact. It commonly happens in rear-end collisions. Whiplash can cause neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and sometimes even long-term complications.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries often result from sudden impact or excessive strain on the body during a collision. From mild to serious soft tissue injury, symptoms can include pain, swelling, bruising, and restricted range of motion.
- Internal injuries: Internal injuries may not be immediately apparent after an accident but can be life-threatening if left untreated. These injuries can involve damage to organs, such as the lungs, liver, spleen, or kidneys, and may require immediate medical attention.
- Psychological trauma: Road traffic accidents can leave individuals with significant psychological trauma. Emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression are common psychological consequences. These injuries can have long-lasting effects on mental well-being and may require therapy or counseling.
In addition to the physical injuries, road traffic accidents can also cause damage to vehicles, property, and personal belongings. The impact of the collision can result in extensive damage to vehicles, leading to costly repairs or even total write-offs. Property such as fences, buildings, or road infrastructure may also be affected. Personal belongings inside the vehicle can be damaged, destroyed, or lost due to the accident.
What evidence do I need to support my claim?
If you are injured in aroad traffic accident that was someone else’s fault, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible because the driver (or their insurance company) may deny responsibility for the accident when you make a personal injury claim.
Try to collect any evidence you have that can help your claim. Below is a list of the kind of evidence which could benefit your traffic accident claim:
- The registration number of the other vehicle(s) caught up in the accident.
- The name, address and insurance details of anyone involved in the accident.
- The name and phone number of any witnesses.
- If you have a camera or a smartphone, take as many photos as possible of the crash. If you do not have a camera available, try to sketch down details of the accident.
- CCTV footage could be a vital piece of evidence. You can make a written request to the owner of a CCTV camera, and under the Data Protection Act 1998, they must provide you with a copy of the footage within 40 days as long as you provide a specific date and time, a description of your appearance and proof of your identity.
To make sure you get all the compensation you deserve, it is important that your personal injury solicitor gets copies of any hospital or doctor’s records which show what injuries you suffered, the treatment you received and the prognosis for the future. All of these factors will be taken into consideration when compensation is awarded.
Another part of the compensation awarded will be based on the financial impact of the injury. If you are forced to take time off work, or if you are unable to return to work, then compensation will be paid to cover loss of earnings. It is also advised that you keep any receipts as the payout will cover all expenses incurred due to the personal injury, such as medical bills, legal costs, and travel costs.
What is the eligibility criteria for making a claim?
To be eligible for a compensation claim, you must meet certain criteria:
- Fault-based claims: If another party’s negligence or wrongful actions caused the accident, you can make a fault-based claim against them. To establish fault, you need to provide evidence demonstrating that the other party breached their duty of care, leading to the accident and your injuries. This evidence may include witness statements, photographs, police reports, and expert opinions.
- Non-fault claims: Even if you bear some degree of responsibility for the accident, you may still be eligible to make a compensation claim. Non-fault claims acknowledge that multiple parties can contribute to an accident to varying extents. In such cases, the compensation amount you receive may be reduced based on your level of responsibility. However, as long as the other party shares a significant portion of the blame, you can still pursue a claim for the damages you have suffered.
How compensation is calculated
The amount of compensation you can receive depends on several factors, including:
- Special damages: These cover the financial losses directly related to the accident, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, property damage, and transportation expenses.
- General damages: General damages compensate for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity experienced as a result of the accident. The severity of your injuries and their impact on your daily life will influence the amount awarded.
- Loss of earnings: If you have had to take time off work due to the accident, you can claim compensation for the income you have lost. This includes both present and future earnings if your injuries affect your ability to work in the long term.
- Future losses: In cases where the accident has long-term consequences, such as permanent disabilities or the need for ongoing care, compensation can account for future losses, including medical expenses and loss of earning capacity.
- Psychological damages: Compensation can also be awarded for psychological trauma resulting from the accident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety.
How much compensation could I receive?
The Judicial College publishes a book called “Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases”, in which they offer guide compensation amounts to judges, based on the type of injuries suffered.
Some example amounts from the 12th edition of the book are shown below:
- Fractured Finger- Up to £3,850
- Fractures of the Nose – £1,375 to £18,700
- Minor/Uncomplicated Fracture of the Wrist – £2,860 to £5,995
- Fracture of Clavicle- £4,180 to £9,900
- Fractures of the Forearm- £5,390 to £15,510
- Simple Fracture of the Femur – £7,370 to £11,385
- Severe Neck Injuries – £36,740 to £119,900
- Severe Brain Damage – £227,975 to £326,700
- Tetraplegia/Quadriplegia – £262,350 to £326,700
It should be noted that these compensation amounts relate only to the personal injuries suffered – any expenses, such as lost earnings of future medical costs will be added on top of the guideline amount.
The process of making a compensation claim
Making a road traffic accident compensation claim involves several key stages. Here is an overview of the typical process:
- Initial consultation with a solicitor: The first step is to consult with a solicitor specialising in personal injury claims. During this consultation, your solicitor will assess the details of your case and determine whether you have a valid claim.
- Investigation and assessment of the claim: If your solicitor determines that you have a viable claim, they will initiate an investigation into the accident. This includes gathering evidence, obtaining medical reports, and assessing the value of your claim based on the extent of your injuries, financial losses, and other relevant factors.
- Negotiations with the insurance company: Once your claim is prepared, your solicitor will enter into negotiations with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. They will present your case and seek a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for your injuries and losses.
- Settlement or court proceedings: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your solicitor may recommend taking your case to court. In court proceedings, a judge will review the evidence and make a decision regarding the compensation amount.
- Timelines for the claim process: The duration of the claim process can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the willingness of the insurance company to settle, and court availability. Some claims can be resolved within a few months, while others may take longer, especially if they proceed to court.
- Keeping records and documentation: Throughout the claim process, it is essential to maintain accurate records of all correspondence, medical reports, and expenses related to the accident. These records will support your claim and help ensure you receive fair compensation.
What is the Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Scheme
The Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Scheme (also known as Claims Portal) came into existence in 2010 as part of government attempts to reduce the time and costs of civil litigation. The scheme originally covered traffic accident claims valued at £10,000 or less, and the target was for cases to be settled within six months. In 2013, the scope of the scheme was widened to include claims valued up to £25,000. If your personal injury claim falls into the reach of the scheme, you should receive a compensation payout faster.
Claiming compensation against an uninsured or untraced drivers
Occasionally, a traffic accident may be caused by the negligence of a driver who is either uninsured, or who flees the scene and is never caught. In situations such as these, some people may incorrectly believe that they are unable to make a claim, but that is not the case.
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) was established in 1946 to help fund compensation payouts to the injured victims of road traffic accidents when the other party was uninsured or untraced. It is a legal requirement under the Road Traffic Act 1988 for all companies who deal with motor insurance policies to be members of the Motor Insurers Bureau.
The MIB is funded by a small fee from every motor insurance policy taken out in the UK. Therefore, it is law-abiding citizens who foot the bill, but the organisation is necessary to help compensate people who have no other legal recourse.
To read more on the subject, visit our section dealing with uninsured and untraced drivers.
Changes to the whiplash injury claims process
There have been recent changes to the whiplash injury claims process in the UK. These changes aim to streamline the system, reduce fraudulent claims, and ensure fair compensation for genuine victims. Here are the key changes:
- Introduction of the Whiplash Injury Regulations: The Whiplash Injury Regulations came into effect in May 2021. Under these regulations, a new fixed tariff system was introduced for determining the compensation amount for whiplash injuries sustained in road traffic accidents. The tariff sets out specific compensation amounts based on the duration of the injury and any associated symptoms.
- Increased Small Claims Track Limit: The small claims track limit was raised from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic accident-related personal injury claims, including whiplash. This means that cases with a value below £5,000 will now be processed through the small claims track, which is a simpler and more cost-effective process.
- Ban on settling whiplash claims without medical evidence: To discourage fraudulent claims, it is now prohibited to settle whiplash claims without medical evidence. Claimants must provide a medical report from a qualified medical expert to support their claim. This requirement ensures that compensation is awarded only for genuine injuries.
- Implementation of the Official Injury Claim (OIC) service: The Official Injury Claim (OIC) service was launched in May 2021. It is an online platform that allows individuals to make a whiplash claim directly without the need for legal representation. The OIC service aims to simplify the claims process and make it more accessible to claimants.
- Introduction of a new pre-action protocol: A new pre-action protocol for low-value personal injury claims, including whiplash, was implemented alongside the changes. The protocol outlines the steps that both claimants and defendants should follow before commencing legal proceedings. It promotes early settlement and encourages transparency between the parties involved.
Time limits for making a compensation claim
In the UK, there are time limits for making a compensation claim following a road traffic accident. Generally, you have up to three years from the date of the accident to initiate legal proceedings. However, it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you meet all deadlines and have sufficient time to gather evidence.
Make a road traffic accident claim with No Win No Fee
If you’ve been involved in any kind of road traffic accident and suffered an injury as a result and feel that you weren’t to blame, then you may be in a position to make a compensation claim.
To find out more, or to begin the claims process, call 0800 234 6438 and discuss the details of your case with an expert legal adviser. They’ll give you an honest opinion as to whether or not you are in a position to make a claim or not. And they’ll never pressure you into going ahead with a claim.
We partner with specialist personal injury solicitors who work on a no win no fee basis, meaning there is no upfront costs and nothing for you to pay if you lose.
- How much will it cost me to make a claim?
- Do I need to hire specialist road traffic accident solicitors for my compensation claim?
- Do I need to report a road traffic accident to the police?
- What factors could affect the outcome of my claim?
- Could I claim compensation if the accident was my fault?
- Can I make a claim if the accident was partially my fault?
- Can I claim compensation if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt?
- Am I covered in a taxi accident?
- The other party is denying responsibility – should I still proceed with a claim?
- What if the accident was caused by mechanical malfunction?
- Can I make a claim if I was a pedestrian involved in a road traffic accident?
- I’ve been injured in a road traffic accident that was someone else’s fault, can I make a claim?