Being involved in a road traffic accident can be an overwhelming experience that can sadly leave those involved with lasting physical and mental injuries. Solicitor, Sarah Dawes, talks us through the process of making a road traffic claim, who can make a road traffic claim and the information needed to make a road traffic claim.
Talk us through the process of making a road traffic accident claim
If you have been unfortunate enough to have been involved in a road traffic accident which was not your fault and have suffered an injury and financial losses, it is important that you seek the advice from a reputable law firm that specialises in personal injury as soon as possible.
Your Lawyer will will consider the circumstances of the accident and if they believe that you have reasonable and sufficient prospects of success, they will talk you through the process and what is involved and how the claim will be funded.
The claim will be notified to the third-party insurance company either via a Letter of Claim or a Claim Notification Form (depending on the likely value of the claim) and they will have a set period of time to provide a response with their formal stance on liability and whether this is admitted or disputed.
Your Lawyer will look to arrange a medical examination with an independent medico-legal expert at the appropriate time so that your injuries can be considered, and a medical report compiled. This is necessary for the purposes of valuing your claim for personal injury and losses (past, present and future). Your medical records may be required.
What information does someone need to provide to their solicitor when making a road traffic accident claim?
Your Solicitor will require a full description of the accident details together with the name and contact details of the other person(s) involved in the accident. This should include the vehicle registration of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident and their insurance details (if you have these).
If there were any witnesses to the accident, this information should be given to your Solicitor together with details of any Emergency Services that attended the scene. If you have the name of the attending Police Officer and Incident Reference Number this should also be provided together with your own insurance details and vehicle registration (if you were in a vehicle).
Clients often find it beneficial to keep a diary of their injuries so that a medical expert can view this when compiling their report. You should also keep all invoices/receipts for any financial expenses that you incur because of the accident so that these support any claim for losses and expenses you may make as part of your claim.
Do you have to be the driver of a car to make a road traffic accident claim?
You do not have to be just the driver of a car to pursue a claim for personal injury.
If you were a passenger in a vehicle you are also entitled to make a claim, and this includes being a passenger on a bus/in a taxi etc.
If your driver was at fault for the accident, you could still be entitled to pursue a claim as an ‘innocent party’ in the accident, so it is very important to consult a Solicitor to discuss this further.
In addition, if you were a pedestrian that was knocked over in a road traffic accident or a cyclist involved in an accident, you are also entitled to make a claim as long as the accident was not your fault. Once again, you should seek legal advice.
Are there any time limits on making a road traffic accident claim?
In England and Wales, you have 3 years from the date of the accident or the date of knowledge to bring a claim under the Limitation Act 1980; after this time, you will be statute barred and are unlikely to be able to bring a claim for personal injury and losses. It is therefore very important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If the accident happened abroad and not in England and Wales, the time period to bring a claim differs depending on where the accident happened; as such, you should seek legal advice immediately as not all Countries have a 3-year limitation period, and some have a much shorter time limit to bring a claim.
How can a solicitor help a client access medical rehabilitation?
Your Solicitor may be able to arrange some private rehabilitation for you depending on liability and whether the third-party insurers/representatives are willing to either release an interim payment to cover treatment or arrange this via one of their own health care providers as part of the Rehabilitation Code.
Levels of rehabilitation can vary from providing physiotherapy treatment to help with physical symptoms to counselling/CBT treatment to help with psychological symptoms. They may even be able to arrange private x-rays/MRI scans if they are recommended by the medico-legal expert.
In more complex and serious injuries, a Case Manager may be appointed to assess and assist with your needs; this assistance could range from helping to modify your accommodation to help adapt your physical needs to providing vocational support and re-training if you are no longer able to continue with your pre-accident occupation.