Legal Knowledge

Handling a road traffic accident: claim for compensation

Given you have just been engaged in a road accident as a driver, a pedestrian or a passenger and got injured due to someone else’s negligence, you are free to make a compensation claim. The topic also covers accidents that involve cyclists, motorcyclists and horsemen. Sadly, solicitors in England process up to 3 road accident claims on a daily basis. People do bring their cases to court because it is mostly quite expensive to rehab after an accident, even if the injury is not that major: the compensation received can serve reasonable financial support, let it be a whiplash or a seat belt injury.

There are multiple reasons that may cause an accident occurrence on the road, ranging from simple negligence to extreme weather conditions. Often, one’s ignorance of traffic signs, speeding, intoxication or getting distracted by something inappropriate can put their life at risk. Another group of possible accident triggers covers poor road quality and the vehicle defects such as malfunctioning brakes or faulty tires. Whatever the reason is, your task is to prove that it is the opposite side’s responsibility for the bad condition you find yourself in now, when making a legal claim for compensation.

Here is a short overview of the most common accident scenarios with reference to the victim’s roles:

  • Driver

Drivers typically sue other drivers, but there are also situations when the offending party is represented by some institution responsible for the road maintenance: e. g. the accident occurred on the icy road because it had not been gritted – in this situation, the driver can submit an accident claim against the party responsible for the road maintenance.

  • Passenger

Initially treated as casualties that became victims of someone’s negligence, passengers have all chances to benefit from a successful legal claim for compensation. However, the damages amount can be significantly reduced if not eliminated completely provided the passenger was not wearing a seat belt. The same applies to other “slight” violations of the rules.

  • Pedestrian

A personal injury claim is a perfect tool for pedestrians to search for compensation after a road accident. On top of that, pedestrians can make bids for damages even if they are somehow responsible for the accident – the damages will be simply reduced to some extent.

  • Cyclist

If you got involved in a traffic accident while riding your bike, you can submit an injury compensation claim and ask to cover your damages for the injuries, the bike broken and any other material losses resulting from the accident.

Generally, accident claims are filed against the insurance company of the party considered responsible for the accident, independently of their role on the road. As a rule, UK drivers are obliged to have at least one of the following insurance types: fully comprehensive, theft, third party fire, etc.

As long as the offending party is uninsured, the claim can be directed to the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) with reference to the “Uninsured Drivers Agreement”. Unfortunately, such claims are way more complex and may require assistance from qualified solicitors. Worth noticing, road accident claims are often taken as no win no fee agreements by the solicitors who are quite sure about the case success and do not require any preliminary fees – all the legal costs will be covered by the opposing side as a part of compensation. In the UK, it is recommended to handle accident claims being equipped with legal support from solicitors. Read more specifics in a special article on the no win no fee way of implementation.

Right after the accident takes place, it is important to visit your doctor in order to state the diagnosis correctly: the information received will serve a vital confirmation of your physical injuries and related rehabilitation costs when filing a compensation claim. The next step you should definitely take is to collect as much proof as possible – make sure to gather the following info:

  • names and contact information of the other party, as well as their insurance company details
  • description of the vehicle involved in the accident, including the registration numbers
  • names and numbers of the witnesses present next to the accident spot
  • photographs from the scene.

Contact the police and report the accident promptly, trying to avoid any discussions about the potential offender – you had better discuss it in court. In addition, do not forget to call your insurance company.

If the accident offender disappears from the scene and you fail to track their vehicle’s registration number, there is an option of making a claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau referring to the “Untraced Drivers Agreement”. Mind that in such a case the accident must be reported to the police no later than 5 days after the incident if you claim for the property damages and no later than 14 days in case of a personal injury claim.