If you suffer an injury in a road accident you may be entitled to compensation. In this article we explain the process of making a road accident claim.
Immediately After the Accident
- Take the full name and address of the driver/s of the other vehicle/s involved
- Obtain names and addresses of witnesses if possible
- Check to see if any of the driver/s or witnesses have a dash camera which recorded the accident
- If possible take photos of the scene of the accident, the other vehicle/s involved (showing the vehicle registration plate/s) and the other driver/s
- If an injury has occurred, report the incident to the police as soon as possible
- Report the matter to your insurers as soon as possible
- Keep full details of losses and expenses incurred as a result of the accident – keeping receipts where possible.
Contact a Personal Injury Solicitor
The next step is to contact our Personal Injury Solicitors to see if you can claim compensation on a No Win No Fee basis. If so, a Claim Notification Form will be completed using the information you have provided and this is submitted electronically to the insurers of the person who you believe to be at fault for the accident.
If liability for the accident is admitted, the claim continues under the protocol set out by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). If liability is denied or further time is required to make investigations, the claim will not proceed under this protocol.
If liability is admitted, the Defendants (meaning the people defending the claim) will also have to confirm whether or not they will provide treatment, such as physiotherapy, to assist recovery from your injuries. If they do offer this treatment we would recommend that you accept this, as it’s important to do everything you can to assist your recovery.
Calculating Your Losses
We will send you a Losses and Expenses Questionnaire for you to complete. This will include items such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses, policy excess and other financial losses you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. Receipts for expenses will be required by the Defendants to prove the loss, so you should keep all receipts where possible.
We will require information from your employers with regard to a claim for loss of earnings but we can request this on your behalf. If you are self-employed we will require your accounts for the three years prior to the accident. Using this information we will then prepare a Schedule of Loss for you. This can be updated throughout the claim.
We can arrange for you to attend a medical examination with a medical expert who specialises in the types of injuries you have suffered. The examination would be followed by a report detailing the injuries suffered, the impact of the injuries on your day to day life and give a prognosis (the time the expert expects you to recover from your injuries). The expert may also recommend treatment or a referral to another type of medical expert such as an Orthopaedic expert or a Psychological expert.
If another medical examination is recommended by the expert we can, if appropriate, request an ‘interim’ payment of £1,000. An interim payment is when you receive part of your compensation settlement early.
Negotiating a Compensation Settlement
Once we have the final medical evidence and the full details of all your financial losses, we can advise you of the value of your total claim. We value the injuries element of the claim based on recent decisions in the Court for similar injuries. Once you have approved the valuation we can then start settlement negotiations on your behalf.
A Settlement Pack, together with all the required evidence, is submitted to the Defendants electronically showing a breakdown of all amounts claimed. The Defendants can then either agree the offer in total, or make counter offers against any of the amounts claimed which we would then discuss with you.
If a settlement is agreed, the insurers have a total of 2 weeks to send your compensation payment to us together with payment of your legal costs.
If settlement cannot be agreed, the next step is to issue Court proceedings. If proceedings are issued the Defendants have to send a payment for their final offer made. A hearing date will be given by the Court where a Judge will decide the final award of compensation.
The Judge will not be aware of the amounts offered by either side. If the Judge awards more than that offered by the Defendants, a further payment will be made to you. If the Judge awards less, you will be required to refund the difference to the Defendants.