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Making a Compensation Claim for a Rear End Car Accident

You must consider a number of factors before proceeding with a compensation claim for a rear end car accident. The most common form of personal injury claim in the UK is for an injury sustained in a rear end collision, therefore there is a greater potential to make false claims for injuries such as whiplash. Insurance companies are very much aware of this and frequently investigate the circumstances of an accident which results in a compensation claim against one of their policyholders.

Although a compensation claim for a rear end car accident may be more common in comparison to other personal injury claims, it is important to remember that no two claims are the same – even if two victims are diagnosed with the same grade of whiplash injury – as the same injury can impact two lives quite differently. Therefore, if you believe a third party was at fault for your collision it is always in your best interests to discuss the circumstances of your accident with an experienced personal injury solicitor.

Am I Eligible to Claim Compensation for a Rear End Collision?

In order to determine if you are eligible to make a car accident compensation claim for a rear end collision you must first ask yourself how the accident occurred, was the vehicle in which you were an occupant struck from behind? The severity of your injuries and the nature of the accident will determine if you are eligible to make a compensation claim for a rear end car accident.

Commonly such accidents are caused by driver error and often are avoidable. Tailgating, travelling to fast for the road conditions or a lack of attention from the driver in the rear vehicle are all reasons why a rear end collision may occur. Faulty brakes and people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs also play a role. Although it is often accepted that the rear-ending driver is at fault in these accidents, it is still necessary to determine who was negligent when claiming compensation for a collision from behind.

What Steps should I take in the Immediate Aftermath of an Accident?

The procedures you follow in the aftermath of a rear end collision are the same as any other traffic accident. Ensuring you are not placing yourself at risk of further injury you then must exchange insurance and contact details with the other drivers involved in the accident, it is advised you also record the contact details of any other witnesses present.

If it has not already been done, the police must be contacted as your call to them will be noted and a record of the accident kept which will aid you in your car accident compensation claim. The ambulance service should also be called if you or anyone else has been injured on the collision.

It is important that you seek professional medical attention as soon as possible after the accident, even if there is no immediate evidence of injury, symptoms may take a few days to develop especially in the case of an injury such as whiplash. If you delay in visiting a doctor it could be alleged by the negligent party’s insurance company that the injuries you sustained were not serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention or that by not seeking medically attention, you succeeded in making your original injuries much worse, which would mean you contributed to your own injury.

How to make a Rear End Car Accident Compensation Claim

As mentioned earlier, if you are injured in an accident and wish to claim compensation for a rear end collision it is advised that you first report the accident to police if it has not been done already, as a police report of the accident will benefit your claim greatly. This is particularly important if the driver who was at fault for the accident left the scene without exchanging contact and insurance details.

The police may intend to search for the driver of the vehicle that hit you as it is a criminal offence to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging contact and insurance details therefore any details such as a registration number or description of the car that you may have recorded will aid the police greatly.

Once you have appointed a solicitor to act on your behalf and decide to claim compensation for a rear end collision, they will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the insurance company of the negligent third party. They have twenty-one days to acknowledge that they have received the letter and then must inform your solicitor within the following ninety days if they accept liability for their client’s negligence. You solicitor will then negotiate with the insurance company to attain the best possible settlement on your behalf if liability is accepted

Of course liability may not be accepted in which case your solicitor will discuss the other options available to you and whether it is worthwhile pursuing the claim through the courts. Your solicitor will evaluate the strength of your claim, the evidence you have gathered to validate your compensation claim and amount of compensation for a rear end collision you are likely to receive.

How much will my Car Accident Compensation Claim be worth?

The severity of the injuries sustained, the impact they have on your life and any expenses or loss of income you have experienced that are directly related to the accident will affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to claim.

Compensation claims are calculated using the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for General Damages in Personal Injury Claims as a reference – general damages for physical and psychological injury and any loss of amenity you have suffered due to your inability to perform everyday tasks or enjoy leisure and social pursuits which were part of your regular schedule before the accident occurred – fall under its remit.

It is common for passengers who make a compensation claim for a rear end car accident to receive a greater settlement than the driver because they may have had less time to prepare and brace for impact than the driver who – in the case of a rear end collision – is more likely to have seen the car approaching in their rear view mirrors, thus the passenger’s injuries are likely to be worse.

The Role of the Insurance Company in a Compensation Claim for a Rear End Car Accident

As mentioned earlier insurance companies regularly investigate compensation claims for rear end collisions and will challenge them where they deem it necessary, but if their investigations lead them to believe their client was the negligent party, they may approach the claimant directly with an unsolicited offer of compensation for their rear end collision.

You are strongly advised to refer all such offers to your solicitor as generally insurance companies make direct offers of compensation to protect their own interests. These offers are usually made soon after the accident and consequently are rarely accurate in giving you the amount of compensation you are entitled to, this is because at that early stage the long-term effects of your injuries and the impact they will have on your life are unknown.

Of course an offer up front can be very tempting, especially if you are worried about your current financial position but you should note that recovery from your injury may take a significant period of time – even if it appears rather mild at first – therefore the future costs of your injury may be higher than expected. Accepting an offer of compensation without knowledge of the full impact of your injury could leave you with an inadequate amount of money to support your family or pay your medical care and you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more.

If short term finances are a concern, your solicitor should be able to arrange for interim payments of car accident injury compensation until such a time that your car accident compensation claim is satisfactorily resolved.

Further Advice about Compensation for a Rear End Collision

If are unfortunate enough to be injured in a traffic accident and feel you may be eligible for compensation, you should always seek professional legal advice rather than pursue than claim by yourself or accept a direct offer from the insurance company.

The majority of solicitors in the UK offer free initial consultation for compensation claims where you have been injured in a rear end car accident. Once your claim is evaluated they may offer you legal representation on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis, of course this does not guarantee that your claim will be successful but it is a good barometer.

As it is often important to construct claims for compensation for rear end car accidents as soon as possible after a collision has occurred, it will be in your best interests to speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.