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How Do I Claim Compensation After a Car Accident

Injured road users wondering ‘How do I claim compensation after a car accident?’ should begin by establishing whether there was a third party at fault for their accident. If someone else’s negligence contributed to an accident and an injury, it is most likely that a claim for car accident injury compensation can be made.

Hundreds of people every day are injured on Britain’s roads, many of whom are entitled to compensation for injuries in a car accident but do not make a claim. Any road user injured by someone else’s negligence is entitled to claim compensation after a car accident, and claims for injuries in a car accident are not just limited to drivers —passengers, pedestrians and cyclists can also claim compensation if they are the injured party in a car accident.

The most common road accidents are those involving two or more vehicles, though it is not only other drivers that are necessarily liable for causing injuries. Poor mechanics and local councils — who are responsible for the upkeep of roads — can also be held responsible for an injury. To find out if you may be entitled to receive compensation for an injury you suffered on the road, contact a solicitor without delay.

Am I Eligible to Claim Compensation?

There Must Be a Record of an Injury

After speaking with a solicitor and asking ‘How do I claim compensation after a car accident?’ you must then ensure that you can prove that you have in fact sustained an injury. In order to be eligible for car accident injury compensation there must be a record of the injuries you sustained during the accident. In most cases the injured party will have had their injuries examined by a medical professional who will have compiled a report. In some cases however, injured parties tend to their own wounds or rely solely on first aid received at the scene of the accident. Claims for injuries in a car accident are unlikely to be successful if this is the case and there is no record of an injury being sustained.

A settlement of compensation for injuries in a car accident may also be harder to achieve if a significant amount of time has passed between the time of the accident and a visit to the hospital. Although waiting to see if treatment is necessary before visiting a doctor may seem a good idea at the time, it allows the negligent party to argue that the claimant exacerbated their own injury by not having it treated immediately and may be reason enough for a portion of any compensation you are entitled to being withheld.

There Must Be a Negligent Party

Answering the question ‘How do I claim compensation after a car accident?’ is much more difficult if you have trouble identifying the negligent party. Every driver on the roads has a duty of care towards other road users — including their passengers, pedestrians and cyclists — and proving that a driver failed in that duty is essential to a successful resolution of claims for injuries in a car accident.

A solicitor will help you to build a successful case against a negligible party by compiling the strongest evidence available from the scene of the accident. Police accident reports, medical reports, CCTV and witness testimony are among the types of evidence that can be used to bring about a successful conclusion to your claim.

To ensure there is the strongest possibility of being awarded compensation for injuries in a car accident, enlisting the help of an experienced solicitor is highly advisable. Engaging the services of a solicitor, who specialises in the area of car accident injury compensation, is especially important when it comes to settling cases against garages or local councils — parties that may not necessarily have an ‘absolute’ duty of care towards road users.

Initiating a Car Accident Injury Claim

Once the evidence against the negligent party has been compiled, the solicitor will then send a Letter of Claim to the negligent party’s insurers to inform them that you intend to take action against one of their policyholders. Once the letter has been sent, the insurance company has 21 days to inform the solicitor that it has received the letter. After receipt has been acknowledged, the company is given 90 days in which to decide whether they are going to concede liability or dispute the claim.

If an admission of liability is received from the insurance company, the solicitor will engage in negotiations to obtain a suitable settlement of compensation for injuries in a car accident. If the claim is disputed, the solicitor will commence court proceedings. It is important not to discuss compensation settlement figures with the insurance company before receiving a response to the Letter of Claim, as circumstances may have changed — previously undiscovered symptoms may have manifested for example, or more medical expenses may have been added to an initial estimate.

How Much Compensation for Injuries in a Car Accident?

The amount of compensation that can be awarded to a claimant is preliminarily based on the rules set out in the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages. Once this amount has been established, other factors will come into play to calculate how much compensation for injuries in a car accident the claimant will ultimately receive. A claimant’s age, gender, any deterioration in their quality of life or loss of amenity — the ability to engage in work and leisure activities will be among the most frequently considered elements.

It is worth noting that if an accident has rendered a victim unable to work and he/she is claiming State benefits in order to compensate for a loss in earnings, some of the benefits may have to be paid back once a settlement is reached.

Victims who make claims for injuries in a car accident can also be compensated for emotional damage sustained during the accident. Psychological trauma is often identified when someone travelling with the claimant is badly hurt or injured; particularly if it is a child or family member.

Unsolicited Compensation Offers

An unsolicited offer of car accident compensation is when the negligent party’s insurance company contacts the victim directly with a proposal to end the action. Insurance companies view an unsolicited offer as a way to minimise the amount of time and expense it has to spend on the case.

The insurance company, which would have been made aware of the particulars of the accident by the negligent party, may have chosen to conduct an investigation by itself before deciding whether or not to put forward an unsolicited offer.

Another reason that insurance companies choose to issue an unsolicited offer at an early stage is to capitalise on the victim’s vulnerable state, when they may be more willing to accept a lesser offer than they might be awarded in court or achieve if a solicitor was to negotiate in their behalf. It is highly advisable that you contact a solicitor immediately after receiving an unsolicited offer. A solicitor will be able to tell you whether or not the offer is fair and help you to assess if it covers the expenses you have incurred, or are likely to incur, as a result of the accident.

How Do I Submit a Claim a Driver is Uninsured/Untraceable?

If you are involved in an accident in which you are injured by an uninsured or untraceable driver it may appear to be more difficult to answer ‘How do I claim compensation after a car accident’? While there is no insurance company to approach directly, compensation for injuries in a car accident can be recovered through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau; an organisation set up by the UK’s insurance companies to compensated victims of uninsured or untraceable negligent drivers.

As is the case when dealing with insurance companies, the MIB has an interest in paying out the least amount possible and although settling compensation claims for injuries in a car accident in keeping with the values laid out by the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of Damages, the MIB does not guarantee that all of the victim’s expenses will be met or their loss of amenity compensated.

As a Passenger, How do I Claim Compensation After a Car Accident?

Car accident passengers have as much right to make a claim for car accident injury compensation as drivers and can even claim if the car they had been travelling in was driven by the negligent party. It should be remembered that car accident injury compensation claims are made against the insurance company of the negligent party, and not the driver themselves, especially when it is the case that a relative or friend of the person at fault has to claim from them to pay for their injuries to be treated.

Passengers can often receive more compensation than drivers in an accident; mainly because drivers are obligated to pay attention when driving and therefore have more opportunity to brace themselves when a collision is imminent – as opposed to a passenger who may not be concentrating on the road when the accident occurs.

Car Accident Claims Involving Children

Children’s car accident claims are dealt with in a different manner from those involving adults. Firstly, as children are not allowed to claim on their own behalf, an adult must act for them. This person is known as a ‘litigation friend’ and must be someone who is first approved by the court and who does not have a conflict of interest with the child claimant — such as if they are the party accused of negligence.

Secondly, any award won on behalf of the child must be approved by the court and will then remain in court funds until the child reaches 18 years of age. Some funds, such as for medical or educational expenses, may be unlocked in the meantime with approval from the court.

No Win, No Fee Claims for Injuries in a Car Accident

Potential claimants who put the question ‘How do I claim compensation after a car accident?’ to their solicitor may receive an offer to be represented on a No Win No Fee basis. A No Win No Fee arrangement is one in which the claimant does not have to pay any solicitors´ fees if the case is unsuccessful. Claimants who receive an offer of No Win No Fee legal representation should be encouraged as this kind of arrangement is only offered if the solicitor believes the case has an excellent prospect of being successful.

It should be noted that although a claimant will not be responsible for their solicitor´s legal fees if their claim is unsuccessful, they may still have to pay some expenses, as well as the defendant’s legal costs. Because of this potential financial liability, solicitors may insist on the claimant protecting themselves with an ‘After the Event’ insurance policy.

If a solicitor does not offer a No Win No Fee option, they may assist the claimant with investigating other means of funding their claim. Some vehicle insurance policies and credit cards are sold with a legal fee component attached, as are memberships of motoring organisations.

More Information on Car Accident Injury Compensation

Before deciding to proceed with a claim for car accident injury compensation a claimant should discuss the specific circumstances of their car accident with a solicitor. The solicitor will be able to advise the claimant on whether they are eligible to have their case presented on a No Win No Fee basis, as well as being able to answer any other question about the process not covered here.

It is always best to speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity. Initiating the process as quickly as possible is imperative and will help to avoid the possibility of issues which could arise as a result of the three-year time limit for making claims for injuries in a car accident imposed by the Statute of Limitations in the UK.