Road Traffic Accident Guide

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and have sustained injuries as a result, you could be entitled to compensation. To help you determine whether you’re eligible to make a claim, we’ve created a Road Traffic Accident Guide. Packed with useful information, you can learn more about what you need to do to make a claim.

Road Traffic Accident - Car Rolled Over - Nash & Co Solicitors

Helping you claim compensation for your injuries

Over the years, our team of Personal Injury lawyers have represented hundreds of clients who have sustained injuries from a road traffic accident. The claims we’ve handled vary hugely, from whiplash injuries to life-changing conditions and paralysis. We’ve recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds for these clients, by making a claim for compensation.

The majority of clients have never made a claim before and aren’t sure where to even start. So, we’ve put this guide together to help you understand the process. We’ll also cover what you need to do, and how our lawyers can help you, every step of the way.

Contents

Key points

  • If you’ve been in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault, then you could be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries.
  • If we think that you have a claim, then we’ll be able to work for you on a No-Win-No-Fee basis.
  • Our qualified and highly experienced personal injury lawyers will handle your claim from start to finish.
  • The amount of compensation that you might be entitled to is based on how severe your injuries are. Whether you will need ongoing care in the future will also be taken into account.
  • If you paid for medical treatment or equipment following your accident, you may be able to claim for these too.
  • It’s not just the driver who can claim compensation following an accident. If you were a passenger and you’ve been injured, you can also make a claim.
  • The general rule is that you have 3 years from the date of the accident to make a claim. There are exceptions though, please see below.
  • The amount of time it will take to claim the compensation is dependent on the severity of your injuries.

Why choose Nash & Co Solicitors?

  • We have fully qualified personal injury lawyers with a wealth of experience in road traffic accident injuries and claims
  • We’re independent of any insurance companies and will always act in your best interests
  • We’ll ensure we do all we can to achieve the best possible settlement for you
  • We do what we say we will do, when we say we will do it
  • There will always be someone available to discuss your claim with you
  • We pride ourselves on our exceptional client service standards
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Who can claim following a road traffic accident?

It is not only the driver of a vehicle who can claim following a road traffic accident; if you are a passenger you can also claim. For example, if you’re the passenger in a car and the driver loses control, you can pursue a claim against the driver of the vehicle in which you’re travelling. Similarly, if you’re a passenger and the driver drives into another car, you can claim against the driver.

Historically, passenger compensation claims are likely to succeed. Ordinarily, the accident is unlikely to have been your fault as you have no control over the car.

Children who are passengers in a car can also make claims if they are injured. However, if they are under the age of 18, they will need somebody to act on their behalf.

Pedestrians may also be able to make a compensation claim, dependent on the accident circumstances.

What information is required to make a personal injury claim?

People involved in a road traffic accident can often become confused or suffer from shock. This causes them to forget the important bits of information that they really need to remember. We have therefore put together a little ‘cheat sheet’ that we recommend you print out and keep in your car.

To start, we need to know the personal details of the person submitting a claim. We’ll also need to know the details of the person who caused the accident (including the name, address, registration of their vehicle, and their insurance company). If the Police were involved, then the police log number would be very helpful too. If you have a dash cam in your vehicle, the footage is useful and could also provide some of the information that we need. Full details of your injuries will also be needed, together with details of any hospitals that you attended.

In a claim for personal injuries, you have three years from the date of the accident (unless the person is a child). This is to either settle your claim with the Defendant, or to at least commence court proceedings.  If you fail to do either, then you’re no longer able to pursue a claim.

Road Traffic Accident

How long do you have to make a claim for compensation?

If the claim is for a child, they have three years from their 18th birthday to start a claim for compensation.  A child can start a claim at any age if they have a “litigation friend”. This is usually a parent or close family member who can deal with everything on their behalf.

There is no time limit for someone unable to claim on their own behalf, due to diminished mental capability. However, should they regain normal mental capacity, the three-year limitation period will commence from that date.

Compensation – what you could receive

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on a variety of factors. These include the severity of your injury as a result of the road traffic accident and the duration of your symptoms. Until final medical evidence is obtained, your lawyer will not be able to estimate the value of your claim.

As a very rough guide, someone who suffers from a whiplash type injury to the neck for a period of around 12 months is likely to receive an award of damages for pain and suffering of between £3,500 and £4,000.

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What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back and forth movement of the neck. It is commonly caused by rear end shunt road traffic accidents. Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually develop after a few hours and can include neck pain and stiffness, worsening pain and neck movement, loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches (most often starting at the base of the skull), tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms, tingling or numbness in the arms, fatigue, dizziness.

Some people also suffer from blurred vision, ringing in the ears, sleep disturbance, irritability, poor concentration, memory problems. Most people who suffer from whiplash injuries start to feel better after a few weeks. No lasting effects are experienced. However, some people continue to have pain for several months or even years after the injury occurred. It’s difficult to predict how each person with whiplash may recover. For this reason, it’s vital that you seek medical advice immediately after the road traffic accident. That could either be from your GP, a local walk-in centre or from A&E at your local hospital.

Will you need to see an independent doctor?

Once it has been established who is responsible for your accident and that you have sustained injuries as a result, you, as a claimant, have to prove that the injuries that you complain of have been caused as a direct result of the road traffic accident. To do this we have to obtain independent medical evidence from a medical expert. We will instruct an appropriate expert to examine you and to prepare a report. You will be required to attend to see the expert and they will write a report based upon their examination of you and the findings. They will confirm in the report when they anticipate that you will make a recovery.

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How is compensation calculated?

Compensation awards in personal injury claims are made up of General Damages and Special Damages. General Damages are compensation for pain, suffering and ‘loss of amenity’. Special Damages are compensation for financial losses.

General Damages

This is compensation for your injuries. The court will assess the value of your injuries by using the Judicial College Board Guidelines. These are a set of ‘guidelines’ that are used to decide on compensation levels. The amount of compensation depends on the severity of the injury together with contributing factors such as the recovery period.

For an idea of how much this is likely to amount to, please contact our team. We’re always on hand to help you.

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If you do not recover in line with expectations, then it may be the case that we have to obtain further medical reports. Or the medical expert may recommend a further medical report be obtained.

Special Damages

These are the financial losses which you may have incurred as a direct result of your accident. Usually, the biggest loss is ‘loss of earnings’ as a result of not being able to work. It can also include loss of over time, loss of bonuses and loss of shift allowance. If your accident has affected your future ability to work, then claims can be made for future loss of earnings. Your pension may also have been affected.

You should also think about your contract of employment and speak to your employer. You may have to recover money on behalf of them which you have been paid as company sick pay. This is known as a subrogated claim.

See the graphic above for other examples of Special Damages that you might be able to claim for.

It’s important that you keep a detailed note of all your costs together with receipts. If you are not sure whether you can recover a cost, just call us and we’ll help!

road traffic accident

How long will it take to settle my claim?

That depends. Every claim is different. If liability for the road traffic accident is contested and the injury is complicated, then the claim will take longer to conclude. If liability is admitted early in the claim, your injuries settle down quickly and the defendant’s insurers make a reasonable offer to settle the claim then things can be concluded quite quickly.

Relatively straightforward claims can settle within 6 to 9 months, but more complicated claims can be ongoing for several years.

Does it matter who you choose to represent you?

A lot of motor policies now automatically include legal expenses insurance. So, when you call your insurer to tell them about your accident, they will pass your details to a ‘panel solicitor’. This is usually a legal services firm that has the job of settling your claim as quickly as possible.

What you probably don’t know about these panel firms is that the person responsible for the day-to-day handling of your claim may have very little or no legal experience or legal qualification.

Increasingly, we are finding that clients are coming to us asking us to take over their claim. These clients have received very poor service from a legal expense insurance ‘panel solicitor’.  The typical complaints that we hear include:

  • “They never call me back.”
  • “Their lawyers don’t seem to know what they’re doing.”
  • “They don’t seem to listen to me.”
  • “They keep asking me to sign things I don’t agree with.”

That last one is really concerning to us as a firm. No good lawyer will ever pressure you into signing something that you don’t agree with.

Make sure your lawyer has your best interests at heart

It’s vital that you know your lawyer has your best interests at heart. They should understand your claim, and most importantly, know the law and what you should be claiming.

They’ll promise you 100% of your compensation, which sounds fantastic. But when you stop and weigh it up, it suddenly seems a lot less attractive. Receiving 100% of £1,000 would be great… unless your claim is worth £5,000, £10,000 or even more! You wouldn’t know that, if you had received the proper advice in the first place.

You may think dealing with the Defendant’s insurers direct is an option. However, they’ll try to minimise what they pay you. And It certainly won’t be what your claim is worth! They’ll also try and settle the claim early, at a time when you may be having financial issues.

What will it cost to make a claim?

It won’t cost you a penny to pick up the phone and give us a call to talk through the circumstances of your accident.  We offer a free initial discussion to discuss your potential claim and provide our initial advice.

If we think that you do have a claim worth pursuing and you are keen to proceed, we will act for you under a no win no fee agreement (formally called a Conditional Fee Agreement).  Making a no win no fee claim typically involves us taking out an insurance policy on your behalf.

The insurance policy protects you if your claim is unsuccessful.  It also allows you to make a claim for compensation without having to pay a penny upfront.

You will only ever pay anything if your no win no fee claim is a success and even then, your opponent will pay most of your costs.  Any remaining costs are then deducted from your compensation payment.  We will talk you through all of this in advance and in more detail so that you are fully informed from the outset.

Remember, if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay us a penny!

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What’s next?

Maybe you’ve had a road traffic accident and you want to ask some questions. Or perhaps you want to book yourself in for a free consultation. Regardless, please give us a call on 01752 827085 and speak to one of our experienced and qualified lawyers. We’ll be delighted to help you. Alternatively, you can ask for us to give you a call by clicking this link. Finally you can email us using [email protected]