Fri 10 Feb 2023

A Guide to the Road Traffic Accident Claims Process

If you or a loved one is involved in a car crash or cycling accident, there may be an impact on all aspects of your lives.  You may have suffered an injury which means you are unable to work, or you may be unable to care for or financially support your loved ones.  At the same time, you may also be coming to terms with the nature and extent of your injuries and facing potentially long-term rehabilitation.  If your injuries were caused by another driver, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation to help you recover your losses and assist with your recovery.

This Guide provides answers to the questions we are most commonly asked by our clients.  If you would like to discuss your case, please get in touch and we will be happy to have a free, confidential chat to provide you with some initial advice and explain the claims process in more detail. 

What should I do after being involved in a road traffic accident?

If you are involved in a road traffic accident it is important to ensure everyone involved is safe and, if necessary, receives medical attention at hospital or through your GP. If the accident was serious or you were unable to get details of the individuals involved, you should report it to the police within twenty-four hours. It is important to note the details of the individuals involved and any witnesses, including their names, addresses, contact details, and the details of their insurers. It can also be useful to take photographs of the scene of the accident, if it is safe to do so, although we appreciate this is not always possible or practical. 

You have three years from the date of the accident to raise a court action. Despite this timescale, we would always recommend you get in touch with a solicitor to discuss your claim at an early stage. The earlier the process begins, the greater chance there is of recovering the best evidence to support your claim. Often the process of making a claim can allow you access to additional medical experts and treatments which may not be available through the NHS. In circumstances where fault has been admitted, it may be possible for us to recover damages on your behalf whilst the claim is ongoing to cover the cost of treatment or allow you to meet your financial commitments when you are not earning.

Who is to blame for my road traffic accident?

Who is liable to pay compensation will depend on the circumstances of the accident. In some cases, the circumstances will be clear and fault is admitted at the outset. This means that we can focus on the value of your claim and attempting to get it resolved. In other cases, the circumstances will not be clear and fault will be in dispute. 

It may be the case that whilst the third-party driver is responsible for the accident you are also partially to blame for your losses, for example, you may not have been wearing your seatbelt when the accident occurred. Whilst this does not mean you are not entitled to make a claim it may mean that the court ultimately makes a deduction to any award of damages to take account of your actions.

As a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was at fault for an accident, you will be entitled to make a claim against the driver, and their insurers. This is the case even if that driver is a member of your family with cover under the same insurance policy. 

What if the driver was uninsured?

In circumstances where the driver does not have insurance or is untraceable, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation to the Motor Insurers Bureau.  

What if my accident was caused by road conditions?

We will require to investigate the circumstances of the accident. If the driver was driving without taking account of the road conditions - such as flooding or wet, windy conditions - it is likely they will be at fault for the accident, even if they were driving within the speed limit. It may be the driver's position that there was a spillage on the road which caused them to skid. In those circumstances it will be for them to prove that was indeed the case and involve the party who were responsible for the spillage. 

Morton Fraser's Personal Injury Team has extensive experience in pursuing all types of claims and we will provide you with advice on who is liable to pay compensation once we have discussed the facts and circumstances of your claim.

How do I find the value of my road traffic accident?

The amount of compensation a court may award you will depend on the severity of the injury and the effect it has had, and will continue to have, on your life. Some of the factors the court will consider when assessing the level of compensation are: - (1) the degree of pain you have experienced, the treatment required and whether there were any pre-existing medical issues which have been exacerbated by the accident; (2) the long-term effect of the injures and length of time it will take to make a full recovery; (3) the effect of the injury on your everyday life and any long-term implications. This includes your ability to continue to work or take part in hobbies and activities you previously enjoyed; (4) wage loss, both past and future, and any pension loss; (5) any assistance required by family; and (6) any other expenses such as the cost of medical treatment, aids, travel expenses or adaptations to your home or car. 

Our experienced Personal Injury solicitors will be able to advise you on the various elements of your claim to establish the value of your claim and maximise the compensation we recover on your behalf. 

Morton Fraser MacRoberts' Compensation Calculator is a handy guide which can provide you with an indication of the value of your injuries. It is based on the Judicial College Guidelines which take account of recent court decisions and serve as a reference point for lawyers when considering compensation.

How do I choose a personal injury lawyer?

It is likely you will be in touch with your insurers following the accident to discuss the circumstances of the crash. Your insurers may provide you with details of their preferred solicitor, and you may be contacted by them. Despite this, you remain entitled to choose your own solicitor and you should discuss this with your insurer. It is important that you take time to consider who you wish to instruct. The process of making a claim can take several years, particularly if your case is complex, and so it's crucial to instruct someone you feel comfortable with who is also able to provide support and get the best outcome for you. 

What next?

Our Compensation Calculator will provide an initial indication of the claim process and the level of compensation a court may award you for the pain and suffering you have experienced. It is important to consider each case on its own facts and circumstances. Our experienced Personal Injury team will take the time to assess your claim and will help you secure the compensation you are entitled to.

Contact us today for a free initial chat on 0131 247 1000.

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