February 8, 2019
Our Trainee Legal Executive, Kate Shields, has answered the most commonly asked questions about Road Traffic Accidents.
Do you have to be the driver of a car to make a road traffic accident claim?
No, it is not only the driver of the car that can make a claim for personal injury. Any innocent party to an accident can bring a claim against the “at fault party”. Therefore, this means that any innocent passenger, pedestrian, cyclist etc involved in an accident can make a claim.
Are there any time limits on making a road traffic accident claim?
Yes, under the Limitation Act 1980, adults who are considering making a claim for personal compensation have three years from the date of the accident or incident in which to bring a claim. If your claim has not been settled, or court proceedings have not been issued, by the third anniversary of the accident then you will likely be prevented in Law from making a claim.
The rules relating to children are slightly different. The three year time limit still applies, however, rather than having three years from the date of the accident in which to pursue a claim a child has three years from the date of their 18th birthday in which to bring a claim. Their claim, therefore, must have either settled or court proceedings have been issued before the child/adult reaches their 21st birthday.
Talk us through the standard process of making a road traffic accident claim.
It is important to note that every claim is different and that they will all have different obstacles to overcome dependent on the individual circumstances of the claim.
For a straight forward road traffic accident, where the “at fault party” is insured and admits fault for the accident, the process is as follows:
- Arrange a free consultation with a member of our personal injury team to discuss the circumstances of the accident and the injuries you have suffered and how these injuries have affected you.
- If there are grounds to pursue a claim for compensation, we would then formally submit the claim to the Defendant’s insurers. Under the Pre Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims, the insurers would then have a period of 15 working days to respond to the claim and confirm that liability for the accident is admitted.
- Once liability for your injuries is admitted, it is then our role to prepare evidence to support the value of the claim. This would include obtaining an independent medical report detailing your injuries and collating evidence of any other losses that you have suffered, such as loss of earnings, medication expenses and travel expenses.
- In an ideal situation, once the evidence is finalised we would then look to settle the claim on the best possible terms. However, every claim is different and many factors such as complexity of injuries, further treatment required etc may delay settlement for your claim.
Will I have to attend court?
If we are unable to settle a matter through negotiations we may advise that proceedings are issued on your behalf to allow a Judge to assess either the level of compensation you should receive for your injuries or who was at fault for the accident, or both.
Only a very small number of our claims make it to a Court hearing. We will always aim to secure settlement of the claim without the need to instigate Court proceedings, however in the event that we are unable to, it is important to remember that the issue of proceedings do not automatically mean that there will be a Court hearing. In the event that Court proceedings are issued our personal injury team will keep you up to date with what is happening and they will make sure to explain each stage of the litigation process as clearly as possible.
If you have been in involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and would like to speak to a member of our personal injury team about claiming compensation, call us on 0800 158 4147 or fill in a contact form and we will be able to advise you further about your potential claim.