Dealing with the Legal Issues of a Road Traffic Accident
No-one wants to be involved in a road traffic accident (RTA). However, these unwelcome events can happen at any time and at any place therefore you need to know what to do if you are unfortunate enough to be caught up in one.
If you are involved in an RTA with another vehicle then you will need to take down the other motorist’s details. At the very least, this should include the driver’s name, address and registration number. If you feel up to it, you should also obtain the names and contact details of any witnesses, as this may prove useful further down the line. In addition, you may also find taking a few take pictures of the accident scene on your camera phone to be a good idea.
As well as helping you with any insurance claims you may have to deal with, taking details and photos in this manner can also be very beneficial if you decide to get in touch with a ‘no win, no fee’ personal injury solicitor and pursue a possible claim.
So, where does the law stand on this?
Well, each and every motorist on the road has a duty of care to every other road user. Indeed, the 1988 Road Traffic Act requires all drivers to hold a minimum of third party insurance, which is basically insurance against claims by other road users. If a driver responsible for an accident does not have this minimum requirement (or their identity cannot be ascertained) then a claim can be made to the Motor Insurers Bureau.
All claims are reported to the responsible party’s insurer whereupon compensation is either agreed upon or, in some cases, the matter goes to a hearing. Legal fees are fixed and paid by the responsible party’s insurers therefore the ‘no win, no fee’ concept still holds true. The damage to your vehicle, the cost of its repairs, and any associated losses such as lost earnings will be pursued by your solicitor on your behalf.
If you wish to make a claim for an injury sustained in an RTA then you should be aware that you only have three years to do so (unless you are a minor in which case the three years does not start until you turn 18). Naturally, medical evidence will need to be obtained by your solicitor to substantiate any injuries and, perhaps even more importantly, deal with the long term prognosis of those injuries.
The amount of money you might be awarded if your injury claim is successful is set by the Courts. Their decisions are typically made by referencing previous cases and consulting relevant written guidelines. Although there are no set figures, you could expect a relatively minor injury like whiplash of the neck to result in a payout ranging somewhere between a few hundred to a few thousand pounds, whilst a more severe injury may see you receive anything from £12,500 to £82,000.