The idea of bringing a claim can often be a daunting process, particularly if you do not know what to expect. Whilst every road traffic accident claim is different; we hope this overview of the general process can help put your mind at rest and provide you with some insight into what to expect when beginning your claim.
What to do following an accident:
Being in a road traffic accident can be a very frightening experience. However, it is important to try and obtain as much information as possible soon after. We advise that you:
- Make a note of the Police Reference Number or retain a copy of the police report
- Take photographs of the accident scene
- Obtain the information of any other drivers or witnesses at the scene
- Take photographs of your injuries after the accident
- Retain receipts for costs you have incurred as a result of the accident. For instance, receipts for any treatment you received, prescription costs or travel expenses
- Letters from your employer which state the period of time that you have been unable to work and any income you have lost as a result of this
- A daily diary, which records any details that are not covered by receipts. These details could include how you got to and from hospital appointments, how long you spent at the hospital and the pain and discomfort that attending appointments cause
- A record of how you are feeling and the difficulties you face each day as a result of the injuries that you have suffered
Frequently Asked Questions:
Starting Your Claim
Even if you are unsure if you are able to bring a claim for personal injury sustained in a road traffic accident, we recommend that you speak to one of our dedicated RTA team. They will be able to help determine whether you qualify for compensation and answer any queries you have.
Once you have supplied us with some basic information regarding the circumstances around your accident, one of our advisors will give you an indication of whether we believe you are able to make a claim.
A member of our team will also explain the no win, no fee agreement under which our firm will most likely act on your behalf and address any concerns you have regarding fees and out of pocket expenses.
Once you have supplied the initial information and decided to proceed, your claim will be assigned to a carefully selected member of our expert team.
Your chosen legal representative will then guide you through the process and begin the claim.
The Claims Process
We will begin the process by notifying the Defendant of the claim. As injuries resulting from road traffic accidents can vary from minor soft tissue injuries and fractures to more serious spinal and brain injuries, the process will differ between claims.
Claims that are valued under £25,000 will be made in the Portal. The Portal is an online claims system, set up by the Government to manage claims efficiently and quickly. A claim notification form, which will include details of your injury and the circumstances of your accident, will be sent to the Defendant or their insurer.
Claims exceeding £25,000 will be made in a paper-based system but will follow a similar path.
The Defendants Response
Upon notification of the claim, the Defendant must acknowledge receipt and provide a response to the claim thereafter. In their response, the Defendant may:
- Admit liability for the claim in full.
- Admit liability subject to causation.
- Allege contributory negligence.
- Deny liability in full for the claim.
Liability & Settlement
If liability is admitted:
The claim will need to be substantiated. We will instruct a medical expert to produce a report on the injuries you have suffered following your accident. The expert will give their prognosis, which will help identify the effect the accident has had on you and estimate how long it has taken or will take for you to recover. The expert may also recommend further treatment such as physiotherapy.
Once you have approved the contents of the report, it will be used to help calculate an award of general damages for the injuries you have suffered. It will also help calculate some of your financial losses, including loss of earnings and future medical treatment. We will then value your claim and discuss what amount you would be willing to accept in settlement.
Once we have your instructions, our team will attempt to settle your claim with the Defendant by negotiation. There may be a number of offers made by each party before a settlement is reached. If the two parties are unable to reach a settlement, the claim will need to be issued at court, where a judge will determine what you will recover in damages.
If liability is denied:
The Defendant must explain why liability is denied and provide documents in support of their denial. We will then review the Defendant’s decision and consider what options are available to you.
It is likely that further corroborative evidence will be needed in support of the claim. This may include obtaining witness statements from persons who were present at the time of your accident or who can comment on the circumstances surrounding the claim.
The Defendant will then be asked to reconsider their decision on liability. If they maintain their denial, the claim will have to be issued and may reach Court.
Proceedings must be issued within 3 years from the date of the accident, unless the claim is being brought on behalf of a child, in which case, the Claimant has until 3 years after their 18th birthday.
Once a settlement has been reached, you will normally receive your compensation within 2 months. In the case of children, any compensation will not be payable until the child has reached the age of 18. This compensation will be held by the Court or, depending on the level of compensation, be transferred directly into their Child Trust Fund Accounts.
If you would like to know more about the RTA claims process, you can call our free accident advice helpline on 0800 195 9590 and our team will be happy to answer any questions regarding your road traffic accident.