UK Car Accident Claims
UK Car Accident Claims
In 2010, The Association of British Insurers (ABI) calculated that there are approximately 10,135 UK car accident claims made each day, representing over 8 billion pounds in compensation paid out by insurers each year. Whiplash injuries are estimated to account for three quarters of all UK car accident claims, and while car accidents are falling according to Department for Transport figures, they are still the leading reason for making a claim for personal injury compensation.
The latest Department for Transport report indicates that there were over 208,000 road traffic accidents reported to the police in 2010, with over 25,000 of these accidents resulting in serious injury or death. Not all of the victims of these accidents would be eligible to claim compensation for their injuries; however since the majority of car accidents are caused by the negligence of at least one driver, in most cases the victims in these accidents would be eligible to claim compensation for their injuries.
If you have suffered an injury in a car accident which was not entirely your fault, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries and should seek legal advice about making a car accident compensation claim.
Eligibility to Make UK Car Accident Claims
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident which was not your fault, and have suffered an injury as a result, you should be able to claim compensation for your injuries if the following criteria can be proven:
1. The accident was caused by the negligence of at least one third party
2. Your injuries have been sustained as a direct result of that negligence
3. Your injuries were severe enough to warrant medical attention
4. You can prove that "on the balance of probabilities" that any competent and attentive driver would have avoided the accident or that its severity would have been significantly reduced
Negligence may seem like a strong word to use; however in legal terms it means a failure in a duty of care. This could be pulling out from a junction without fully checking for oncoming traffic, tailgating the car in front, or even a brief lapse in concentration which led to an accident. If you are unsure whether another driver has actually been negligent, you should contact a personal injury solicitor for advice.
The Legal Process in UK Car Accident Claims
Although UK car accident claims can be initiated without legal representation, it is highly beneficial to use an experienced UK car accident claims solicitor to pursue compensation for injuries. UK car accident claims pursued by a solicitor have a much higher chance of success, and can result in higher compensation payments being awarded.
The UK car accident claims process starts with the issuing of a "claim letter" to the driver or third party who was to blame for the accident. The claims letter details the accident and how it is believed to have occurred, the injuries that have been sustained and why the driver is deemed to have been negligent. Details of any expenses as a result of the accident are outlined together with any future costs associated with the injuries, such as ongoing medical treatment. Documents can be requested relating to the claim, and the defendant is given a reasonable time to respond.
Issuing a claims letter alone is unlikely to result in compensation being awarded, and it is usually necessary to "issue proceedings" before a settlement for damages is negotiated. When a claims letter is drafted and issued by a personal injury solicitor it can have a much greater impact and is likely to be taken much more seriously. There are various legal processes which also need to be completed as part of the claims process which are best undertaken by a specialist UK car accident claims solicitor.
Time Limits for Initiating UK Car Accident Claims
As with any personal injury compensation claim, UK car accident claims need to be initiated within the correct legal time frame dictated by the UK statute of limitations. In most cases this is set at 3 years from the date of injury, although in the case of children the clock does not start until the child's 18th birthday. In almost all cases, it can be detrimental to the case to delay starting a claim for compensation, and it is important that evidence is gathered while the accident is still fresh in witness' minds.
In cases where the car accident victim has suffered mental incapacity due to the accident, the claim period may legitimately be extended until such time that the accident victim has regained mental capacity. If a relative or loved one has suffered mental incapacity following a road traffic accident, it is recommended that you seek legal advice on making a claim for compensation on their behalf.
UK Car Accident Claims Involving Children
Any person under the age of 18 years old is not legally considered to be an adult in the UK, and is therefore is unable to make a legal claim for compensation until their 18th birthday. In such cases, a parent or legal guardian would usually represent the child as a "litigation friend". If a parent is to blame for the accident, or is even partly responsible, they would not be able to act as a litigation friend for the child as there would be a conflict of interest.
Since a child or minor cannot instruct a solicitor in a compensation claim, and a litigation friend cannot finalise the claim, the case will be taken to the courts in a minor settlement hearing. The judge will approve the compensation settlement after hearing the evidence put forward by a personal injury solicitor. A barrister will also be consulted to ensure that the settlement is fair and is likely to cover all future medical expenses. Although UK car accident claims for minors can be initiated from the date of the minor's 18th birthday, usually with UK car accident claims legal action is only delayed when there is no responsible adult that is able to make the claim on the child's behalf.
Compensation is awarded to the child, and not the litigation friend or legal custodian of the child, and the compensation is held by the courts until the child's 18th birthday - although payments can be released by court order before this date to cover medical bills or other legitimate costs or expenses.
Contacting a UK Car Accident Claims Solicitor
UK car accident claims should not be initiated before seeking legal advice. It is important to check your eligibility to claim compensation and to have an assessment of the likelihood of success. Not all claims for compensation are worthwhile pursuing, and a UK car accident claims solicitor would be able to give you an indication of the level of compensation that is likely to be awarded so you can make an informed decision on whether to make a claim. Not all personal injury solicitors have experience with UK car accident claims, and therefore may not be in the best position to represent you.
If you have been injured in a car accident as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist, and the accident was not entirely at fault, we would like to have the opportunity of speaking with you about your case. Our panel of personal injury solicitors are highly experienced in obtaining compensation for victims in UK car accident claims, and are available to answer any questions you may have.
Contact us today on our free claims hotline, or alternatively request a call back at a time which is more convenient by completing our call back request form. You will be put in direct contact with a personal injury solicitor who will provide impartial and accurate information on making a claim for compensation, and you will be under no obligation to pursue a claim.
We hope to have the opportunity of speaking with you soon, and helping you to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.