Car collisions are one of the most common types of “accident claims” for compensation in the United Kingdom. Due to the huge number of vehicles on the road today, traffic collisions can easily occur if something is not as it should be. This includes collisions that are caused by driver negligence, vehicle faults and road disrepair. If you have had a car collision, and it is possible to prove that the collision was caused at least in part by someone else, then a car collision claim could be a course of action that you might wish to pursue, so here is a general overview of how car accident claims normally progress.
When you have a car collision, you should gather together as much evidence as possible to support your claim, however your first response should be to make sure that you are ok. Seek medical advice as soon as possible after the collision if you have been hurt, even if you think at the time it is not necessary some injuries can take time to become noticeable, especially some severer injuries such as head injuries.
Call the police to report the incident, so they can do any investigations that they need to do. This also helps to create a formal record of the incident. If you are able to, you should get the details of any eye witnesses so that they can be called upon to explain the incident. If you are unconscious or unable to move, the police will normally create a full report which you will be able to access as part of your claim.
Speak to a car accident claims solicitor
You should speak to an appropriate legal adviser as soon as possible after the incident, so that you can recount your experiences whilst they are still relatively fresh in your memory. If you are making a claim for compensation for injuries, you must normally make the claim within 3 years of the collision. New claims will not normally be accepted once this period has elapsed, unless there is exceptional circumstances which prevented you from making the claim before this time.
Your legal adviser will listen to your account of the collision, and may offer additional support and advice to help you with your situation. After listening to your account, they should have a good idea whether you have a valid claim or not. If one legal adviser tells you that your claim does not sound valid, you can always talk to a different firm, as they may be more willing to take on the risk. If your legal adviser does feel as though your claim is valid, they will be able to work out how much compensation you may be eligible for.
Working out a claim value
In order to work out your claim value after a car collision, your legal adviser will consider a number of different things. They will ask to see your medical records so that they can understand the extent of your injuries, and they may ask you to submit to an independent medical evaluation so that they can find out whether the injuries had any lasting effects. They may also ask for any receipts from repairs and replacements that you had to make to your vehicle. This can include any replacement transport that you had to take whilst your car was off the road. Furthermore, your claim may include loss of earnings if you have been forced to take time off work or even give up your job. If your injuries are very severe, the claim may also include loss of future earnings. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the claim may also include other things.
Your legal adviser will write to the insurance company of the defendant and will let them know that you intend to make a claim. The defendant will either accept the claim and pay you the full amount, they will offer a smaller settlement, or they will refute the claim completely. If they offer a smaller amount, your legal adviser will try to enter into negotiations with them to get a more suitable figure. If you cannot settle on a sum, or if they completely refute the claim, then the claim may go to court. Most people prefer to avoid court as it can be stressful for both parties and can result in no compensation being awarded at all.