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Injured in an RTA ? Get good advice early

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) where an injury is sustained, an ambulance and the police should be called immediately; receiving any necessary medical treatment should always be the main priority.

If another party was involved in the RTA and you are able to take down their details, the bare minimum you will need is their name, address and registration number.  Again, if able, take pictures of the accident scene and obtain names and contact details of any witnesses, which may be extremely useful further down the line.

What about your vehicle?  A call to your own insurers is one option however a point to mention here is that the majority of people do not know who their insurers are, mainly because this generally changes on a yearly basis.  Another choice you have is to contact an accident management company, but do you even know of one?    

The alternative is a much simpler solution; contact a personal injury solicitor directly and let them take control of the entire process for you.  For obvious reasons, this is my recommendation to you!  A good solicitor will work closely with an accident management company and be able to arrange, in a non-fault case, for repairs to your vehicle and an alternative hire vehicle to be provided at no cost to yourself; thus ensuring that if you are comprehensively insured you do not need to worry about your excess.  Your solicitor will also instigate a personal injury claim on your behalf, if appropriate.

My firm works very closely with a large accident management company; we are therefore in a prime position to assist our clients in all aspects of the RTA process, including both with their vehicle and any subsequent personal injury claim.  Our clients view us as a “one-stop shop” and they know that we ensure that the entire process following an RTA is as smooth and seamless as possible for them in what can be very difficult circumstances.

So, what does the law say?  Each and every user of the road has a duty of care to every other road user and, under the 1988 Road Traffic Act, all drivers must hold a minimum of third party insurance, which is insurance against claims by other road users.  If a driver responsible for an accident is uninsured 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 and compensation is either agreed or alternatively, in a very few cases, the matter goes to a hearing.  Legal fees are fixed and paid by the responsible party’s insurers so that the no win, no fee concept holds true.

In relation to your damaged vehicle, the cost of its repairs, and any associated losses such as wages, these will be pursued on your behalf.

If an injury has been sustained then a 3-year time limitation period applies, unless the injured person is a child in which case the 3 years does not start until s/he is 18 years of age.  Medical evidence must be obtained by your solicitor to substantiate any injuries but perhaps more importantly, to deal with the long term prognosis of such injuries.

In relation to the amount of compensation awarded, this is set by the Courts and reference is made to previous decided cases and written guidelines. To give examples, a relatively minor so-called whiplash injury to the neck will range from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds and a more severe one from £12,500 to £82,000.

It is important to note here that failing to wear a seat belt may affect your compensation. Indeed the award for the injury will generally be discounted by 15% if wearing one would have reduced the severity of the injury, or 25% if doing so would have prevented the injury altogether.

Lloyd Green

As I am sure you will realise from the compensation awards mentioned above, obtaining the correct legal advice is a vital factor in determining the correct value of your claim; I personally believe that this is fundamental to the success of your claim and as the law provides for such compensation to be at no cost to you it clearly makes sense to utilise the services of a legal firm such as mine.