Car Accidents – Introduction
It is becoming increasingly common for individuals to be involved in car accidents, be it as a driver, passenger or even as a cyclist or pedestrian.
In all car accidents, or any form of accident where you have sustained an injury, it is important legal advice is sought as early as possible as there are several steps to take to successfully recover compensation. The following is a very brief summary of some important points to be aware of and to consider, with a more detailed discussion with examples of real case scenarios we have experienced at Aston Knight Solicitors to follow in subsequent articles.
- Identifying the at fault driver and all parties to the accident
It is important to ensure you have the correct details for the driver you feel is responsible for the accident, including details of any other drivers that may be involved, irrespective of fault. It is also important to accurately record details of any vehicles involved, including taking all the details of everyone involved including any witnesses.
It is advisable to take as many pictures as possible at the scene of the accident; be it the position of the vehicles, the surrounding areas including road signs and markings if relevant, the damage to all cars, including close up pictures and some from a distance; and even a picture of the third party driver. This evidence may become crucial in establishing liability and more importantly proving your case.
- Reporting your accident
There are several good reasons for reporting the incident to the police, including for evidential purposes and to comply with rules and regulations; the most important one being for the Motor Insurers Bureau in the event the matter is subsequently dealt with by them under the terms of their Agreements. It is also important to report the matter to your own insurers as some insurers impose a strict term and time limit for reporting car accidents to them, failing which there may be adverse consequences for you.
- Burden of proof
The burden of proof in terms of liability rests with the Claimant, that is to say the person making the claim. Whilst in some cases it may appear obvious who is at fault for the car accident, with the other driver even admitting fault, the third party driver may subsequently deny any liability, or their insurer may deny any liability on their behalf. Similarly, the Claimant is put to strict proof they have sustained an injury, albeit an injury of a whiplash nature to the neck and shoulders and/or an injury to their back, common in car accident claims.
Anyone injured as a result of an accident can claim compensation for their injury; physical and psychological. It is important to accurately record all the pain and suffering sustained to ensure you are adequately compensated for them. This type of compensation is commonly referred to as general damages.
In addition to a personal injury claim, you can also recover compensation for any other financial losses you have incurred; including vehicle damage, storage charges, recovery charges, hire charges, policy excess, travel expenses, damaged items and loss of earnings to name but a few. These are collectively referred to as special damages.
There are some important points to note about only claiming losses that are reasonably incurred and there have been some very important legislation changes, interpreted strictly by judges, in respect of fraudulent or exaggerated claims.
As stated, the above is merely a summary of some important points to note in respect of claiming compensation as a result of car accidents. There will follow a detailed discussion in respect of each of the above points.
In the meantime, if you have been injured as a result of any accident or would like to know more about road traffic accident claims, call us on 0161 447 9191 for a free no obligation discussion with a solicitor to discuss whether you can claim compensation.