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Road Traffic Accident Compensation

We often get asked about Road Traffic Accident Compensation Claims so we have complied some of the most commonly asked questions to help you assess whether or not you can make a claim

Q. An individual has been hurt in a road traffic accident where they weren’t at fault. Where do they start when it comes to claiming compensation?

A. The first thing to mention here is that, as solicitors, we know that you’ll most likely be in a state of shock after an accident, and it’s not always so easy to make sure you have all the information you need.

With that said, the first thing you should do is

make sure there is a thorough exchange of details and recording of information. Swap all of your contact info and insurance details with the other party – if you’re not sure about whether you’ll need a certain type of information (email address, colour of their car), we’d advise you to take it down anyway, just in case.

Next, have a look around for any witnesses of the accident. Find out if they’re willing to give contact details in order to help solicitors or insurers with the subsequent claim. If you have a camera or a smartphone on you – which most people do, these days – take photographs of your vehicle and the other vehicles involved in the accident. Try and capture a number of angles.

If all else fails, make sure you have the other driver’s registration number – all other information can be obtained from this.

Q. What can be done if the other driver doesn’t stop?

A. If the other driver doesn’t stop, doesn’t allow you to take their details, or doesn’t have insurance – don’t worry. There’s still a possibility of bringing a claim through the Motor Insurer’s Bureau, an organisation which was set up to deal with claims caused by uninsured or untraceable drivers.

Q. Why contact a solicitor?

A. If the third party’s insurers admit their client was at fault, they will sometimes offer to deal directly with the injured claimant. They can arrange such things as medical examinations and doctor’s reports to confirm the nature and extent of injuries, and value the claim. In many cases, this works out fairly for the claimant, with a correctly valued claim – but too many people access less than their claim is really worth. Contacting a solicitor can help ensure you have someone fighting your corner.

Also, in the event of a dispute over who is at fault, you’ll need a solicitor to guide you through the court process and arrange representation for you at any court hearings you might need to attend. Put simply, contacting a solicitor is crucial.

Q. Lots of people take out the option of legal expensive insurance or protection on their own car insurance. Does that cover legal advice?

A. Yes, it can do. If you’ve taken out this option with your insurer, it’s likely they’ll have their own partnerships with solicitors, and they’ll encourage clients to go with these firms. However, they’re rarely local firms, and you might have to deal with them through letters, phone calls and emails only – not ideal in the aftermath of a potentially traumatic accident.

It’s important to remember that you do have freedom of choice of solicitor. If you would prefer to use Hopkins Solicitors, or a local solicitor in your area, you always have that option.

Q. Can you give a brief overview of the claims process?

A. Road traffic accident claims with an expected claim value below £25,000 are dealt with under what is known as a ‘claims portal’. This is an online system set up to present claims directly to insurers, with strict time frames in which they must respond, to keep the process ticking over in a timely way.

At Hopkins, our legal advisers will meet with a client and take a statement as soon as possible, so the details are still fresh in the memory. We’ll set up the funding arrangements (often a no-win, no-fee agreement) and then we’ll prepare the claim notification form to send directly to the insurers via the online portal.

The insurer than has 15 working days to respond to the claim, and confirm if they’re admitting fault or not. If they do, the claim remains in the portal and the Hopkins team arrange a medical report from an independent expert, to confirm the injuries and offer a projected recovery time. We’ll gather all information about expenses and losses suffered as a result of the injury – so if you’ve had to take time off work for medical appointments, or had to pay travel expenses to get specialist treatment, you could potentially claim it back.

Once we’ve got the medical and expenses reports, we agree a value with the client for the claim, and present the value, along with the evidence, to the insurers on the claims portal. The parties then have 35 days to negotiate a settlement. If this isn’t possible, the matter will be referred to the local county court, for a Judge to assess the claim. This can usually be done without any party having to attend court.

Q. What if there’s a dispute?

A. If there’s a dispute over liability, or if the insurer fails to reply to the notification form within the given 15 days, the case falls out of the claims portal, and insurers have three months from the notification of the claim to investigate fully.

Again, we’ll take statements, arrange medical evidence and gather expenses on your behalf, and we’ll continue to negotiate with the insurers to try and resolve the claim. If this isn’t possible, we’ll issue court proceedings. In this case, the court will arrange a trial for a Judge to assess the fault and value of the claim, and all witnesses will need to attend to give evidence. The Judge’s decision will be final, resolving the case once and for all.

If you would like to find out more about our no win no fee personal injury claims them contact us today. We can advise you on getting a good settlement from your personal injury compensation claim.

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