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Road Traffic Accident Claims

Road Traffic Accident Claims Guide

If you've been injured in a road traffic accident (RTA), you may be entitled to claim compensation. Whatever your injuries, our solicitors could help you get the compensation and rehabilitation that you need.

The causes and circumstances of road traffic accidents can vary a great deal from case to case. If you've never had to go through the process before, it's perfectly understandable if you're not sure how to claim compensation after a car accident.

If you're not sure whether or not you'll be able to claim, you can contact us on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation about your case with one of our lawyers. Alternatively, read answers to common questions about road traffic accidents below.

What's The Process For Making A Road Traffic Accident Compensation Claim?

After we’ve agreed to take on your claim, we'll gather information on your accident to work out who’s responsible for your injuries. We’ll also identify any rehabilitation needs you might have and help you to access the support you need.

Once we’ve established who is responsible for your injuries, we’ll work hard to get an admission of fault. In some cases this means you could get early compensation payments to cover any immediate costs you have.

In the vast majority of cases the compensation amount you receive will be agreed with your opponent. Where this isn’t possible, the case will go to court – we’ll support you every step of the way if this happens in your case.

Learn more about how the claims process for road traffic accident compensation works.

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My Insurance Company Has Recommended A Law Firm, Do I Have To Use Them?

Many insurance companies have preferred solicitors that they work with, but you’re still free to make up your own mind, and they can’t insist that you use the lawyers they recommend.

It's important that you choose a solicitor that you’re comfortable with, and are able to communicate with easily and clearly. We have offices across the UK, and can be reached by phone and email.

Before you make a decision, you should consider all of your options, so give us a call on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation with no obligation to make a claim.

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Can I Claim Compensation If The Accident Was My Fault?

If you were solely responsible for an accident then it’s unlikely that you'll be able to claim compensation. However, in many cases you may be able to claim compensation if an accident was only partially your fault.

In situations like this, you may be able to claim compensation, but the amount you receive would likely be reduced because of your contribution to the crash.

If you're in any doubt about whether or not you can claim, contact us on 0800 056 4110 for a free consultation – we'll be happy to discuss your case with you.

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How Long Will My Claim Take?

The length of the claims process will largely depend on two things: how serious your injuries are and whether or not your opponent admits responsibility for them.

For example, if you suffer a relatively minor whiplash injury, and the other party admits responsibility for the accident, then your claim could be settled in just a few months.

However, if you’ve experienced more serious injuries, your claim will take longer as more medical evidence will have to be obtained in order for your compensation amount to be agreed.

It's also important to let your injuries stabilise before completing a claim, so the full extent of their impact can be established.

If your opponent refuses to accept liability, and disputes any charges brought against them, then you may have to wait for the criminal case to be settled before the compensation claim is resolved. Find out more about car accidents involving a criminal offence.

Your claim may also take longer if you were involved in a hit and run accident, and the police or insurance companies were unable to locate the driver. Learn more about hit and run claims.

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How Much Compensation Will I Receive?

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the nature and severity of your injuries, and any costs or losses you’ve experienced as a result.

The amount of compensation you could claim is based on:

  • Current and future loss of earnings
  • Medical and travel expenses you’ve incurred
  • Your care and support needs – both now and in the future
  • Modifications to your home
  • Mobility aids
  • Your pain and suffering

Find out more about guide compensation amounts following road traffic accidents.

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Can I Claim If I Was Injured As A Passenger When The Driver Had Been Drinking Or Taking Drugs?

If you were injured as a passenger, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries even if the driver of your vehicle was responsible. If you knew that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and still got in the car, this may mean the amount of compensation you receive is reduced.

Find out more about making a road traffic accident compensation claim as a passenger.

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I Wasn't Wearing My Seatbelt. Can I Still Claim?

You’re required to wear a seat belt by law, but you're not necessarily barred from claiming compensation if you weren't wearing one when you were injured.

However, it's highly likely that the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced if you weren't wearing a seatbelt.

Find out more about what to do if you weren't wearing a seatbelt.

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How Soon Should I Make A Claim?

Although you usually have three years after the date of an accident to make a claim for compensation, it's a good idea to contact a solicitor as soon as possible.

Contacting a law firm early means the investigation of your accident can get underway while memories of the incident are still fresh in the minds of all involved.

There are some exceptions to the three year time limit for making a claim. They are:

  • Mental Capacity – if a loved one lacks the capacity to make a claim themselves, there is no time limit for making a claim on their behalf.
  • Children – claims can be made at any point before your child turns 18. After that, your child can make a claim up until the age of 21.
  • Road Traffic Accidents Abroad – time limits in other countries can be shorter than in the UK. However, depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may still be able to make a claim under UK law.
  • Criminal Injuries - in cases where your injuries were caused by a deliberate act, a claim can also be made through the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority. However, in these cases a time limit of two years applies from the date of the incident.

If you're unsure about whether you should begin the claims process or not, you can contact us on 0800 056 4110 for free initial advice – we'll be happy to help.

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Do I Have To Have A Medical Examination?

You’ll need to have a medical examination as part of the claims process, which we will arrange. This will help us to determine the extent and impact of your injuries, which is an essential part of working out how much compensation you are owed.

You should also seek separate medical assistance as soon as possible. Even if you only appear to have minor injuries, your injuries could be more serious than you think, so you should consult a doctor.

Find out more about the medical examination you'll need.

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Will I Have To Go To Court?

When investigating your compensation claim, we'll always try and establish who was responsible for your accident, and work hard to get an admission of liability from them. If this is possible, then your case can be settled without court proceedings.

This is the case for the vast majority of the claims we pursue.

However, if the person responsible will not admit fault, or the value of your claim cannot be agreed, then court proceedings may be necessary.

If this happens, don't worry – we'll be there to support you every step of the way.

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Can you help if my accident was in Scotland?

Yes, our Scottish personal injury lawyers can help if you were involved in a road accident in Scotland. Whether you were injured as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, we have the expertise needed to help you make a claim.

We have specialist expertise in serious injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain or spinal injury, we can help you not only to claim compensation but also to access rehabilitation and medical care. Read more about making a personal injury claim in Scotland

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The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.

All Scottish cases will be handled by the Scottish law firm with which we’re associated, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP. The law relating to funding is different in Scotland and you’ll receive separate advice about what that means as well as a separate funding agreement.

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