Road Traffic Accidents

Road traffic accidents

Being involved in a road traffic accident (RTA) can be a traumatic event which can have long term consequences. Here at Paul Rooney Solicitors, we believe that if you’ve been involved in an accident on the road that wasn’t your fault, you should receive the compensation you’re entitled to. We can help with the following types of accident:

Car accidents
Motorcycle accidents
Bus accidents
Bicycle accidents
Pedestrian accidents
Whiplash injuries

Paul Rooney solicitors have a wealth of knowledge in dealing with road traffic accident compensation, having successfully dealt with thousands of claims.

The law on Road Traffic Accidents

The 1988 Road Traffic Act provides the legal governance on road use and the duties of parties involved in accidents on the road. The full legal text can be found here. There are a number of legal requirements that need to be followed after an accident:

Legal requirements following an RTA 

1) The 1988 Road Traffic Act makes it a crime for people to leave the scene of a road traffic accident if: 

  • Anybody is injured
  • Another vehicle or property is damaged
  • An animal on the road is injured (defined as horse, cattle, sheep, pig, goat or dog)
  • There is damage to the road infrastructure (street light, road sign, bridge, etc)

2) If you’re in an accident you must stop and exchange details with others involved, witnesses to the accident or the police

3) If the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident doesn’t exchange details following the crash, they must report the accident to the police

4) If anybody has been injured in the accident, everyone involved has to produce their insurance documents

5) If an insurance certificate is not available at the scene, the accident should be reported to the police 

6) If not available at the scene, an insurance certificate should be presented to the police with 24 hours of the accident occurring

What to do in the event of an accident on the road

In the event that you’re involved in an accident on the road, you should:

  • Put on your hazard lights
  • If possible, photograph the accident scene and any contributing factors, such as the condition of the road, debris, skid marks etc.
  • If possible, position the vehicle in a safe place
  • Turn off your engine
  • Check to see if anybody is injured
  • Do all you can (safely) to make sure the accident area and those involved are as safe as possible
  • Call 999 if required
  • Don’t admit responsibility for the accident until you’ve had time to seek advice
  • Exchange details with others involved in the accident, including contact details, insurance details, vehicle registration - even if the other party admits responsibility
  • If you don’t  have your insurance certificate at the scene of the accident you must contact the police and present it at a police station within 24 hours of the incident
  • Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible
  • If you’re injured you should seek medical advice immediately -the medical report will be useful to your case
  • Keep a diary of any injuries sustained in the accident including any symptoms and effects on your usual lifestyle
  • Keep a diary of any medical treatment or medication you receive
  • Keep a list of all expenses incurred as a result of the accident
  • Record any loss to earnings which have happened as a result of the accident

Making a claim

Compensation for a personal injury sustained, or damage to property, caused by an accident is intended to restore you to your pre-incident status which may include:

  • Covering the costs or repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle
  • Any costs of other damaged property
  • Your insurance policy excess amount
  • Costs incurred as a result of the accident, such as replacement car hire
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of earnings or a business’ earnings

It’s important to make a record of any costs you incur as a result of your accident. You should also make a note of any medical conditions, and their symptoms, by keeping all receipts and an injury diary to ensure the full extent of your injuries, and their consequences, are given proper consideration.

How we can help you

Paul Rooney Solicitors are vastly experienced at dealing with these types of claims and have a large department dedicated to assisting the victims of road traffic accidents. As committed members of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), our specialist claims experts strictly adhere to the service standards set out by MASS. Our aim is always to make sure you get the best compensation result as soon as possible. Once we accept your claim we will:

  1. Take a full description of your accident
  2. Obtain witness statements if available
  3. Arrange for an independent inspection of your vehicle if necessary
  4. Commission a medical report to be prepared detailing your injuries
  5. Liaise with the MID where necessary
  6. Attribute the fault for the accident; be that another party, or the Highways Authority
  7. Advise on the right course of legal action
  8. We will then notify the third party of your claim
  9. We’ll fight your case to get the maximum compensation you deserve
  10. If we can’t reach an agreement on who is to blame, or how much the claim is worth, the case may go to court where we’ll pursue the case to the best of our ability to secure the right compensation 

Finding who is at fault

Attributing blame for a road traffic accident can be a long process involving several parties making claims and counter claims. It’s best to use an experienced solicitor, such as one of the Paul Rooney team, but here are some common causes for fault in RTA compensation claim cases:

  • Generally speaking, if somebody drives into the back of another vehicle, the driver of the vehicle at the back is usually at fault as they should have allowed an adequate braking distance
  • A claim can be made against a  stationary vehicle if it’s  not visible enough for the conditions, unsafe, or is illegally parked
  • You can make a personal injury claim against anyone who causes an accident, such as pedestrians, learner drivers, cyclists, road works vehicles, emergency service vehicles and the Highway Authority
  • Claims can be made for accidents caused by unsafe road surfaces against Local Councils, the Highway Authority or responsible parties. The responsibility for an accident can be shared by several parties and liability for compensation can be split across those parties. 

Illegal driving

People who drive illegally and are involved in an accident aren’t in a strong position to make a claim against another driver. Some examples of driving illegally are:

  • Alone on a provisional licence
  • Without a driving licence, tax or insurance
  • Driving while disqualified
  • A stolen vehicle
  • An unsafe vehicle
  • Without an MOT
  • Driving under the influence of drink or drugs

Claiming from uninsured drivers

If you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver and it wasn’t your fault, or the driver with which you had the accident with refuses to provide insurance details, you can still make a claim against them. Claims for uninsured drivers are handled by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) through their Uninsured Drivers Agreement.

If you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver, you’ll need to consult with road traffic accident and MIB specialist solicitors, such as those on our team, to help you make the claim properly.

Claiming in hit and run road accidents

In the UK it’s an offence for anybody involved in a road traffic accident to leave the scene without exchanging contact and insurance details. This is known as a ‘hit and run’ offence. Making a claim in these circumstances can be difficult and you should contact a specialist at Paul Rooney Solicitors for the best guidance and support. However, if you are involved in a ‘hit and run’ incident there are a few things to do in order to make claiming as easy as possible:

  • Contact the police immediately
  • Record any of the other drivers information; registration plate, vehicle description, etc
  • Take names, addresses and contact details of any witnesses to the accident
  • Photograph the accident area
  • Record any claimable expenses

If the police are able to trace the identity of the ‘hit and run’ driver, you will normally be able claim, but should the other driver be uninsured, or they can’t be traced, the case will need referring to the MIB. Such claims are dealt with through their untraced driver scheme, which can be a complicated process. To get the most from your claim it’s best to get advice from a solicitor.

Typical Compensation Amount Information:

General Damages

These are the damages which are awarded for injuries which are the result of your accident. A medical report will be needed to describe the injuries you sustained and any continuing effects. The amount of compensation you receive is then determined by what has been awarded in similar cases previously.

  • Each personal injury is unique, so compensation awards will vary according to the individual, but some typical examples of damages awards are outlined below:
  • Whiplash injury with full recovery after three months: up to £1,600
  • Whiplash injury with full recovery after six months: up to £2,300
  • Whiplash injury with full recovery after 12 months: up to £3,250
  • Fractured collarbone: up to £9,900
  • Uncomplicated Colles’ fracture of wrist approximately £5,995
  • Simple fracture of femur: up to £11,385

Special Damages

These are the damages which compensate you for your past and future financial loss caused as a direct result of an accident and would typically include loss of earnings, medical and travel expenses. If your injuries mean that you have to enlist help and support from family and/or friends, or you have to alter your accommodation, or even move house, you may be able to recover extra compensation.

Wherever possible you should retain documentation to prove your losses i.e. receipts etc.

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