A Guide to Road Traffic Accident Claims

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Express Solicitors has a specialist Road Traffic Department that deal solely with claims arising from road traffic accidents.

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The Basics of every Claim

There are two very basic elements of the claim.

The first is establishing liability or fault for the accident. The second is assessing the value of your claim, also known as quantum.

  1. Liability

Broadly, liability is fault for the accident and the first thing we need to establish in any claim. Often it is easy to establish liability in road traffic accidents as the circumstances are usually straightforward. In more complicated claims we have very experienced solicitors who specialise in liability disputes and have excellent success rates.

  1. Quantum

Quantum is essentially how much your claim is worth. Once we have established liability for the accident we need to assess the value of your claim and agree a settlement figure with the other side. Quantum is split into two parts known as general damages and special damages. General damages is the money that you will recover for your injury. Special damages are any other losses or expenses that you have suffered as a result of the accident or as a result of your accident related injuries.

General damages

To assess your injuries we will arrange for an independent medical specialist to examine you and prepare a report detailing the injuries that you have sustained in the accident. Should the expert recommended any further diagnosis or treatment we can usually arrange this for you on a private basis to ensure that you get the treatment that you need as quickly as possible. Sometimes you might need to see more than one expert – for example you might need to see an orthopaedic expert for a broken bone and also a psychologist for any anxiety issues that you have suffered with after the accident.

Special damages

At the outset of your claim we will ask you to give us information as to any special damages that need to be included in your claim. These will be things like loss of earnings, insurance excess, vehicle repairs, vehicle hire, prescription costs, and travelling expenses. We will assess your claim for special damages and obtain expert advice where necessary. For example, we can instruct an engineer to assess the damage to your vehicle, or we can obtain information from your employer if you feel that your absence from work has resulted in a loss of earnings or maybe a loss of promotion. 

How is my claim run?

There are a number of variables that will affect how we run your claim at Express Solicitors.

The majority of road traffic accidents are now dealt with via an online “Portal” which solicitors and insurance companies have access to. If your claim is straightforward and liability is admitted early on your claim will remain on this “Portal” which is designed to be a streamlined process to make settlement as quick and easy as possible.

Portal claims

A portal claim is split into three stages.

  1. Stage 1 deals with liability. Express Solicitors send your claim to the other driver’s insurance company via the “portal” and they have 21 days to admit liability for the accident. As long as liability is admitted within this time frame the claim moves to stage 2.
  2. Stage 2 deals with quantum. It gives us time to obtain evidence in respect of your general and special damages and, once we have agreed figures with you, we submit all of the evidence to the other side on the portal along with an opening offer of settlement. There is a then a period of time to allow the parties to negotiate settlement. Most claims settle here, at stage 2.
  3. If the parties cannot agree a settlement we move your claim to stage 3 where we will ask a judge to decide the amount of compensation you should receive, based on the evidence that we have (you shouldn’t need to go to Court!).

Non-portal claims

If your claim is not straightforward, for example if liability is not admitted or you have a complex injury then your claim will be dealt with outside the portal. Essentially the steps are the same, liability, quantum and settlement, but are likely to take longer as they will probably need more investigation. If you claim falls outside the portal then an experienced solicitor in the road traffic team will have conduct of your claim.

Uninsured or untraced drivers

If you have suffered an injury at the fault of an uninsured or untraced driver then we will present your claim to the Motor Insurers Bureau (the MIB). The MIB is a government organisation set up to compensate the victims of uninsured and untraced drivers. The claims are essentially run in the same way as a normal claim. Uninsured claims are dealt with, in the first instance, on the claims “portal” and the MIB has a special application form for untraced claims which we will help you to complete as part of your claim.

Foreign registered vehiclesforeign car

If you have suffered an injury at the fault of a foreign driver, in a foreign registered vehicle then your claim is likely to be dealt with via the Green Card scheme. Essentially there are various agreements in place where foreign insurance companies have UK counterparts who help them with claims, following accidents in the UK.

Say you have an accident with a French driver who is in a French car, but the accident is in the UK. If the French car has French insurance then the French insurance company will have a UK representative (normally a UK based insurer) who will deal with your claim. We can trace the right UK representative for you and we will deal with them throughout your claim.