Road accidents - how can you get legal help?

 

Road accidents today are a different prospect to what they used to be. There are stricter burdens on drivers to take care on the road as they now have an established duty to each other and to pedestrians.

Common road accidents

There are precedents to ensure that any negligence on the part of a driver can lead to compensation claims. Road accidents today can involve:

  • Cars
  • Taxis
  • Buses
  • Coaches
  • Motorcycles
  • Bicycles
  • Pedestrians and any other user of the highway

The only difference is who you would pursue in your claim. For example, if you were injured in a bus accident, or any other method of public transport, then you could bring a claim against the bus company or the responsible organisation, whereas in car accidents you would bring your claim against the insurance company of the other car.

In either case your claim must be brought within three years of the accident.

What to do in an accident:

Generally you should stop at the scene of an accident. If you do not, there is the potential that the police might class it as a hit-and-run accident. You are legally required to stop at the scene of an accident if:

  • Someone's been injured
  • There's damage to someone's vehicle or property
  • An animal has been injured or killed
  • A fixed object has been damaged

You are required by law to provide your contact details when someone involved in an accident asks for them, and vice versa. This includes:

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the owner of the vehicle (if different from the driver)
  • The registration number of the vehicle

If any personal injury is caused to another person, the driver must also produce a valid insurance certificate if asked to do so by a police officer, injured person, or anyone else directly or indirectly involved in the accident. Where only damage to property is caused, the driver must give insurance details to anyone who may wish to make a claim against them.

A road accident report must be made by the driver to the police if someone has been injured; one of the drivers is unable to produce an insurance certificate at the scene of the accident; or if you are unable to swap details with the other driver at the scene of the accident.
This may be done by calling a police officer to the scene, or by attending at a police station in person.

A road accident report must be made as soon as practicable and in any case within 24 hours. A solicitor can give you advice on any stage of the process.

Making a claim

In order to qualify for compensation you must have suffered an injury as a result of a third party's negligence. The injury can be minor, such as bruising or scarring, or more serious such as neck and spinal injuries, paralysis or even death.

The most common type of injury from road accidents today between two vehicles is often referred to as 'whiplash'. The symptoms of whiplash vary and can be very painful. It is caused by the impact of sudden deceleration when a vehicle collides with another. It usually affects the neck or back area and the pain can either start immediately or after a short period of time.

Treatment is vital as the pain can become chronic if left untreated and any medical expenses can be recovered from the third party who was at fault for the accident.

Have you suffered a whiplash injury? See our information page on whiplash.

Are you looking for a personal injury lawyer to help you bring a claim for a road accident you have had in the last three years? Contact Law can put you in touch with specialist personal injury solicitors who deal specifically in road accident claims, and can file the claim for compensation on your behalf, usually on a no-win, no-fee basis. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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