We deal with a vast amount of clients who have suffered injuries following a road traffic accident (RTA), for this reason our Personal Injury team has put together a guide on what to do should you or anyone you know have an RTA.
If you or anyone you know is in an accident think DETAILS! Here are our top tips for what to do after an accident – fingers crossed you’ll never need to refer to it, but how about printing out this page for future reference and keeping it with your insurance documents?
Compensation following a road traffic accident will include all the losses and expenses you have suffered as a result of your injuries, as well as a lump sum for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.
Even where you think you might be partly responsible for the accident, you should still enquire about making a claim; you could still be entitled to pursue a claim which would then be reduced to take account of your actions.
You can enquire about a claim on someone’s behalf if they have been badly injured and cannot do this for themselves.
It is a good idea to make a note of the other driver’s name, address and description. If the other vehicle is a commercial vehicle or it becomes apparent they are driving in the course of their employment then get a note of the driver’s employers too. Get the details of the other vehicle: make, model, registration number, details of any obvious modifications or defects and the number of passengers with the driver.
Call the police – you will need the incident number for any vehicle or medical claims. If you have a smart phone, take pictures – this will help the police and your insurance company. If there were any witnesses, try to get their details. It is often the case that witnesses will stay until the police arrive and then leave before they are spoken to. Evidence from the witness could be crucial in establishing what happened and whose fault it was. Too many cases have to be compromised because the facts are unclear, which means that you could lose your no claims bonus and your excess.
Take a note of the time of the accident. Contact your insurers as soon as possible after the accident to get a claim file opened. Take legal advice – this should be done at your own pace and as soon as you feel well enough. The key is to do it sooner rather than later while the evidence is fresh. Remember, in most cases you will only have three years to pursue a claim.
If you or a passenger has been seriously injured they will be taken to A&E by ambulance. There are often minor injuries that at the time you might not think are significant, but it is useful to have a record of a checkup with your GP within a few days of the accident. Quick tip: Call your work and speak to your HR team about sick pay, as you might need to get benefits advice.
Get full details of the other driver’s insurance policy. Many people won’t know their policy number but they will be able to tell you which insurance company they are with.
L LEGAL ADVICE
If you’ve been injured, get some legal advice to ascertain whether you will have a claim for financial compensation. Make sure you approach a firm of solicitors that is, like us, approved for this type of work by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (www.apil.org.uk) and the Law Society (solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk). If you need any help or information following a road traffic accident contact Thomson Snell & Passmore on 01892 510000.
Make notes of the circumstances of the accident while it’s fresh in your mind. Draw pictures to help you describe what happened. Include details about the time, the date, the location, the direction you and the other driver were travelling, the weather, use of headlights, streetlights, sounding of horns, indicators, brake lights, etc. Quick tip: Was it sunny? Was it raining?
This article was first published in British Motorcyclists Federation on 27 October 2015.