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Tag Archive: road traffic accident claims

1 in 10 accidents now involve ‘hit and run’ drivers, so what are the options when in an accident with someone who’s not insured?

Hit and run incidents


New statistics have suggested there are more than a million uninsured drivers on the UK’s roads – with around 10 per cent of road traffic accidents where an injury is sustained now involving a ‘hit and run’ driver.

The statistics are shocking, and will be worrying to many who abide by the rules and quite rightly ensure they are fully covered before getting behind the wheel.

In London, it is estimated that around 216,000 of its 3.9 million motorists are on the road without cover – more than one in every 10 cars in East London. Birmingham has an estimated 55,142 non-covered vehicles, Manchester 37,167, Belfast 30,504 and Liverpool 27,364, according to the new research.

Yes, we all grumble about rising insurance premiums, but insurance is there to protect us when something goes wrong. The cover ensures we can quickly get back on the road after an accident, and secure vital compensation for injuries and losses suffered.

However, to find yourself either injured or left off the road following an accident, and discover that the other party had no insurance policy, can be extremely worrying and stressful.

It is particularly difficult when the other party fails to stop and you find yourself the victim of a hit and run.

What do you do next?

Making compensation claims through the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB)

We see many drivers left with serious and long-term injuries as the result of road traffic accidents. They are often unable to work for a lengthy period of time, and unable to support their families.

Being faced with the prospect of not being able to hold anyone to account is very worrying.

As specialists in handling road accident compensation claims, our team at Hudgell Solicitors are highly experienced in supporting people left in such a position of limbo, and given these new statistics, it is a scenario we are likely to handle with increasing regularity.

Our experience of handling claims through the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) – an insurance industry funded body which deals with claims involving uninsured or untraced drivers – is essential is these situations.

If there has been no policy in place, or if the car was stolen or insured for a person not driving at the time, claims for compensation for vehicle and property damage, as well as injury, can be made through the MIB.

This is a much more difficult route of securing compensation, but our team of specialists is highly experienced in negotiating with the MIB over settlements, negotiating over the amount of compensation due to the victims to ensure the right result for clients.

Man received £1.8m damages after accident with uninsured driver

In one case, we represented a client who was left with severe head and spinal and brain injuries when hit by an uninsured driver.

The amount of compensation he was to receive was heavily disputed during negotiations, but our expertise ensured he finally received a settlement of £1.8m, reflecting how the accident had left him with life-long injuries and in need of continued care and support.

From a position of initially having nobody to hold to account, we were able to secure life-long support for our client.

What is clear from these latest statistics is that strong action needs to be taken against those found guilty of driving uninsured. Tougher penalties must be imposed to prevent cases rising further – and of course our insurance premiums going up too!

We’ll continue supporting those who find themselves the victims of uninsured drivers.

They are deserving of our legal knowledge and support, and to be fully compensated for their injuries and loss.

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05/07/2016 No Comments

How much room do you give a horse-rider, and should rules be clearer for drivers to reduce accidents on UK roads?

Horse riding accidents on the road


 

Good driving is about showing consideration for others at all times when behind the wheel, ensuring the decisions you take reduce the risk of accidents and injury on the roads.

Of course, we all like to think we are skilful and considerate drivers, doing our best to ensure we adhere to the laws of the roads. We know the key rules – and possible consequences – relating to breaking laws on speed, drinking, and using our phones, and drive accordingly.

However, what about the ‘grey areas’ of the rules on the roads, such as how to drive when approaching horse-riders?

It is a situation drivers will increasingly come across, and one in which that key skill of consideration is very much required.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, given the increasing numbers of horse-riders on the roads, there is no firm law or clear guidance for motorists as to exactly how they should adapt their driving when approaching horse-riders to reduce the risk of accidents.

Unclear guidance for drivers to help reduce accidents

The Highway Code advises drivers to slow down and give room, yet does not give any idea of how much room should be left between vehicle and horse, or what speed is considered safe. It is left to the individual’s interpretation.

The British Horse Society recently revealed that there have been more than 2,000 reports of accidents involving horses on UK roads since 2010, with almost one in ten resulting in a fatality.

And according to a survey they conducted, three in four accidents happened because the vehicle passed the animal without allowing enough space.

It is an increasing problem, as in 2012 a total of 165 accidents were recorded, but this figure had risen by nearly 50 per cent to 316 in 2015. Over the past five years there have been 36 rider deaths in the UK, and 181 horse deaths.

A spokesperson for the charity said a major problem was that many drivers are unsure how to behave when near a horse, and it now calling for legislation to be introduced to set a statutory 15mph law when passing horses.

Earlier this year, horse carriage master Mark Evans was injured and his horse Wil was killed after being hit by a car as he pulled a funeral cortege in Wales. The tragic case received national media attention and prompted petitions calling for greater protection from the Government for horse riders.

Road accident victims often require long-term support

At Hudgell Solicitors, we see the devastation often caused by careless driving and misjudgements of drivers behind the wheel. People can be left needing life-long support and treatment, and in some cases, errors in judgement can prove fatal.

Our personal injury compensation specialists have also supported many people who have fallen from horses, falls which often leave the individual with serious injuries which can have a long-term impact on their day-to-day life, or result in long periods off work.

Given the statistics, we agree that the introduction of clear guidance and legislation for drivers relating to horse-riders should help reduce the number of casualties.

Horses are prone to being nervy and bolting, and a revving engine, loud music, or beeping of a car horn could result in serious injury to a rider, horse, motorist or a passer-by.

Perhaps it is time for Government took greater notice of the worrying increase in accidents and injuries on the roads relating to horse riders, and took steps to ensure new laws are both incorporated into the Highway Code, and adopted by motorists from the moment they pass their tests.

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22/04/2016 No Comments

Would automatic bans for drivers using mobiles finally prevent people from putting lives at risk on the roads?

Man In Car Talking On Mobile Phone Whilst Driving


It may well be the driving offence now most commonly committed on the UK’s roads – using a mobile whilst behind the wheel.

Whether it be spending just a few seconds to answer a call, glancing at an incoming text, or, more blatantly, using a smartphone for social media or even to take pictures and videos, most people would find it hard to deny using their phone when driving at one time.

Over the past 10 years, more than 200 people have been killed in Britain in accidents involving drivers using hand-held mobile phones at the wheel.

The number of accidents in which phones have been involved is increasing, with almost 500 accidents caused by drivers who were using a hand-held phone in 2014, the highest number on record. Of those accidents, 21 proved fatal.

Research by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has shown that drivers using any type of mobile phone – hands-free or not – are four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and other people.

However, it is a message which is largely ignored, as research recently conducted by our road accident claims team at Hudgell Solicitors has highlighted.

Asked which single new law would make the biggest difference to road safety in the UK, 45 per cent of respondents said an instant ban for being caught using a phone.

Interestingly, just 15 per cent thought a total ban on drinking alcohol before driving would result in less accidents on the roads.

In my view, these figures give an indication of acceptance that the law regarding mobile phone use is routinely broken and is not strong enough. It suggests tougher punishments are needed to make drivers think, and not pick up their phone.

Without stronger punishments, many – and perhaps even those who consider themselves safe and considerate drivers – will take the risk.

Ministers last year announced plans which will see most first time offenders offered an educational course to learn about the risks of their behaviour after they are stopped by police.

Those who are ‘persistent offenders’ will face an increase from the current three penalty points to four, while fines will rise from £100 to £150.

The flaw here is that ‘first time offenders’, on the vast majority of occasions, will not be that. They’ll more likely be regular offenders who have been caught for the first time.

Also, why should there be such a thing as ‘persistent offenders’? Do we get persistent offenders of drink-driving being allowed to hold onto their licence? Certainly not.

I have previously written about my belief that such punishments are not strong enough, as I believe people currently do not associate the risk of being caught and punished for using a mobile anywhere near that of being caught drink-driving.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where many don’t stop and think of the possible victims of their reckless actions, instead focussing on the punishment they’ll face for breaking the law rather than the damage they can do to the lives of others.

As well as potential technological innovations and continued publicity of the dangers of driving whilst using a mobile phone, more serious punishments for mobile phone use are needed. Only then can we make a difference and improve safety on the roads.

At present, the punishment certainly doesn’t fit the crime. In order to combat the culture of driving whilst using a mobile phone, that simply has to change. Before more lives are lost.

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08/04/2016 No Comments

Summer should be safer on the roads, so why are child casualties highest in July?

stop sign children


With the lighter nights now upon us, it is assumed by many to be the safest time of the year when driving on the UK’s roads.

However, new figures published by the RAC Foundation have painted a very different picture, as they have revealed more children are killed on the UK’s roads in the longer summer days than throughout the winter months.

There has been a six per cent increase in child casualties on the roads since 2013, a huge reverse of a trend which had previously seen numbers fall every year since 2004.

Better weather and longer hours of sunlight results in more children playing outside or cycling and walking to school, which in turn leads to a greater exposure to risk, the RAC Foundation says.

Accident figures are stark warning to drivers

But as specialists in handling hundreds of road accident compensation claims each year, we at Hudgell Solicitors see how driver complacency and distraction also often results in devastation.

These new figures act as a stark warning to each and every one of us who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, at any time.

Based on a five-year average from 2010-14, they have shown July to be the month with biggest number of child road casualties in Britain.

Over that time, 227 under-15s were killed or seriously injured in July from a total of 1,733 casualties in that age bracket. Lowest monthly averages were recorded in December, when there were 122 children killed or hurt out of 1,103 casualties.

Significantly, the statistics show half of child road casualties happen when they are not in vehicles themselves, with 40 per cent being pedestrians and 13 per cent being cyclists.

It highlights how our level of care and attention needs to be the same on a bright summer’s day as it is on a cold, dark, icy winter morning, as only that can guarantee our reactions are as they need to be.

All drivers should hold this thought – the figures actually suggest drivers are more likely to injure a child either walking or cycling than any children travelling in a vehicle with them.

The bigger danger is to others out on the roads, not to the driver themselves or their own passengers. How often do we think of that when we set off on a journey?

Pete Williams, a trustee of the RAC’s Road Safety Awareness Charity, has said it is the ‘responsibility of all drivers to be mindful of the risks of young road users and children playing around and near roads and to reduce their speed and increase their vigilance’, and we would certainly agree.

However, his words come as a survey involving national road safety charity Brake has revealed almost half of drivers polled admitted to breaking a 20mph speed limit – which are commonly found close to schools – last year.

It also showed that a quarter of drivers admitted to driving too fast in a 20mph area at least once-a-month, whilst 20 per cent of motorists surveyed said they break a 20mph speed limit on a weekly basis.

With the peak hour for child road casualties being between 3pm and 4pm, and a spike also in the mornings also between 8am and 9am coinciding with school rush hours, it is clear that messages over safety are being ignored by far too many.

Accident victims supported through compensation claims

Over a 12-month period, we supported more than 1,500 victims of road traffic accidents in settling compensation claims, and in each of those cases, fault for the accident was either admitted or proved.

We see the devastation caused to families, particularly as a result of accidents involving young children. We are dedicated to securing compensation settlements for those seriously injured at a young age which can help them rebuild their lives and provide life-long support and care where needed.

However, we know legal action can never turn back the clock.

Each and every accident claim we settle represents an accident and injury which could and should have been prevented, and with a total of 17,755 child casualties over a five-year period, there is clearly plenty of work to be done to make our roads safer for all and bring the number of casualties down.

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29/03/2016 No Comments

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