What to do if you have a road accident?
Being involved in a road traffic accident is a sudden and often frightening experience. It can be difficult to gather your thoughts, but taking down as many details as possible is crucial. This information will be invaluable if you make a personal injury claim:
- The registration number of the vehicles involved
- The model, colour and year of the vehicles involved
- The amount of immediate damage
- The road name and exact location of your accident
- Date and time of the accident
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident
Once you have taken these notes you should:
- Share your details with the other driver
- Take contact details of any witnesses
- Take photographs of the accident scene
- Report the accident to the police
- Inform your insurance company of the accident
Making a road traffic accident claim
If you have been injured through your road accident, you may consider making a personal injury claim.
Questions to ask your road traffic accident solicitor
To make sure you choose the right specialist for your personal injury claim, here are five initial questions to ask your solicitor:
1. Do you have experience in road traffic accident cases?
It may be that your car insurance company recommends a firm, but it is your prerogative to choose your own solicitor. Look for a solicitor’s practice with experience in road traffic accident cases. Personal injury solicitors will usually have a specialism that they have extensive experience in, so look for somebody who has dealt with road traffic accident cases in the past.
2. What details will you need from me?
A well-practised solicitor will know that a road traffic accident requires a number of intricate details. They should recommend that you collate as many of the details of your accident as possible, as listed under ‘what should I do if I have a road accident?’
At this point it’s also crucial that you mention any specific details. Perhaps you weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time, or you feel you may have been partly to blame for the accident. It may also be that the car you collided with is not insured. Though you may be worried about the outcome of disclosing this information, it’s crucial that you and your solicitor discuss this early on. You can still make a personal injury claim, though it’s important you are honest and accurate so your solicitor can offer informed initial advice.
3. Will my case be taken on a ‘no win no fee’ basis – without any extra costs?
If you have chosen a ‘no win no fee’ solicitor, the answer should be “yes”. Your solicitor should assure you that the firm he or she works for offers a genuine no-win no-fee service and that you don’t pay a penny if you lose your case.
Some solicitors might charge fees for medical reports related to your accident. These come from independent medical experts, so the cost may vary. The earlier you clarify any potential charges, the less of a surprise this will be during your case.
4. How long will my case take and how much compensation could I get?
Without knowing your case, no solicitor should promise a sum or give a solid timescale. Though it can be frustrating, a solicitor should never give vague promises based on a brief summary of your accident. Instead, they may offer case studies from their experience, or highlight the variables that might affect the outcome of your case. After a road traffic accident, the following will be taken into account when accumulating your pay-out:
- The severity of your injuries
- Any loss of earnings
- How your injuries affect your life, including your ability to work or enjoy your hobbies
A solicitor will only be able to give you an idea of your potential compensation settlement once they understand the details of your case.
5. What percentage of my compensation will you charge, if successful?
Your conditional fee arrangement, which is the written arrangement between you and your solicitor, will explain the percentage that will be deducted from a successful claim. This is capped at 25% of your compensation, and should not deter from the amount that is agreed upon. Some solicitor’s fees differ, so it is best to ask about this straight away.