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Taking Legal Action Following a Traffic Accident

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 24 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Taking Legal Action After An Accident

If you’re unlucky enough to be involved in a road traffic accident, you may be considering all of your options on how to proceed afterwards. Many people thankfully escape unscathed and simply seek out advice from their insurance company on how to claim back any damages to their vehicle.

For some though, the process is far more complicated and they may need to seek in-depth legal advice following an accident. There are a variety of claims that can be made dependent on the accident that has occurred and these will also affect how your legal action is processed.

Personal Injury Claims & Legal Action

Road traffic accidents that occur that aren’t your fault may mean that you’re entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim. If you’re a passenger in a car that is involved in an accident, you are able to make a personal injury compensation claim against the insurance company of whoever is responsible for the accident.

Often, this may result in you having a claim against the person you were travelling with. This can be difficult if you are friends or relatives, but it’s still an important step to take legally. Other times, you may have a claim against the other individual involved in the collision or at times against both them and the person you’re travelling with. Your insurance company will help you out with these legal aspects of the situation so don’t worry about them overly.

If you’re involved in an accident where you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist or driver then your personal injury compensation claim is made against the insurance company of the other individual involved.

Important Legal Steps After an Accident

One of the most important considerations to make when deciding on whether you should pursue legal action after an accident is to figure out if you’re able to prove that another individual was responsible for the accident that results in your personal injury. Always remain on the scene of the accident and take names, addresses and telephone numbers of not only those involved, but also of any witnesses. If you have a camera, take photos of the scene and if the other person involved leaves the scene, seems inebriated or isn’t willing to give you their details, call the police immediately.

Legal Action When You’ve Been Involved in an Accident

If you decide you wish to pursue legal action after an accident, you have a total of 3 years from the date of the accident to do so. Generally, approaching legal counsel as early as possible is a good idea as then it’s easier to track down witnesses and the events are fresher in your mind. You should contact a good solicitor who deals in personal injury claims and they will be able to advise you further on what to do.

Many people become concerned that by taking legal action against someone, they will be drawn into a lengthy court case to obtain their injury compensation. In most cases personal injury claims don’t reach the Court as this will usually increase legal costs which are payable by the person who is responsible for the accident.

If you are lucky enough to have a clear cut case where there is no dispute regarding who was at fault or the level of injuries you’ve sustained, most insurance companies prefer to settle out of court. If there is some kind of dispute with your case there is the chance that you would have to attend Court, but if you have a good solicitor then you have nothing to worry about. Your solicitor will take you through all the possible scenarios in court and prep you for your appearance.

Main Points to Consider

If you are thinking of taking legal action after being involved in an accident, these are the main points to consider:

  • 1. Get as many details at the scene as possible – names, addresses, phone numbers
  • 2. If you have a camera, get photos. Distance and size are very important in the context of any photos you can get
  • 3. Always contact your insurance company first, then contact a good solicitor who deals with personal injury claims
  • 4. Look for someone who doesn’t charge unless you win your claim. There’s no point in paying out money unless you’re sure you’re going to receive your compensation

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[Add a Comment]
Mimi - Your Question:
Hello.I have a couple of questions, to which I have so far been unable to find answers. I hope that you can help?A relative of mine was visiting the UK, as a tourist and whilst here on holiday, was hit by a car in the Centre of London. I wanted to confirm, firstly, the statute of limitation in cases like that of my relative. And secondly what is the best way to seek responsibility from the driver, provided that the Police CAD number and report, as well as the hospital documents are available?Thank you.Mariya

Our Response:
There is a 3 year limit on injury compensation claims here in the UK. A solicitor's letter to the other party or their insurer willnormally be sufficient to start the process.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 26-May-17 @ 2:24 PM
Hello. I have a couple of questions, to which I have so far been unable to find answers. I hope that you can help? A relative of mine was visiting the UK, as a tourist and whilst here on holiday, was hit by a car in the Centre of London. I wanted to confirm, firstly, the statute of limitation in cases like that of my relative. And secondly what is the best way to seek responsibility from the driver, provided that the Police CAD number and report, as well as the hospital documents are available? Thank you. Mariya
Mimi - 24-May-17 @ 3:58 PM
What would be the relevance of the other party having driven past a prohibition notice that meant they should not have been there? I was riding a bicycle when I was struck form behind by a driver who had passed a sign for buses and loading only. The driver was not loading.
Pierre - 23-Oct-16 @ 4:10 PM
mackie - Your Question:
My parked car was written off by a yorkshire water pump truck that fled the seen. We are very lucky that it was all caught on cctv and they are not disputing it is their fault. However I am curious about compensation.Any help would be appreciated!

Our Response:
The company's insurance should pay for this, we guess you would receive the current value of your car etc. What other compensation would you want to seek? If anyone was injured you might want to try an injury claims specialist.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 23-Mar-16 @ 2:30 PM
My parked car was written off by a yorkshire water pump truck that fled the seen. We are very lucky that it was all caught on cctv and they are not disputing it is their fault. However I am curious about compensation.Any help would be appreciated!
mackie - 20-Mar-16 @ 12:07 PM
@bailey. Ensure that the insurers have received copies of the witness statements and all the police reports. Tell them you do not want to accept liability when the accident was clearly your fault. If necessary make a counter claim via a specialist lawyer.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 24-Feb-15 @ 2:07 PM
Recently involved in rta, whereby I was on a main road and car emerged from the left side straight into the path of my car causing a collision, I think it is known as a t-bone, the police attended along with an ambulance for myself, injuries included a fracture to my sternum. Two witness statements were taken advising that the other car emerged into the path of my vehicle, however the other party at the time alleged that she thought someone had 'flashed' her, however this was not the case, and the police told her she was at fault for the collision. I have now been advised by my insurers that they allege that the collision was my fault? Stating that I had made my own line,of traffic in the middle/ wrong side of the single carriage way and somehow managed to collide with her as she pulled out, even though common sense would me the impact and position of the vehicles would be very different if this was the case. What can I do to prove I a, not liable? Would a RTA expert help? I have asked my insurance company to obtain the police report, which hopefully also has the witness statements
bailey - 22-Feb-15 @ 12:31 PM
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