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Car accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence on UK roads. Whether minor or serious, they often result in personal injuries that can be both physically and emotionally taxing.
If you have been involved in a motoring accident, you may have already taken steps towards making a car accident compensation claim. In such cases, who is responsible for paying for your injuries and support? In the following blog post, the car accident claim experts at Ramsdens explain who typically bears the financial burden in various situations and what you should do to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
On a fundamental level, a personal injury claim is a formal request for compensation from the party responsible for causing harm.
The most obvious form of damage is physical injury. This could range from minor scrapes and bruises to severe injuries like fractures, burns or even life-altering conditions such as spinal cord or brain injuries. Medical bills for the treatment of these injuries - be it immediate emergency care, ongoing treatments, surgeries, or physiotherapy - form a significant part of the claim.
The impact of a car accident isn't just physical; it can take an emotional toll as well. Emotional distress, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common aftermaths of severe accidents. Although these are not visible injuries, they are considered valid damages in a personal injury claim, often requiring psychological evaluations to substantiate the claim.
If your injuries have rendered you unable to work, either temporarily or permanently, you can claim for loss of earnings. This extends beyond just your salary to include bonuses, promotions, and other perks you might have received had you been able to continue working.
Additional costs may include various out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident - like the cost of travel to medical appointments, modifications needed for your home or vehicle due to injuries, or hiring help for chores you can't perform while injured.
Your legal costs can also be incorporated into your claim, often as a 'conditional fee agreement,' also known as a 'no win, no fee' arrangement. At Ramsdens, we approach all of our personal injury claims on a no win, no fee basis, meaning our clients do not have to pay their legal expenses to us if we are not successful in securing the required compensation amount.
Insurance companies are an essential part of the resolution of personal injury claims, usually dictating how the responsible party gathers the funds to pay for any vehicle damage and injuries sustained.
Having car insurance is a legal requirement for UK drivers, the minimum of which is third-party insurance, which covers damages to other people and their property, but doesn't protect a driver themselves or their own vehicle. More comprehensive policies may include coverage for drivers' own damages and medical expenses.
After an accident, the insurance companies representing each party will initiate an investigation to establish who was at fault. In the majority of cases, the insurance company of the party found to be at fault for the accident will be responsible for paying out the personal injury claim. This is often known as a 'fault' policy. However, some 'no-fault' policies exist where each party's insurance company covers their own losses, irrespective of who was responsible for the accident. No-fault policies can speed up the claim process but may result in higher premiums for both parties involved.
If you have been injured in a car accident, the other driver's insurance company may get in contact with you and offer you a payout. However, it's advisable to consult with a solicitor before accepting any such offer to ensure it adequately covers all your losses and future expenses related to the accident. Often, insurance companies offer payouts before any thorough investigations can be done to calculate and substantiate the value of your injury and losses claim. While this offer may initially seem like a quick and easy way to resolve the problem, you may encounter complications further down the line that would have increased your compensation amount you would have been entitled too. It's important to note that, once you accept a payout from an insurance company, it will be difficult to demand further reparations. Always speak with a solicitor before accepting anything.
In an ideal scenario, both parties involved in the accident will have insurance. Once fault is established, the at-fault party's insurance company typically handles the personal injury claim and pays out the necessary compensation to the victim. This process includes covering medical bills, repair costs for property damage, and potentially even compensation for emotional distress and loss of earnings.
Things get complicated when the at-fault party is uninsured or untraceable. The Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) can step in to handle claims when the at-fault driver is uninsured or it is not possible to identify who the responsible drive was, thereby ensuring that the victim still receives the compensation they're entitled to.
Depending on the type and scope of your coverage, your insurance policy should cover medical bills, property damage and possibly additional damages like emotional distress or loss of earnings suffered by the victim.
If you have suffered an injury, your solicitor may be able to find reasonable grounds on which to claim that the other party was responsible for your injuries, but in most cases it will not be possible to claim against a party that is not at-fault.
If you've been involved in a car accident that was not your fault and you've suffered injuries as a result, speak to the expert personal injury solicitors at Ramsdens as soon as you are able. We can help you to understand your situation by discussing your accident in a free initial consultation. If you decide you want to make your claim, simply let us know and we will begin the process, gathering evidence, communicating with the necessary parties and keeping you informed throughout.