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Road Traffic Accidents – Frequently Asked Questions

February 15, 2016 by admin in Insurance

road traffic accident

Being involved in a road traffic accident is distressing. Here are some FAQs to bear in mind.

Do I have to stop after a road traffic accident?

The law requires you to stop – and remain on the scene for a reasonable length of time – if:

  • anyone (other than yourself) is injured;
  • damage has been caused to another vehicle or to another person’s property; or
  • an animal has been injured or killed (unless this occurs within your own vehicle or any trailer it may be towing at the time).

Do I have to report a road traffic accident to the police?

Once again, this is a matter of your legal obligations, which require you to report the accident to the police if:

  • anyone is injured in the accident;
  • there are no injuries, but damage has been caused, and the other driver did not stop, this also needs to be reported to the police; and
  • damage has been caused but a driver refuses to give their name address, this also needs to be reported to the police.

Can road accident traffic claims be made even if the driver at fault is uninsured?

The simple answer is yes, since the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) runs a scheme to help ensure that victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers are adequately compensated.

Pursuing a claim through the MIB is by no means straight forward, however, and you are almost certain to require the help of your insurer or a specialist road traffic accident claims lawyer.

What compensation am I claiming?

Under English law, you are entitled to compensation for any loss or damage – including personal injury – you suffer as the result of another person’s negligence.

Compensation take the form of damages, which are separated into special damages (also sometimes known as economic damages) for the financial loss you have suffered, and general damages for the less tangible pain and suffering, psychological damage and lower quality of life you suffer as a result of the accident.

My insurer wants to appoint a solicitor; do I have any choice?

Road traffic accident claims may become protracted and extremely complicated, especially where personal injuries are involved.

Knowing their own limits, many insurers therefore want to appoint a solicitor to act in pursuit of your claim.

Despite this offer, you are entirely free to instruct the solicitors of your choice.

Solicitors instructed by insurance companies act for those companies – you may be right in being wary of a potential conflict of interest therefore.

I think I might have been at least partly responsible for the accident – can I still make a claim?

The whole question of liability can prove a real minefield and in the event of a dispute, its resolution is likely to be best left to your professional advisers – your insurers and any specialist solicitors you might have instructed.

This is one of the reasons why you must never accept any liability at the scene of the accident itself – despite anything you might think, liability might not rest with you.

Even if it is shown that there may have been contributory negligence on your part, your claim for compensation by way of damages still stands – although the amount of any settlement may be reduced accordingly.