Newly released government statistics state that there were 146,322 personal injury road traffic accidents (RTA's) reported to the police in 2014.
Although RTA's and the number of people injured or killed as a result have declined significantly over the last decade, accidents still resulted in 194,477 casualties of all severities in 2014.
Of these, 115,530 were car occupants, 8,035 of whom were seriously injured.
With traffic volumes continuing to rise (by 2.4% between 2013 and 2014) the highest rate since 1996), RTAs will continue to happen.
Is it right to claim compensation for a car accident?
Anyone injured in a RTA has a right to pursue a claim if they have sustained financial, physical or psychological damage incurred as a result of a car accident that wasnt their fault.
Special damages are paid to reimburse medical expenses, loss of income and future earnings and other out of pocket expenses. Claimants may also seek compensation for general damages for any pain and suffering sustained. This applies to the car driver, any passengers or other road users hit by a car.
How are claims made?
Many people are concerned when the accident has been caused by someone they know such as a friend or member of the family. Often people believe that making a claim could result in financial loss for that person. Since all drivers are legally obliged to pay for car insurance to drive on the public highway, claims are made through their insurance policies.
However, if he is uninsured a claim can be brought through the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) who regularly handle such claims.
Similarly, the MIB will deal with claims where a driver leaves the accident scene without giving any details, or is untraceable.
What are the most common injuries claimed for?
The sudden impact of a car crash commonly causes whiplash injuries as the head is moved forward, backward or side-to-side in a sudden, violent manner. Claims for whiplash make up around 80% of the total claims pursued as a result of car accidents.
Personal injury solicitors specialising in road accidents will be familiar with a range of claims including:
- Soft tissue injuries and whiplash
- Internal organs injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Loss of limb
- Head, brain and spinal injuries
- Injury to the senses
- Fatal accidents
What to do when involved in a RTA
It is advisable to call the police immediately, even if the car damage looks minor and the injuries seem mild. Even if they dont require immediate medical treatment, injuries may deteriorate later. The police will document the accident so an official report will be available if required.
In addition, make as many notes as possible about the accident, including photographs where practicable of both the vehicles and any visible injuries.
Keep a record and receipts of any expenses incurred. This would include costs for any treatment or prescriptions; miscellaneous costs such as taxi services or child care, or even costs of scheduled travel cancellation.
Any loss of income should be verified by the Claimants employer.
It may also be useful to keep a diary, detailing inconvenience, the discomfort and pain experienced, as well as any emotional difficulties to overcome. This will help assess any award for general damages.
Car accidents can be traumatic experiences. Personal injury solicitors are part of the vital support newtork that can help Claimants recover and get back on track as quickly as possible.