Driving a car is something that a majority of the population do. It is very useful to be able to drive a car, and is usually a very fun thing to do.
Nothing really gives you the same freedom as a car, you don’t have to rely on public transport, or waiting on someone else to give you a lift, you can get in your car, and travel pretty much anywhere.
So, driving is fun, but accidents do happen. Unfortunately, after some accidents you will need to make a claim, which can be very stressful, especially if you don’t know what to do.
Hopefully there are some tips here that will help you if you ever find yourself in that situation.
First Things First
You’ve been in a car accident, which is frightening and stressful no matter how much damage has been done. What should you do first?
The very first thing you should do is stop. If you do not stop at the scene of an accident, that is an offence that can be prosecuted when you are caught.
So, no matter how much damage has, or has not been done, stop your car, turn off the engine and turn your hazard lights on to alert other drivers that an incident has occured, and prevent further collisions.
Once you have stopped, check yourself and others in your cars for injuries, if anyone is injured call 999 for the police and medical help. If the situation isn’t urgent, call 101 instead.
If you don’t call the police at the time of the accident, you must inform them within 24 hours, if not, you could be liable for a penalty.
When you have been in a car accident, you must give your name and address, phone number and insurance details to the other person or persons involved in the accident, and they must give you theirs.
If you are involved in an accident with a stationary car when no-one else is in the vehicle, you must leave your details on the window screen, and take the details of the other car.
You should also collect the details of the passengers and any witnesses for any car accident claims that may be made to the insurance companies.
You should also take photos of the scene of the accident, including number plates of the cars, damage caused to the vehicles or surrounding objects, and any injuries to people.
It’s always wise to take some pictures of the surrounding area so that you can prove where the accident happened.
Taking photos is usually quick and easy these days as most people have smartphones, however if you don’t, keep a camera in your car for this purpose.
Tell Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, contact your car insurance company and inform them of everything that has happened, and give them all the relevant details that you have collected.
Every insurance company has a different time limit on when you can tell them about an accident, should you go past this limit, your insurance will become invalid, so check your policy, but really it’s best to let them know as soon as you can.
Claiming For Compensation
If you are seeking to claim for compensation relating to a car accident, then there are steps that you will need to take, as well as all the ones above.
You will need legal advice, some insurance companies offer some legal advice, or you could contact the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS). The solicitors that work at this company specialise in claims for car accidents, and the initial consultation is usually free.
Your chosen legal team will be able to guide you through the process of making a claim and ensure you get compensation after a car accident.
Before you speak to someone in the legal field, it is a good idea to contact the police or your insurance company and ask for a copy of the report made on the day of the accident. This will have many details that you may not have noted at the time, or that you have forgotten that will aid you when discussing the claim with a solicitor.
What Happens Next?
Once a solicitor has agreed to take on your claim, often on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis, they will want to see the police report and any medical reports immediately following the accident.
You will then need to arrange another check with a doctor – usually one recommended by the solicitor – who can do a full check on you, and assess how severe any injuries are. You may need further tests, like x-rays, ultrasound or blood tests for example.
Once the doctor has all this information, he can estimate how long recovery should take, and how much any injuries will affect your day to day life.
Building A Case
Once your solicitor has your medical report, they will add that to the evidence they are using to build a case for your compensation claim.
They will ask you very detailed questions about the circumstances of the accident, and they will use any photos or notes you took at the time to add to the portfolio of evidence. They will also want to speak to any witnesses, including passengers, who were present at the time.
Keep a record of any expenses related to the accident that you have had. These can be repair invoices to the car, or invoices for medical treatment or medication. Your solicitor will add these on to the compensation being claimed.
Will I Have To Go To Court?
This really depends on your case. If it is very clear that the other party was at fault, then it is likely your claim will not have to go to court.
However if the other party is arguing that they were not at fault, or that you were equally at fault, then the case may well have to be tried in a court of law.