The One Important Thing You Need To Know About Your Car Accident Claim

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According to Government statistics, there were around 128,000 reported road casualties in 2021. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that road traffic accidents account for the vast majority of personal injury claims. Many people affected may not have been involved in a car accident or personal injury claim before and know nothing about the process. Here, we highlight the most important thing you need to know about your car accident before you can bring a car accident claim.

What Is The Most Important Thing You Need To Know About Your Car Accident Claim?

You may know chapter and verse about what happened in your accident, how it happened and why it happened. However, if the other person involved disputes liability until you can demonstrate they were to blame for the accident and not you, any road traffic accident claim you make won’t succeed.

The one important thing you need to know about your car accident claim for it to succeed is this: you must be able to prove liability (blame) for the accident rests with the other person (or persons) involved in the collision).

How Can You Prove Who Was Responsible For Your Car Accident Claim?

To bring a personal injury claim for a road traffic accident, you need to show that the accident was the fault of another party and that they owed you a duty of care. All road users have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure they do not damage other road users or property. However, establishing that another party was at fault isn’t always as clear-cut.

Sometimes, liability is obvious, and the insurance company of the other driver involved may agree on who was responsible in the early days or weeks after the accident. In the aftermath of an accident, however, those involved may be injured and are often shaken and emotional. Often it is very obvious who was to blame for an accident; it’s pretty hard for someone who runs into the back of a vehicle, which is stationary at traffic lights, to argue they weren’t at fault.

Other accident circumstances may not be so clear-cut, with the other person unwilling to accept any responsibility and instead pointing the finger at you. Occasionally, there may be multiple drivers involved in a collision and it can be difficult to work out who was responsible.

In such cases, it is helpful to gather evidence at the scene. Even in seemingly clear-cut accident circumstances, it’s a good idea to get at least the first three items listed below. Some people can have a habit of arguing the seemingly indefensible!  The evidence you can gather fairly easily may include:

  • The name and contact details of the other driver.
  • Photographs of the scene and any injuries.
  • Witness accounts, or at least contact details of any witnesses who could be contacted later.
  • Details of any nearby CCTV that may have recorded the accident.

When involved in an accident, your immediate concern should be for your safety and the safety of others. So, if you were unable to gather evidence at the scene, don’t worry; your solicitor may be able to obtain the information on your behalf later.

Information Used To Establish Who Was Responsible For A Car Accident

In addition to any evidence gathered from the scene of an accident, various other information can assist in establishing who was at fault. This includes –

  • Police reports. The police will usually attend a road traffic accident if someone has been injured or killed or where there is suspicion that a party is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police may take photographs, speak to witnesses and record the position of the vehicles involved, road marks and damage to property.
  • The location of the damage. This often helps to establish how an accident happened and who was to blame. Damage to the back of a vehicle, for example, can indicate that the person behind was at fault; they may have been driving too fast or too close to you, or may have been distracted and failed to notice that you had slowed down or come to a halt.
  • An accident reconstruction expert’s report. Some accidents are particularly complex; they may involve several parties or result from a series of incidents in quick succession. In such cases, the expertise of an accident reconstruction expert may assist in piecing together the likely sequence of events and, in turn, apportioning blame.

Once your solicitor has gathered enough evidence to identify who was responsible for the accident, they will send a Letter of Claim to the other party. This letter will set out the circumstances of the accident, details of your injuries and information regarding damages and financial loss.

The parties will then enter into negotiations in a bid to settle the claim. Only a tiny percentage of personal injury claims go to trial. Most cases are settled by negotiation, sometimes before a claim is even issued in Court. If a claim is issued, settlement negotiations may continue right up until the hearing.

The more independent evidence you have, the earlier your claim is likely to settle.

Can I Make A Car Accident Personal Injury Claim If I Was Partially Responsible For The Accident?

Yes, you may still be able to bring a personal injury claim if you were partly at fault. Much will depend on the circumstances of the accident and the percentage for which you were to blame. Mooneerams car accident claim solicitors will advise you on the possibility of making a claim in these circumstances and the extent to which any injury compensation you receive could be affected.

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