Introduction to Traffic Accident Compensation
Although the popular media would have you believe that the only type of traffic accident compensation claims that exist are whiplash injury claims, this is by far the whole story. According to the most recent Department for Transport figures for reported personal injury traffic accident injuries (2013), 138,660 drivers and passengers were injured in traffic accidents – 21,657 seriously and 1,713 fatally.
The “failure to look” was the biggest cause of traffic accident injuries (38 per cent), and driver “error” contributed to over 80 per cent of all traffic accident injuries – those drivers´ negligence being responsible for the high number of claims for traffic accident compensation that were recorded during 2012/2013.
These figures were compiled only from reports made to the police after a traffic accident – which is a necessary action if you wish to make an injury compensation claim following a traffic accident. They fail to take into account the many thousands of people who are injured in traffic accidents (pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists, public transport passengers) who do not report their injuries to the police, nor those who suffer psychological injury after being involved in an accident with traffic.
Typical Traffic Accident Injuries
The most common traffic accident injuries are whiplash injuries, where the muscles of the neck and upper spine are hyper-extended due to the rapid backward and forward movement of the head when a car driver or passenger is involved in a collision. Although the introduction of air-bags and head restraints has significantly reduced the number of chronic whiplash injuries, these are still the major reason for traffic accident compensation claims.
The remaining injuries from traffic accidents can be divided almost in two between external physical injuries (back/spine injuries, fractured limbs, etc.) and internal physical injuries (brain damage, abdominal/diaphragm injuries etc.) with varying grades of severity. One significant observation made about road users severely injured in traffic accidents is that 25% are likely to experience some level of permanent psychological damage – a factor often overlooked in the media misrepresentation of traffic accident compensation claims.
What to do after a Traffic Accident
Most road users are fairly familiar with the procedures after a traffic accident. Exchange insurance details with other drivers involved in the accident, never admit liability (this can sometimes void your insurance policy) and call an ambulance if somebody is badly injured. You should also call the police if vehicles involved in the accident are blocking the highway, or if the party responsible for causing the accident has fled without stopping to give his or her details.
If you have been involved in a traffic accident for which you were not to blame, and you or one of your passengers has suffered an injury as a result, it is often difficult to remain calm – but stay calm you must. The police, together with any witnesses and insurance investigators, will be able to ascertain who was to blame for the accident, and your solicitor will gain access to their reports to prepare a claim for personal injury compensation.
Your priority must always be to focus on your health and get professional medical attention as soon as possible – either by attending the Accident and Emergency Department of the local hospital or by seeing your family GP as soon as possible for a precautionary check-up. Many symptoms of road traffic injuries (whiplash for example) may not manifest for several days – by which time you could have increased the level of damage.
Traffic Accident Compensation Solicitors
Traffic accident compensation solicitors are personal injury solicitors who specialise in dealing with the police, insurance investigators and any public body who may be partly liable for the injuries sustained in your traffic injury (for example a highway agency who has failed to keep the road in a safe condition).
Your solicitor can attend to dealing with the paperwork required to support an injury compensation claim following a traffic accident – a useful service if your injuries prevent you from dealing with the procedures yourself – advise you how long the process should take and how much traffic accident compensation you should receive.
This figure would include damages for the physical pain and suffering you have experienced, any psychological injury (as mentioned above), recompense for loss of earnings due to your traffic accident injury and any out of pocket expenses you experience in seeking medical treatment or due to a change in your lifestyle because of your injury (for example taking taxis when before you were able to drive).
Knowing how much traffic accident compensation you are entitled to will be of benefit to you should you be approached by the negligent party´s insurance company with an unsolicited offer of compensation. Although the temptation might be to accept the offer for a quick settlement, traffic accident compensation solicitors will ensure that your settlement is appropriate and takes into account every element of compensation you are entitled to.
No Win, No Fee Traffic Accident Injury Claims
No win, no fee traffic accident injury claims enable victims of traffic accidents to make an injury compensation claim following a traffic accident without having to worry about the cost of engaging traffic accident compensation solicitors. This contingency fee method of making a personal injury claims has enabled many claimants to obtain their rightful entitlement of compensation since the withdrawal of legal aid.
If you believe that you have suffered an injury in a road traffic accident that was caused by the negligence of another party or a failure in their duty of care, you should speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity to establish whether or not you qualify to make no win, no fee traffic accident injury claims. Your solicitor will be able to advise you of alternative options if a contingency fee arrangement is not available.