If you are involved in a road traffic accident, you are likely to want to claim compensation for the personal injury or loss or damage caused to your car or other property. Even if you do not intend to make a claim, your insurers are certain to require that the accident is reported to them.
Although it is never something to admit at the scene, the accident might have been your fault. In that case, if you have only third party, or third party, fire and theft insurance, you have no basis for an insurance claim for your injuries or for damage to your vehicle. If you have comprehensive insurance, you may make a claim for the accidental damage caused and, if the insurance also covers personal injury, claim for that too.
If the accident was not your fault, however, and whatever level of insurance you hold, you are entitled to compensation for personal injury or damage to your car or other property. If you have only third party cover, however, you need to pursue the claim against the responsible party on your own initiative.
If you are the owner of property damaged by another vehicle – which has demolished your garden fence, for example – you are still entitled to compensation whether or not it was covered by your home insurance.
Making a claim
The Citizens’ Advice Bureau suggests the information about the accident which you need to gather at the scene and subsequently before asking for your insurers for a claims form. The form itself is likely to suggest the nature and extent of the information required by your insurers, but if you bought the policy through an insurance broker, help is frequently available from this source too.
The principal objective of your road traffic accident report and claims form – or the claim you might be pursuing on your own initiative – is to establish liability for the accident and the injury, loss or damage resulting from it. You are entitled to compensation from those responsible and that is the basis for your claim.
Clearly, the extent to which you are able to support your allegations of their liability – and therefore your right to compensation – is determined by the information you have been able to gather about the accident.
Even with the benefit of motor insurers’ experience and knowledge of injury, loss and damage arising from road traffic accidents, it is by no means certain that agreement will be reached on the question of liability – especially where a claim includes physical and psychological injury.
That is when your insurers may instruct solicitors to act on your behalf. Whether or not this is the action taken by your insurers, however, you may still choose to instruct your own specialist legal advisers.
In the latter case, of course, your solicitor’s first and only concern is the pursuit of your interests and an attempt to secure from the responsible party or parties full and fair compensation for any injury, loss or damage you suffered as a result of their actions or failure to act.
The amount of that compensation, of course, depends on the nature and extent of the injuries you sustained and the losses and damage you suffered – the calculation of which might again call for the expertise and experience of professional legal advice.