Road Traffic Accident Q’s and A’s

Neil McGranaghan

Are there any time limits on making a road traffic accident claim? 

 The time limit or limitation period is 3 years from the date of accident but we would advise beginning the claim at the earliest opportunity.

Does it make any difference if you have fully recovered physically? 

You can still make a claim if you are fully recovered but will still need to be examined by an independent medical expert.

It is always best to speak to us at the earliest possible opportunity so that we can gather a comprehensive overview of how your injuries have impacted your day-to-day routine. 

How do you support clients who are making a road traffic accident claim? 

We obtain and collate all the evidence required for the claim and can deal with your insurer so you don’t have to. Bringing a claim can be a complicated and stressful process. We support our clients by dealing with any stress that may arise during the claim either from gathering evidence, fighting a liability dispute and recovering any out of pocket expenses. This means our clients can focus on their recovery.

Can you arrange for repairs to be carried out to my vehicle?

Yes, we can arrange for the accident to be kept away from your insurance thus ensuring that your premium is unaffected by the accident.

How long will it take to resolve my claim? 

In a straightforward case, where liability is accepted by the Defendant and you recover from your injuries quickly, resolving your claim may only take a matter of months. In other cases, delays are caused by the need to fully explore a client’s injuries, evidence not being available immediately, witness availability or Court availability. Boyd Rice Solicitors have a long-standing reputation for progressing cases quickly and our average case takes 6-9 months to bring to conclusion.

Do you have to be the driver of a car to make a road traffic accident claim? 

No, any person in the vehicle at the time can make a claim for any injuries they may have sustained. You do not have to be a driver of a car to make a road traffic accident claim. It can also be made by other road users such as pedestrians, passengers, cyclists and bikers as they are all owed a duty of care by other road users.

A claim can also be made on behalf of a Claimant under the age of 18 by their litigation friend. This is normally their parent who takes over conduct of the claim on the minor’s behalf.

Are there different processes for different types of road traffic accident claims? 

The claim process depends on whether the Defendant is insured. In the vast majority of cases the third party is insured. A claim is progressed through their insurance company. If Court proceedings are issued the Insurance Company nominates a Solicitor to defend the claim on their behalf.

If the claim is pursued against an uninsured Defendant, it is usually dealt with by a Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which settles the matter in absence of an insurance company.

A similar scenario applies when the Defendant who caused the accident cannot be traced. The MIB would deal with such claim under an Untraced Drivers’ Agreement. It is important to note that such accident must always be reported to the police within 14 days.

There are also different processes for accidents abroad.

Can you act on my behalf if I have been involved in a road traffic accident abroad? 

Yes, as long as you reside in Northern Ireland we can progress the claim on your behalf under the provisions of Rome 2. These are complicated claims and we recommend that advice is sought at the earliest possible opportunity. If you have a road traffic accident abroad the limitation period is subject to the Law in that Country and on that basis you should speak to us right away. For further information please consult the accident abroad section of our website;

https://www.boydricesolicitors.com/personal-injury/accidents-abroad/

Explain the standard process of making a road traffic accident claim. 

We will take details in relation to the accident, your injuries and any ongoing symptoms

The first thing we will do after gathering the relevant information is notify the insurers of the claim and wait to see if they admit fault.

The next step is to arrange a medical examination with a medical expert (who specialises in the types of injuries that you are suffering from) in order to confirm injuries resulting from the accident. We will then consider your out of pocket expenses such as lost earnings and vehicle repairs. Once this has been done we will attempt to settle matters.

If liability is disputed by the third party insurer it may be necessary to issue Court proceedings to further your claim. In those circumstances the Court would timetable your matter culminating in a Hearing where you would be required to give evidence.

The other driver’s insurance company has contacted me following my accident and offered me money should I take it?

Without representation you would be up against an insurer who has a wealth of experience in defending claims and may offer you a sum which under compensates you. In our experience, you will receive a greater level of compensation by progressing your claim through us. 

How much is my case worth? 

The amount that you are awarded in respect of your injuries is based on a medical report outlining the extent of the injury caused. Compensation or “damages” will be paid for both physical and mental injury (both must be backed up by medical evidence). Damages are assessed on a case by case basis although with reference to previous awards in similar cases. Time off work, medical treatment and the impact of the injury on work, sport and hobbies will also be considered.

Out of pocket expenses that are reasonably incurred eg. The cost of private physiotherapy, your insurance excess or loss of earnings can all be recovered on your behalf.

Will I have to go to Court?

We will instigate Court proceedings on your behalf if the other driver disputes liability or if negotiations with the other driver’s insurer prove unsuccessful. If there are no liability issues your case is likely to resolve before the Court Hearing date meaning that you will not have to attend Court.