Road Traffic Accident Claims
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Road Traffic Accident Claims
A road traffic accident is defined in the Road Traffic Act 1999 as:
“an accident resulting in bodily injury to any person caused by, or arising out of, the use of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place in England and Wales unless the injury was caused wholly or in part by a breach by the defendant of one or more of the relevant statutory provisions 1 as defined by section 53 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974;”
Can you claim compensation for a road traffic accident (RTA)?
If you have been injured in an RTA, it must be established that your injury was caused by the accident. It must also be shown that the other side, the Defendant, can be held accountable for the accident.
The Courts recognise that all “road users” owe a duty of care to each other by default. This includes drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. As such, it is very likely that the Defendant in a road traffic accident claim can be held responsible for your injuries.
Road accidents on motorways
Road safety rules are set out in the Highway Code that specifically apply to motorways. These rules are intended to reduce accidents on motorways and govern aspects of motorway use including speed limits, safe distances between vehicles, breaking down on the motorway, slow-moving traffic, poor weather conditions, overtaking and emergencies.
The Courts will consider the Defendant’s conduct with respect to these rules. Evidence such as witness statements may be more difficult to obtain following a motorway accident. In the case of motorway accidents involving trucks, a device called a tachogram will have been installed on the truck to record speed, distance travelled against time and breaks.
You solicitor will be able to advise further regarding the collection of appropriate evidence for a motorway accident claim.
Types of road accident claims
The most common road traffic accidents include those where both the claimant and defendant were driving cars. As both vehicles must carry motor insurance, the two sides’ insurance companies would usually prefer to negotiate a settlement between them. It is strongly recommended that a claimant seek formal legal advice from a solicitor before accepting any such offer.
It is possible to claim as a passenger in a road accident. An innocent passenger is generally entitled to claim for their injuries regardless of whether they were travelling in the car that caused the accident or another vehicle.
Whiplash injuries are common following even relatively minor car accidents. Compensation for whiplash is often needed by an injured driver or passenger in order to pay for necessary physiotherapy. Left untreated, soft tissue injuries like whiplash can result in long-term and permanent symptoms.
Although cycling accidents are less common than car accidents, the injuries sustained by a cyclist injured on the road can be much more serious and varied. Proving liability can also be more complex, but it may still be possible to claim even if an injured cyclist was cycling illegally
Like bicycle accident claims, motorcycle injury claims are rarer but often much more serious. Motorcycle-related injuries can often be catastrophic, requiring significant and ongoing care. A specialist solicitor will work to ensure compensation is an accurate reflection of past, current and future care costs, in addition to an award for general damages.
Pedestrians are frequently the victim of hit-a-run accidents, and this can make claiming compensation more complex. Injuries are often much more severe than those of a car driver or passenger.