There can be few adults left in the country who have neither seen the adverts that pose the following question, nor been asked it on the phone by some of the less scrupulous types of claims company:
“Had an accident that wasn’t your fault?”
At first, it was a clever advertising slogan. Now it’s more often than not used in less than flattering terms by those who bemoan the numbers of adverts for claims companies or accident claims solicitors that appear on the TV or as adverts on social media.
It’s a pity that personal injury claims have got such a poor reputation, because the next question after you confirm that you have been involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, is an important one. That question is:
“Ok, so what are you going to do about it?”
We’ve put together a few ‘do’s and don’ts’. (For more detailed advice on the actual procedural aspects of making a claim see The Personal Injury Claims Process page of our website.)
1. You can do nothing – but we wouldn’t advise it!
If someone drives into the back of your car whilst you are stationary at traffic lights, and smashes up the rear end of your vehicle, it’s unlikely that you are just going to get out of your vehicle and say to the other driver:
‘That’s ok, don’t worry about it, my own insurance will pay, so off you go.’
You are going to want to take all the details you can of the ‘at fault’ driver – name, phone number and insurance details. Even if you do decide to get the repairs done by your own insurers, you will want to make damn certain that your insurance company claim back the cost of repairs from the other driver’s insurance company. You don’t want to lose your no-claims bonus, and end up paying more car insurance, after all!
What if the same thing happened but there was no discernible damage to your vehicle? It can happen with modern cars, even where the impact was a relatively heavy one?
However, you may have felt soreness in your neck and your shoulders after the collision happened, but you decide to do nothing? Perhaps that’s on the basis that you assume that the pain or severe aching (it’s called a whiplash injury) will soon settle down.
Equally, it may be that you don’t want to make a fuss. Nor do you want to jump on the compensation claim bandwagon, as you see it.
Several weeks later, you are still in pain, and your neck movements are restricted.
Still, you don’t claim.’ It’s nothing’, you say to yourself.
You are now having to make yourself believe that. On it goes, but by now your doggedness (let’s call it stubbornness) is preventing you from making a claim for injury.
Forgive us for saying this, but that’s nonsense! The word ‘whiplash’ has become a dirty word. We can thank the press, the insurance companies and the government for that.
Have you ever had a whiplash injury? (That’s meant as a genuine question, not as part of an advertising slogan!)
If you have, you’ll know that whiplash is painful, to say the least. At worst, it can be extremely debilitating. It interferes with every aspect of your life – driving, working, playing sport, sleeping or even when you are just trying to relax and watch TV. It’s no joking matter.
There are 4 grades to whiplash injuries with grade four classed as a serious injury to the neck and surrounding area, possibly involving fractures or dislocation. We’d say that constitutes a pretty serious injury.
If you suffer a whiplash injury as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, then we suggest you:
- Get it checked out by your GP or at A&E as soon as possible after the accident.
- Ensure whatever the severity of your whiplash injury is at the outset, you do make a claim for compensation against the other party’s (driver’s) insurance company. You are entitled to and however much you get you will deserve, for the way that this soft tissue injury affects your daily life for however long it lasts.
- Get a solicitor to start a personal injury claim for you, as soon as possible. By making the claim at an early stage, your solicitor will be able to arrange for the third party (at fault) driver’s insurance company, to arrange for you to have some physiotherapy sessions.
Insurers are usually only too pleased to do this, because if the physio sessions work, it may reduce the amount of compensation they will have to pay. For you it can lessen the length of time that you suffer the effects of the injury.
2. The other driver’s insurance company have just phoned me up and offered to settle my personal injury claim – should I let them?
They do have a habit of doing this. It can happen within a few days of your having an accident – before you’ve even decided whether to claim or not. They do it without seeing any medical evidence too.
The offer may seem generous – £1000 perhaps. How do you know if it is generous or not? How do they know if it is generous or not?
You don’t know, although their offer may be tempting to you. Most whiplash injuries or soft tissue injuries and certainly bone fracture injuries or scarring injuries will be worth more than £1000 in compensation. The insurers who make these offers, do know that. They are though just trying to dangle a proverbial carrot to you!
From the insurer’s point of view, if you settle your personal injury claim on the basis of what is known as a ‘pre-medical offer’ i.e., one made before any medical evidence has been obtained, they will save money both on the cost of having you properly medically examined and almost certainly on the amount of injury compensation they would have to pay you if you got an experienced personal injury solicitor to handle the injury claim for you!
Our advice – don’t settle on a pre-me’ offer from the insurers. It’s rarely going to be advantageous for you to do so. Instead, contact a specialist road traffic accident solicitor, like Mooneerams.
You can call us now on 029 2048 3615, for initial legal advice, without any commitment to take it further, unless you choose to.
3. Should I use a claims company to deal with my claim?
Claims companies fall into two main categories. They are either marketing companies who are good at marketing or they are credit hire companies. All claims companies now have to be authorised by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).
Whatever type of claims company you use, it is almost always going to be the case that your claim is sold to a solicitor to deal with on your behalf. You won’t be given a choice as to the solicitor that takes your case on. You won’t know how good they are until they start dealing with the accident claim for you. Remember though that first and foremost the appointed solicitor will be acting for you solely because your claim was sold to them for a fee.
Alternatively, the Third Party’s insurers may offer to appoint a solicitor to act for you. If you think it through, it will mean the insurers of the person that caused the accident in which you were injured, are offering to appoint a solicitor for you to deal with claim against those same insurers.
You may think that that doesn’t quite sound right. You’d probably be right to think so.
4. Why you should use an independent specialist car accident claim solicitor
Car accident compensation claims make up the majority of all personal injury claims that are made in the UK every year. Personal injury solicitors compete with each other ,with claims companies and somewhat bizarrely with insurance companies’ in-house solicitors, for those claims.
For you, the client or customer, the ‘noise’ can be bewildering. Everyone wants to deal with your personal injury compensation claim.
The very fact that there are so many compensation companies and solicitors who would like to handle your claim, means that you can be choosy.
Here’s our advice:
- Choose a specialist personal injury solicitor.
- Pick a firm of solicitors that specialise in car accident claims, road traffic accident claims generally or whiplash injury claims – preferably one that has expertise in all of these areas of law.
- Take it one step further and seek out a firm that only deals with personal injury claims.
- Some people prefer to ask a personal injury solicitor that only deals with claimant personal injury cases to act for them. By that, we mean a solicitor that doesn’t act for insurance companies.
There aren’t that many around, but Mooneerams solicitors tick all the right boxes. Ever since the firm started up in 2002, we have only ever been a personal injury firm and one that acts solely for claimants, never for insurance companies. We only do personal injury claims. We are specialist personal injury solicitors.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or wish to pursue any other type of road traffic accident claim, look no further. Call Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 or leave your contact information on our Contact Us page and we’ll get straight back to you. In most cases, No Win, No Fee will be available.