Everything you need to know about claiming compensation for a car accident

Accidents on the road are pretty frequent, so, unfortunately, it is necessary to know what to do in case of a car accident - even more so if you need to claim compensation for personal injury.

Accidents on the road are pretty frequent, so, unfortunately, it is necessary to know what to do in case of a car accident - even more so if you need to claim compensation for personal injury. Numbers from 2019 show that in Great Britain, there were almost 16,000 car accidents while commuting.

This number is quite alarming, and it is vital to be prepared in case of an emergency, as unsettling as it might sound. Many individuals who have been victims of a collision in traffic were eligible to file a compensation claim but were unaware of how it works and whether their case is a winning one. To avoid this, the following article will answer your most frequently asked questions.

This way, in the unfortunate event of an accident where either you or a person whom you know suffers from a personal injury, you will have the necessary information.

In what situation can I claim compensation for a car accident?

First and foremost, it is crucial to know when you can claim compensation if you are involved in a car accident. Legally, you are entitled to compensation if someone else has caused the accident. In this case, given that another person is at fault, it doesn't matter if you are a driver, pedestrian or another passenger. You can claim compensation if you have been a victim of negligence or irresponsible driving.

Therefore, to be eligible for personal injury compensation, the following will need to apply:

  • Another person was responsible for the accident;
  • No more than three years have passed since the accident (although this might differ in some cases).

It is within your rights to claim compensation, given that you were a victim of negligence and are left with medical bills. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be unable to work for a while, which means you will suffer from financial losses.

What if I was also responsible for the accident?

It might be the case that the other party wasn't entirely to blame for the accident. In this case, if you share the responsibility of the collision, the situation and eligibility for compensation changes. When car accidents happen, it isn't uncommon to find difficulties deciding who caused the crash. But if it is determined that both you and the other person were responsible for it, you might want to know that you could still claim compensation.

Split liability applies when the court decides that both parties are equally to blame for causing the accident. In such a case, when you file a personal injury claim, you might be awarded just a percentage of compensation. This is dependent on how responsible you are for the collision and the injuries caused.

How much compensation can I claim?

The amount of compensation you can get if you file a claim for personal injury will depend on various aspects. There aren't fixed amounts but rather estimations that can either increase or decrease. If you would like to see a close estimate in your situation, you could use an online compensation calculator, such as from UK Law specialists.

To gain a better understanding of how compensation is calculated, the following two factors are taken into consideration by specialists:

  • The extent and severity of your injury and damage;
  • The financial losses and expenses as a consequence of the accident.

A compensation lawyer will factor in all the different ways in which the car accident is currently affecting your life and how long you will have to live with the consequences – whether they are financial or medical. Depending on how serious the circumstances are and severe is the case – such as disability – you could get up to £350,000. On the other hand, for a minor injury, you could get from £5,000 to £10,000. For this reason, it is a challenge to find out the exact amount without contacting a compensation lawyer. Nevertheless, online calculators can give you a proper estimation to get an idea of the amount of compensation you are entitled to.

For what type of damage can I claim compensation?

When you have been a victim of a car accident and are entitled to claim compensation for personal injury, the amount of money that you receive is subject to two types of damages – general and special. It is vital to know what each means to understand better how your compensation is calculated and awarded.

General Damages

This represents a significant challenge, given that money awarded for general damages have to compensate for pain, suffering and loss of amenity or PSLA. This matter is highly subjective, and it is quite difficult to calculate accurately and precisely. For this reason, when it comes to general damages, the compensation is awarded depending on how severe the injuries are and how long are the negative effects on the victim's life. Among the most encountered cases of general damages there are:

  • Physical pain due to injuries or impairment;
  • Mental pain and development of specific disorders, such as PTSD;
  • Low quality of life and loss of employment or finding another job.

Special Damages

The financial losses and the unexpected expenses that occur due to a car accident represent the special damages considered when claiming compensation. The amount of money awarded is meant to help the victim cover any costs resulting from the defendant's behaviour, given that the claimant might also be in the impossibility to continue working. Examples of such damages include:

  • Any medical expenses: both short-term and long-term, meaning that this includes hospitalisation, rehabilitation and treatment costs;
  • Transportation whenever the victim has to travel to the hospital and back;
  • Loss of earnings: current and future;
  • Home and car adaptation expenses: in case the victim has suffered from a severe injury that has caused a disability.

Compared to general damages, special damages are easier to take into consideration. Given that actual expenses are analysed, the situation is not subjective, and the compensation can be clearly calculated.

How much longer can I wait until I claim compensation?

In general, if you want to claim compensation, the maximum period is three years from the moment you have been involved in the accident that has caused you injury. However, depending on the case, a court might extend this limit and allow you to file a compensation claim. A noteworthy mention would be that, in case you realise the seriousness of the injury later, the date of discovery, as it is called, will become the starting point for the compensation time period.

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