There are some events in our lives that occur through no fault of our own – we are walking or driving along, minding our own business, then, like a flash, we become involved in a car or pedestrian accident. There is no question that vehicular and road traffic accidents are more common than we think. Everybody we know has been involved in a traffic accident at some point: it could be a minor bump or graze to a vehicle (and some shattered nerves), or it could be a serious accident resulting in multiple injuries that may affect us for life.
In times like these, it is crucial to know our rights and what procedures we need to do in order to recover compensation for damages. Sadly, most of us are at a loss as to how to pursue a claim. The claims process in the UK is admittedly complicated, and this is why it is important to have a working knowledge of traffic laws and recovery of compensation.
Important points to remember when claiming RTA (Road Traffic Accident) compensation
There are different procedures for different road traffic accidents. If you have been involved in an accident and you were a victim in all respects, you are classified by a vehicle insurance company as a third party – and you are therefore liable for third party insurance.
But it is different for those who caused an accident entirely through their own fault. Some countries in Europe may have vehicle insurers who will pay for injuries, whether you are at fault or not. But in the UK, if an accident is entirely your fault, you may only get compensation for damage to your vehicle, and not for any physical injuries you may have sustained.
What you need to do in case you have become a victim of an RTA (road traffic accident) is pursue your claim against the driver of the vehicle, and not his or her insurance company. This responsibility rests on the driver – they will have to pass on your claim to their own insurance company themselves
The Motor Insurers Bureau: providing help in case of uninsured or untraced drivers
The good news when it comes to UK road traffic accident laws is this: even if the driver at fault is not insured or cannot be found, you can still pursue a claim. This typically applies to uninsured drivers who are driving a vehicle without a valid policy of motor insurance, a driver who gave you the wrong contact details (this is another reason why it is important for you to take the vehicle registration, make, and model, so a driver can still be traced even if they give you the wrong contact info), or a driver who did not stop after a traffic accident, also referred to as a hit and run driver. When pursuing a claim for the above, you can go to the Motor Insurers Bureau who will, after investigation, be able to pay your compensation.
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to keep a record of the driver’s vehicle or, with hit and run drivers, contact the police immediately so they can do a trace for you.
Tina is a freelance writer who has a keen interest in UK law and claim procedures. Tom regularly writes for legal advice blogs on topics such as how to benefit from road traffic accident compensation claims.