If you have been involved in any road or car accident in Birmingham, get in touch with our highly experienced team and we will put you in touch with our network of specialist car accident claim solicitors to find out if you are entitled to any compensation.
Driving is a necessity for many people. Unfortunately driving on the roads exposes people to the risk of suffering an accident. Road traffic accidents can be a traumatic experience for road users. Injuries sustained from road traffic accidents range from whiplash and mild joint pain to more serious injuries which can be fatal.
What kind of claim is being made?
There is a process for dealing with these kinds of accident claims, which can at times be confusing. It is important to understand that there is a difference between bringing a civil or personal injury claim for a road traffic accident, and bringing a criminal claim. Importantly most individuals will be able to bring a PI claim independently. However criminal offences cannot be pursued by private individuals, and will be dealt with by the police.
In the UK road traffic crimes include (i) driving dangerously: (ii) driving without due care and attention and (iii) to cause death by dangerous driving, amongst others. While these are road traffic accidents, only the police can deal with them.
Bringing a claim in a road accident for personal injury is different. It is a civil claim, not a criminal claim and because of this is dealt with under different rules. An individual who is injured in a road accident will need to prove certain criteria, in attempting to make a personal injury claim:
1. They will need to demonstrate that they were owed a duty of care; and
2. They will need to demonstrate that the duty of care owed was breached.
What is a ‘Duty of care’?
In the UK as a matter of law, road users are required to take reasonable care when using the roads. This means that they are not to do anything, or to avoid doing anything that they can reasonably foresee as likely to cause someone else to suffer harm. It is important to understand that a road user is not required to be able to point to the particular point in time that they cause injury to someone else. A road user must be able to see that generally their using the road, or not using the road in a particular way could cause someone to suffer an injury.
Road users are required to be very careful when on the road. Specifically, a road user is expected, by law, to drive with ordinary care and skill. This is their ‘duty of care’ to drive with the same standard of care and skill as the average or ordinary driver. Furthermore it is important to note that road users owe this duty of care not only to other road users, but also to passengers in their vehicles and pedestrians on the street.
When is the duty of care breached?
Demonstrating that a road user had breached their duty of care, means demonstrating that they were not driving with the as mentioned earlier, an ordinary level of care and skill. As a result they were negligent: they were meant to conduct themselves in a certain way on the roads, and failed to do so.
The way to show that a road user was negligent in a PI claim will depend on the circumstances of the case. However one common method of demonstrating negligence is to show that a road user failed to observe the terms of the Highway Code. As one of the most well-known body of rules for driving on the roads, it can be very helpful in making a claim and your personal injury solicitor will be able to use this information effectively.
Will there be any compensation?
Provided that it can be shown how a road user owed, and failed to observe their duty of care, the next stage in the process is dealing with the issue of compensation. UK law requires that all road vehicles have ‘third party insurance’ in place. This is a special kind of insurance designed to provide financial compensation because of a road accident the road user caused.
The level of compensation to be issued will always depend on the facts of a case. The ‘third party insurance’ will normally cover the cost of repairing a damaged vehicle. Alternatively if a vehicle is damaged beyond repair, the compensation issued will normally be the vehicle’s value.
Remember the details.
Personal Injury claims by their very nature can be very complex. Accidents on the roads whether they are car or motorcycle accidents are no less so, and individuals should try to document every aspect of an accident. This will help in attempting to pursue a PI claim. Points to remember regarding a PI claim for a road accident include:
1. What was the accident?
2. What happened to cause the accident?
3. What damage was suffered to the vehicle?
4. Was any damage suffered to an individual(s)?
5. Is there any evidence to support this e.g. hospital records, photographs?
All of these details should be given to a No Win No Fee solicitor * with experience in advising on Personal Injury claims following accidents on the roads. This will help in deciding on whether or not to pursue a claim, and what level of compensation is to be expected.
* other costs could be payable