The Complete Guide To Road Traffic Accidents

Road traffic accidents happen on a daily basis. If you have been hurt in a car accident, you may be wondering whether you are entitled to compensation. In this guide, you will discover everything you need to know about these sorts of claims.

If you have no experience with personal injury claims, the whole thing can feel a bit overwhelming and complex. However, there is a simple formula for determining whether you have the basis for a strong case. Therefore, read on to discover the three-step process.

Do you have a claim?

Step one – Establishing responsibility
The first step involves establishing who was to blame for the accident. This is vital because in order to be entitled to compensation you need to show that someone else caused your injuries, either through making an error or acting negligently. If you caused the car crash, then you certainly won’t be able to claim. What if you were partially to blame? It is probable that you will be entitled to compensation, yet you do need to be aware of the fact that the amount will be a lot lower to reflect your involvement. So, if someone else caused the incident you were involved in, move onto step two.

Step two – Seeing a doctor
If you want to have any chance of securing compensation, you need to get professional medical attention. No one will take on your case if you have not seen a doctor, as you will not be able to prove that you were injured to begin with. Thus, even if you have only suffered minor whiplash from the car accident, make sure you take a trip to the hospital. The medical report that is put together is then used to determine how much money you will receive, so it is exceptionally important. Have you seen a doctor? Great, move onto the final step.

Step three – Passing the deadline
Last but not least, you need to make sure that you have not missed the deadline. There is a three-year time limit and therefore, in order to claim, the car accident you were involved in must have occurred within the past three years. These rules are very strict. If you have exceptional circumstances, which you believe could qualify you for an extension on the deadline, call an accident attorney to discuss this in further detail and to find out if you could still make a claim.

Some of the important steps you will need to take

See a doctor – Your health is, of course, the most vital concern, and thus it is vital to get medical attention. Even if you don’t feel like you have been too hurt, you are advised to see a doctor, as whiplash is a common injury that arises because of car crashes, and this is an injury that takes a while to show itself. You also need to see a medical professional if you are to make a compensation claim.

Get the contact details of the person that caused the incident – If you have been involved in a hit and run, this will obviously not be possible. Otherwise, however, make sure you get the individuals basic contact information, details of their insurer, and jot down a few details about their car, i.e. the registration number, make, and model.

Take photographs – Take photographs of the scene and any other applicable images, such as your injuries or damage to your vehicle.

Get the contact information of any witnesses – A great way to build a strong case is to get witness accounts of what occurred. Therefore, if anyone saw the accident, you should get his or her contact details.

Keep receipts and additional proof of expenses – Last but not least, make sure you hold onto any proof of the costs you have incurred because of the incident and your injuries, such as vehicle repair costs, loss of income, and medical expenses.

Some of the most FAQ about these claims

Will I have to go to court? More often than not, this is the main thing that people are worried about, and rightly so. No one willingly wants to go through the hassle of a trial. However, the good news is that it is extremely unlikely that you will have to. In fact, fewer than three per cent of personal injury cases end up going to court, and this is because it is in the interest of both parties to wrap things up smoothly and quickly.

How long do I have to make a claim? You have three years from the date of the accident. This is vital because the time limits on personal injury cases are very strict. Thus, there is no time to waste, and you will find it a lot easier to claim the sooner you do so as well.

How much compensation will I be entitled to? Unfortunately, it is impossible to give you a definitive answer to this without knowing the ins and outs of your case, but you can give a legal professional a call and he or she will give you a realistic estimate of the sort of payout you could receive.

What can I claim for? You are probably already aware of the fact that you can claim for your injuries and your suffering, but did you know that you can also claim for any costs you have incurred as well? This includes everything from travel costs and prescription expenses to loss of income and child care expenses. However, please note that you are going to need receipts and other proof in order to claim for these.

Mistakes made when claiming after a car crash

If you have been injured in a car crash, which was caused by someone else, you will likely be entitled to compensation. However, to ensure you get the full amount you deserve you need to handle the case in the correct manner. In this section, we are going to talk you through some of the common mistakes that are made when claiming after a car crash…

Failing to see a doctor – If you do not see a medical professional, you are going to have no chance of making a claim. This is because your doctor will provide you with a medical report, and this serves as the most crucial piece of evidence in any case. Without it, there will be no proof of your injuries.

Hiring a solicitor that charges by the hour – If you go down this route, there is every chance that you are going to get a nasty surprise when the bill comes. Not only this, but it is a risky approach to take. After all, there is always the possibility that you are going to spend a large sum of money on this service only for your case then to be unsuccessful. Instead, you should use the services of a No Win, No Fee solicitor. By doing this, you will only need to pay legal fees if your case is a success.

Taking too long to make a claim – While you have three years to make a claim, it is not advisable to wait around. You will only find it harder to make a claim because it will be more difficult to gather key evidence, such as witness statements. After all, your witnesses may have changed their telephone number or moved home, or they may simply not remember the event very well.

Failing to keep a hold of receipts and other relevant expense documents – If you throw away your hospital parking tickets and prescription receipts, you won’t be able to claim for them as special damages.

Bicycle Accident

Bicycle accidents do happen and a significant factor in most fatal bike accidents is the cyclist’s age. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatality rate of bicycle accidents was eight times higher for men than in women in 2017. Children under 15 years old accounted for 7 percent of all cyclists killed.

Here are the good-to-know facts about bicycle accident:

  • Who Is Responsible for the Damages? The at-fault or negligent party may be responsible for the damages, such as the vehicle driver, the manufacturer or seller of the bike or vehicle, the bicycle repair shop, the owner of the vehicle, and a governmental entity (responsible for road maintenance) where the accident happened. 
  • Can Someone Sue If the Cyclist Isn’t Properly Riding? A cyclist who was not properly riding the bicycle can still sue the driver, but with a reduced claim. Consult a bicycle accident lawyer to help you seek compensation for your injuries and other damages is highly advised.
  • How Soon Should You Contact a Lawyer? Make sure to prioritize seeking proper medical care. After this, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 
  • Should You Talk to the Insurance Company? Consult an experienced bicycle accident first before speaking with an adjuster because there’s a risk of minimizing your payout. 

Let the lawyer talk to the insurance company. It will avoid any misunderstanding and recorded conversation that can be used against you to nullify or void your claim.


With the information shared with you in this article, you are now more aware and informed of the basic things you need to do when faced with a road traffic accident. Above anything else, you should seek prompt medical attention, even if you think that your injuries are just minor. 

Substantial evidence, like a medical certificate, is essential to prove your claim. It’s crucial to be prepared for the worse by talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.