Know Your Legal Rights: Car Crashes

4 years ago

Most people are familiar with the laws on motoring in the UK. Cars of a certain age must pass an MOT test every year, while vehicle owners are required to pay Road Tax and purchase suitable insurance. Drivers must also pass theoretical and practical driving examinations before they are legally entitled to drive on the road by themselves, while novice and experienced motorists alike must abide by other laws, such as driving to the posted speed limit. Unfortunately, many people violate the laws on motoring. Some drivers routinely speed through urbanised areas, while others are guilty of drink-driving, failing to purchase insurance or some other offence. Many driving-related violations are criminal offences, but simple accidents account for the majority of injuries among road users. What to Do After a Car Accident A typically provides help for people who are being prosecuted by the state, but those who have been injured as a result of a car accident will need to consult with a solicitor who specialises in civil claims. All road users have certain legal rights that aim to protect them from suffering harm on the road; more accurately, the law provides remedies for those who have suffered injury or illness as a result of somebody else`s negligence. The key term here is negligence. Accidents can happen without negligence being a factor, in which case an injured party can lodge a no-fault claim with his insurer. If negligence is a factor, an accident victim who suffers physical or psychological injury can make a claim for compensation. The important steps to remember after experiencing a car accident should not involve negligence, of course, as it is usually imperative to ensure that everyone involved is unharmed. Sometimes the emergency services are summoned to accidents to assist those who have been injured. Police will also become involved in many cases. Other points to consider after an accident include obtaining the details of all those involved and anyone who witnessed the incident or stopped to provide help. Such details include, if possible, the name, address and insurer of any other driver. Vehicle registration plates should be logged. Noting the time and date of the accident can be helpful, while information pertaining to weather, traffic, speed and road conditions can provide assistance in some cases. Obvious signs of vehicle damage and physical injury should be noted too (photographs are useful). Discussing liability with a third party immediately after an accident is invariably unhelpful, but witness statements, police reports and medical records can be used as evidence to support a claim. Under Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, drivers have a duty to stop, report [an] accident and give information or documents if personal injury or damage is caused. Compensation A standard insurance policy will usually require the insured to contact his insurer after an accident, but there is no obligation to make a claim. Accident victims have a right to contact independent solicitors for professional legal advice. If an injury develops from an accident, personal injury solicitors are useful for establishing whether there are sufficient grounds to claim compensation. As noted above, negligence must be established for a civil claim to succeed in court. If negligence is found to have been the cause of an accident that resulted in injury, compensation can be awarded to the claimant.

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