Road Accidents: An introduction to claiming compensation

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1 Road Accidents: An introduction to claiming compensation I was knocked from my bike by a driver towing a caravan Had the driver of the caravan taken more care and attention, the accident could have been avoided. Mr Harvey

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3 At what price is careless driving? Every 30 seconds, someone in the world is killed in a road accident (Source: Brake the road safety charity). Road accidents happen on a daily basis and the range and severity of injuries caused by road accidents is enormous. Some injuries can have a short term impact on day to day life and then heal permanently. Others can last for life. Whiplash injuries, for example, can heal relatively quickly. Or if they re still present after two years, are likely to be permanent. Some injuries take time to develop - and the expenses involved can escalate. Road accidents sometimes affect victim s families, too. It can be a very real struggle for family members to provide the care and support needed. Here is a brief guide to how Thompsons can help you pursue a claim. Experience Counts! Why you should use the most experienced injury law firm in Britain. Thompsons has been established over 90 years. We use that experience to ensure that clients get the right amount of compensation in every claim, which has resulted in several record settlements over the years. What s more, our clients keep the full 100% of any settlement - our fees are paid for by the other side. It costs absolutely nothing to talk to us about your own case and without obligation. Simply phone the number on the back cover.

4 I was raising money for Christina, the daughter of a friend who was tragically killed in a hit and run accident, and then became a victim of one myself Mr Harvey

5 Back in 2009 I was taking part in a charity cycle ride from John O Groats to Land s End when I was involved in a serious cycling accident. I was on the final leg of the long distance event, cycling across Bodmin Moor, when I was knocked from my bike by a driver towing a caravan. The driver drove off without stopping, but thankfully the driver behind pulled over to help me and dialled 999. Still unconscious, I was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where I was diagnosed with a bleed on the brain. I also suffered from pre and post-traumatic amnesia, and sustained injuries to my left hand and right shoulder. I m fully recovered from my physical injuries now, but I still have a few issues with my concentration and memory. I really want my accident to highlight the need for a serious change in the way cyclists are treated on the roads. Had the driver of the caravan taken more care and attention, the accident could have been avoided. I want my experience to remind fellow cyclists of the importance of using cycle helmets to prevent serious brain injury - there is no doubt that had I not been wearing my helmet, I would not be around today. I m retired now and am still a keen cyclist, getting out and about on my bike at least twice a week - I love it as it s the ideal way to keep fit in my old age. But people have to feel safe when they go out on their bikes. That's why cycle safety awareness is so important, for both cyclists and drivers. I was raising money for Christina, the daughter of a friend who was tragically killed in a hit and run accident, and then became a victim of one myself. The whole experience has been hugely upsetting for myself and my family, but I want to try to help others through what happened to me. I d like to thank my solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors for being hugely informative and professional, but also for being around to offer me advice and support. It granted me the peace of mind I needed to fully recover from my injuries and regain my fitness. When you re retired you no longer have the luxury of work colleagues to talk things through with, so I relied on that personal touch - everyone I dealt with was fantastically helpful.

6 My mam describes Thompsons as being Absolutely great - they can t do enough to help you! And I know she s recommended Thompsons to other people. Mark Mark was a passenger in car which skidded and went over a 70 foot drop and into a beck. He was paralysed from the neck down. Mark and his family, aware of the considerable costs they were facing for his care and rehabilitation, claimed compensation with Thompsons Solicitors. Today, Mark is moving on with his life, driven by his bravery and sheer determination.

7 Five important points for you to consider 1. Get the best evidence you can to help your claim To make a successful claim for compensation it has to be proved that someone else was to blame for your accident and the injuries you are suffering from. Obviously, the stronger your evidence the stronger your claim. You should try to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who was involved in your accident or witnessed it. People involved in accidents are often in shock and unable to do this, but you should report your accident to your local police station within 24 hours. You should also seek medical attention and treatment either at a hospital or from your local GP as soon as possible following your accident. Trauma can mask the pain of some injuries, such as whiplash - so make sure you are properly examined even if you feel ok. It may also be helpful if you have photographs of the location of the accident, or any photographs relevant to the accident or your injuries. 2. Timing can be vital You should seek legal advice as soon as possible - action needs to be started within three years of the date of the accident. There are exceptions, for example in relation to claims made by children. But it is always best to see a solicitor as soon as possible after the accident As far as Thompsons is concerned the more time you have in hand, the more thoroughly we can prepare your claim.

8 3. What if the driver wasn t insured or didn t stop? If you have been injured by someone who was uninsured, or who left the scene of the accident without stopping and giving their details, there are still ways we can help you. The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) is an organisation that helps members of the public who have been affected by uninsured or untraced drivers. We can contact the MIB on your behalf but, again, such accidents need to be reported within time limits so you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible. 4. How much compensation might be awarded? The circumstances of road accidents are often similar, but the effect on the individual is unique and this makes every compensation claim different. Compensation is awarded for pain, suffering and the inability to do things now that you could do before the accident. For example the inability to work, to drive, to shop, to play sport, to care for yourself. You are also entitled to recover any losses or expenditure you pay out as a result of your injuries. These include loss of income and the need to pay others to do things you could previously do yourself, and travel costs to and from your doctor s surgery and hospitals, and prescription charges. An experienced solicitor will claim for past and future losses and for any rehabilitation or care you might need. 5. What about state benefit claims? You may be entitled to disablement benefit and/or other State Benefits. Thompsons can advise you on this as, of course, can your local Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) office. Any such claims are made separately to your claim for compensation. The phone number of the DWP benefit enquiry freephone is at the back of this booklet, along with other helpful numbers.

9 My mother was...very, very happy with the settlement, too. She says she s Over the moon!. And all the more so because she gets to keep 100% of it! Michael Michael helped his mother Elsie with her accident claim. She was standing on the pavement when a car mounted the pavement and reversed into her, ripping skin from the back of her leg and trapping her foot.

10 There are many types of road accidents and it is important to seek prompt advice from a solicitor who understands your type of case. Pedestrians Pedestrians must be given the right of way by motorists. If you were hit by a car - even if it didn t stop - you may be able to make a claim. It is important that you report the accident to the police and seek medical attention. Your solicitor will investigate further with the police and with witnesses as part of your claim. Motorcyclists Motorcycles represent approximately 1% of the traffic on our roads in the UK but they account for 18% of all deaths and serious injuries. Motorcyclists are vulnerable drivers and a collision often leads to very serious injuries. A claim would be made against the responsible party s insurers - this might be the driver of a car who collided with you or perhaps a land owner if a road in poor condition caused the accident.

11 Passengers You may have been a passenger on public transport, in a taxi or in a private vehicle such as a car, van, bus or coach. Whether you were wearing your seatbelt will affect your claim. We will assess your case under no obligation and advise you on this. Drivers If you were the driver of a car your claim would be against the person who was responsible for the accident - perhaps another driver was driving without due care and collided with you. Cyclists Cycling can be good fun, great exercise and an enjoyable leisure activity. However cyclists are very vulnerable on the road and have little protection if they are involved in any type of collision. You should always seek medical attention after a cycling accident and If you have hit your head you should speak to a solicitor who specialises in head and brain injuries.

12 Thompsons were absolutely terrific! They explained exactly what would happen, all of which was completely new to me, and kept me informed all the way through. I knew what was happening at all times! Tracy I was driving a driver suddenly pulled out forcing me to swerve hard to the right to avoid him and we crashed into some railings with considerable impact. I briefly passed out. But I quickly regained consciousness The engine had caught fire, there was a lot of smoke and I even had trouble getting free of my seat belt. I was taken to casualty. Initially it was thought I had whiplash injuries - pain in my neck, ribs and all down one side. But with time the pain got worse, not better and I had a miserable and painful year. I couldn t drive any more, which I missed. Eventually, after scans, it was decided I needed an operation on my right shoulder and that was done three years ago. As a result I have been able to drive again.. But considerable pain remained and still does to this day. My union representative suggested I make a personal injury claim and put me in touch with Thompsons, who are solicitors who act for my union in such claims. Thompsons were absolutely terrific! They explained exactly what would happen, all of which was completely new to me, and kept me informed all the way through. I knew what was happening at all times! My claim solicitor knew I did shift work and was always really helpful about that, too, moving meeting times around to fit my shifts. My claim should have come to court in March of this year - but it was settled before that. I was glad not to have to appear in court and very happy with the settlement.

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14 How Thompsons can help you Thompsons is recognised by The Legal 500 as a leading personal injury law firm. We ve earned a formidable reputation for fighting hard for our clients to ensure the maximum compensation in the minimum time. Our specialist road accident teams have experience of winning cases big and small. We have files bulging with testimonials from clients more than satisfied with the service and settlements that they received, a few of whom have appeared in this booklet. Not one of them had to pay us anything. And being Thompsons clients, they all got 100% of the award achieved. If they were members of a Union their claims were usually supported by their union s legal scheme.

15 Useful contacts The Motor Insurance Bureau Department for Work and Pensions benefit enquiry line. Freephone Textphone ROSPA, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents SCARD - Support and Care After Road Death and Injury offers support to people affected by road death and injury Brake, the road safety charity For more information about making a claim, simply call Thompsons on

16 Thompsons Solicitors Offices North East Newcastle-upon-Tyne Middlesbrough South Shields Yorkshire Leeds Sheffield Midlands Birmingham Nottingham Stoke-on-Trent Derby Wolverhampton North West Liverpool Manchester Wales & South West Cardiff Bristol Plymouth Swansea South East London Southampton Chelmsford Dagenham Wimbledon Oxford Further Information Call us, without obligation, for free compensation claim advice on Or if you are in a union, ask your representative for advice. You can find out more information on our website at The information contained in this brochure is not a substitute for legal advice, and only applies in England and Wales. You should talk to a lawyer or adviser before making a decision about what to do. Thompsons Solicitors is a trading name of Thompsons Solicitors LLP and is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. March 2012

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