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Questions & Answers
I have had a number of previous road traffic accidents. Is this a problem?
No it is not a problem provided that you make full and frank disclosure to the Consultant of any previous accidents so that he can judge the actual effect of the current accident on your body. Insurance companies keep a register of all previous accidents but even if you are still suffering from the affect of one accident, the second may well affect the severity of those symptoms or their duration and therefore you could claim compensation for that.
What way does it work if I have two accidents in close succession?
Most often one report will be repaid by the Medical Legal Consultant dealing with the overall position created by both accidents and discussing the cycle of pain and suffering caused by each. In our experience the best system and fairest way of gaining compensation for you in these cases is to put both insurance companies of the respective negligent drivers together so that an overall figure for compensation can be agreed and they will usually agree to pay half of this each although sometimes the percentage changes if there is a large difference in the severity of the two accidents.
How much does it cost me to bring a claim for compensation arising out of an accident?
If you are successful in your claim the insurance company that compensates you must also pay your legal costs separately in addition to the money you receive.
My children were involved in the accident, can they make a claim?
Children ie: anyone under eighteen is entitled to make a claim but they have to do so through a next friend usually a parent. The parent has to decide if the compensation offered to the child is satisfactory and if so the figure then has to be further approved by a judge at a private hearing (the child must be present but doesn’t have to give evidence). If the judge approves the figure then the money is invested by court funds until the child reaches the age of eighteen.
Can I claim for any damaged items in the accident?
Quite often property carried in the boot will be damaged in a rear impact or loose items in the car such as phones, sunglasses etc can be damaged. Provided that you retain the damaged items and obtain quotes for replacement, this can be claimed on your behalf.
I feel anxious when I am the driver or a passenger in a car since my accident?
You are entitled to be compensated for travel anxiety, adjustment disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks and other psychological and psychiatric consequences of being involved in an accident if they are deemed to have been caused by the accident. We use Consultant Psychiatrists who have expertise in dealing with the stress and anxiety that road traffic accident can cause.
I already have a bad back or neck. Can I still claim following a road traffic accident?
Yes if you find that your symptoms have deteriorated as a result of the accident then you can claim compensation. Medical-Legal Consultants that we use will ask you for your previous history and they can guage the extent to which the accident has affected your previous condition.
I told the other driver that I felt OK after the accident happened but now a day or two later I am feeling pain. Can I still claim?
Yes. Some people suffer immediate pain, others develop pain over 24-72 hours later. With regard to back complaints, Consultants would even say that these can develop up to 7-14 days post accident. However any symptoms that only develop more than a couple of weeks after the accident for the first time are unlikely to be direct result of the accident.
I was injured in a road traffic accident or an accident at work and I feel that the hospital could have made a better job at treating me. Where do I stand?
If the hospital has merely delayed treatment but ultimately made it no difference to the long term prognosis then your claim remains against the negligent driver of the other car or a negligent employer if it was an accident at work and there is no need to complicate matters by involving a health trust. If however your long term prognosis has been fundamentally altered by a failure in your medical treatment then that would constitute a potential separate claim. Their negligence has to be very significant to over ride the negligence of the person who caused the injury in the first place.
The seat belt caught me around my chest area and since then I have had pain even though the bruising has settled down. Can this be related to the accident?
We have Medical-Legal Thoracic Surgeons who deal with issues that arise from injuries around the chest and thorax. One can often develop damage around the rib cage as a result of significant seat belt restraint compression injuries.
I was injured in the accident and my spouse had to take time off work to help care for me. Can they claim for their wage loss?
You can claim for the nursing care that they provided to you which will often be the equivalent or indeed more than they may have lost in wages this is are part of your claim rather than a separate claim by them for their wage loss.
I am a lady who was involved in an accident. The seat belt caught me across my breast and I have now noticed that I have developed a lump and I am concerned?
We would always suggest that you go to your GP immediately. However in addition we do have Consultant breast surgeons who will check out the lump. In almost all cases it turns out to be a result of the seat belt restraint injury having being so severe that the tissue in the area of the breast has died and hardened into a lump. This is compensatable both with regard to the lump that results and indeed the worry and anxiety caused by finding such a lump and worrying that it might be something more sinister.
My GP feels that as a result of the accident I should have an MRI scan but there is a six month waiting list?
We arrange private MRI scans where it is recommended by the medical legal consultant as being an appropriate way of determining the injury you have suffered and these scans can usually be carried out within 3-6 weeks. We pay for these scans and then recover the cost from the other side at the successful conclusion of your case.
I have felt a ringing in my ears since my road traffic accident. Could this be related?
Tinnitus is a known phenomenon arising from significant road traffic accidents and we have ENT Consultants who can provide us with Medical-Legal Reports dealing with this distressing symptom.
Can eye sight problems arise following an accident?
Serious road traffic accidents can cause retina problems and we have Ophthalmologists who provide medical legal reports dealing with any concerns in that regard.
Since the accident I have suffered some pins and needles. What can this be?
This can be Parathesia which results from the soft tissue damage round the nerves although if symptoms persist we would use Medical-Legal Neurologists to check the extent and level of damage to the peripheral nerves to ensure you do not suffer long term symptoms.
I suffer from fibromyalgia. Does this mean that I can’t claim compensation following the accident?
Fibromyalgia sufferers often find that the accident has a detrimental effect on their symptoms. The vulnerability that comes from being a fibromyalgia sufferer often means that the extent and duration of symptoms can be significant.
I was pregnant when the accident happened and i am worried. What effect does this have?
You must immediately seek to have a scan for reassurance sake but even if the news is reassuring we understand that there is always a residual concern in the back of any mothers mind and this can be taken into account when seeking compensation on the basis you have suffered an additional stress and anxiety.
The airbag caused a burn to my wrist. Can I claim compensation for this?
Yes we have Medical-Legal plastic Surgeons who deal with any cuts, burns or other disfigurement arising from a road traffic accident or any other type of accident.
I am concerned that the hospital didn’t x-ray me and my GP seems reluctant to arrange an x-ray. What should I do?
If out Medical-Legal Consultant feels that an x-ray would be appropriate in light of your symptoms then that can be arranged for you as part of the legal process. It is important to understand the full picture before committing yourself to full settlement.
My vehicle has been involved in an accident. Won’t it be worth less now?
It is recognised that if a vehicle is less than four years old when it is involved in an accident that it will suffer depreciation as a result. The diminution in value is calculated by a combination of the amount of repair cost and the pre accident value of the vehicle. We utilise independent engineers to calculate this figure. The courts and insurance companies no longer feel that motor traders are a reliable guide to depreciation because there are so many variables when there calculating a value for trade in purposes. Occasionally if the damage is very light or involves bolt on bolt off parts, depreciation may not be considered appropriate.
My vehicle has been written off in the accident but I had just put it through the MOT and put new tyres on it. Can I claim for this?
Unfortunately a vehicle is always valued on the basis that it is road worthy and therefore you won’t get any enhanced value even though you haven’t had any use out of these new tyres through no fault of your own.
I was provided with a hire car following the accident but I had to change over insurance onto the hire car and my insurance broker charged me an additional insurance premium to do so. Can I claim this?
Yes you can claim the cost of changing over the insurance week by week to cover the replacement hire vehicle and your broker should automatically provide you with receipts which we can use to recover the money.
My car seats were in the car when my vehicle was crashed into. Should I replace them?
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) recommends that even if there is no visible damage to your car seats that you replace them as a precaution. Therefore you are entitled to the cost of replacing the car seats.
My car was hit from behind and pushed into the car in front of me. Will my insurance be affected?
No it should not be. The car in front of you that you were pushed into can only claim in law against a negligent driver. You were not negligent, it was the vehicle behind you that was negligent and therefore if you receive any letter of claim we would re-direct that claim to the insurer of the vehicle that struck you and we would advise the insurance company or the lawyer for the vehicle in front that you were not to blame. It is a myth to think that you have to compensate the vehicle in front and then pass the claim along. You are not negligent and should not therefore be involved.
I had put a full tank of fuel in my car immediately before the accident that wrote off my car. Can I claim this cost back?
If you have a receipt then yes we can attempt to recover the cost of the fuel that you have not had the chance to use through no fault of your own.
My vehicle which was involved in the accident has seven seats. A courtesy car would not be any good to me. Can I hire a more suitable vehicle?
Yes you are entitled to hire “like for like” and therefore you are entitled to hire a vehicle suitable for your needs similar to your own car.
I was in a road traffic accident and my airbag didn’t go off. Should I be claiming against the car manufacturer?
Unless you suffered a facial or head injury that could have been avoided by the airbag then whether it should or should not have deployed is irrelevant. Of course if the accident is someone elses fault then you still have a claim for your injury against them in full. We have found that airbags deploy increasingly seldom and only in the most serious of accidents as the sensors have become more sophisticated.
My seat broke in the accident. Does this complicate matters?
Car seats can break under the most extreme of pressure as part of a way as minimising the load on the human body. If your seat breaks in the accident it is evidence that you have been involved in a very significant accident. We would always draw attention to this in seeking compensation for you from the insurance company to demonstrate the significance of the G-force you are likely to have experienced.
I work in a Civil Service or Health Service job and my contract of employment says that I have to repay any wages they pay to me while I am absent due to a road traffic accident. How does that work?
If you are obliged to recoup to your employer wages that they advanced to you while you were absent as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault then that does not come out of your injury compensation but will be claimed in addition to the compensation for your injury from the other side.
I was unfit for work following the accident but had to take it as holidays as I didn’t want to affect my sickness record. Can I claim?
You cannot claim for the wage loss itself but you can claim for loss of amenity. We would argue on your behalf that you have lost the benefit of being able to take those holidays when it suited you when you were feeling better and this argument would be factored into settlement negotiations.
I would usually do overtime. Can I claim for this while I am off work?
Yes you can claim for overtime and it can either be calculated in the basis of your overtime for the same period the previous year or in the previous three months before the accident or by comparison to another worker who has the same overtime opportunities as you.
Because of the accident the government paid me various benefits. Do I have to repay these?
An insurance company when compensating you for your injury have to pay the government back any benefits received by you as a direct result of your injury. The insurance company only has to pay you the difference between what you would have earned had your wages been paid in full and the benefits you received so that you don’t end up better off.