Road traffic accidents

We hope members or their families won't ever find themselves in a situation where they need the PCS personal injury claim service because they have been involved in a road traffic accident.

However, the following guidance is intended to provide assistance in the initial stages of making a claim, should any member find themselves in this unfortunate position.

Any road traffic accident is frightening. You can be disorientated by the shock of the accident and your mind goes blank.

Any road traffic accident is frightening. You can be disorientated by the shock of the accident and your mind goes blank.

If you have suffered injury as a result of a road traffic accident and wish to seek advice on the prospects for pursing a personal injury claim, complete the personal injury claim form and return it to the PCS legal and personal case department as quickly as possible.

You are in a road traffic accident. Even if the collision was not too bad and you are able to get out of your vehicle unaided, it is a frightening situation. The first thing to do is to try to remain calm!

What not to do

It is important not to get into any inflammatory confrontation with the other driver - this can only make the situation worse.

If there is any dispute about liability, you should not admit liability or say that you are sorry. If you are pushed for an admission of liability merely say that you will leave the matter for your solicitor or insurance company to deal with.

What you should do if you are able to

DO ensure that you obtain the other driver's registration number, full name, address, mobile/home telephone numbers and insurance details if she/he has them. If the other driver says that she/he does not have insurance details ask them for the name of their insurance company - they should at least be able to remember that.

DO ensure you obtain details of any witnesses. If you cannot obtain names and addresses take a note of their registration numbers if they were driving. Our solicitors should be able to trace their names and addresses and thereafter write to them in connection with the accident if you have their registration number.

DO make sure you take a note of where the accident actually happened. Our solicitors will need to write to the other side with full details of the accident location. If possible, take photographs of the vehicles before they are moved or draw a sketch showing the position of the vehicles and any skid marks.

DO call the police to notify them of the accident. If they are unwilling to provide assistance ask for the badge number of the officer you are speaking to. If the police do attend the accident ask the police officer for her/his badge number, name of the station where she/he is based, and if she/he can provide you with a crime reference number.

DO inspect the damage to the other driver's vehicle if you are able and take a note of it.

DO check that your motor vehicle is safe to drive home. If in any doubt you must phone your insurance company for roadside assistance.

What if I suffer injury in the accident?

Make sure that you attend the accident and emergency department at the nearest hospital for assistance if you feel that you need urgent medical attention. Ensure that your attendance is recorded and if the wait is too long, ask the receptionist to record that you attended but were unable to stay due to the lengthy wait.

If you stay and are seen by an accident and emergency  doctor or nurse you must advise them of all of your injuries. Do not just mention the most significant, (for example neck and back pain), but think carefully if you have any headaches, pains in your hips, legs, knees etc.

Having this information recorded at this early stage will be useful later on in obtaining supportive medical evidence for all your injuries should you decide to make a claim.

If you do not have to attend accident and emergency  following the accident, you should ensure you are seen by your GP.

Again, make sure that your GP records all your symptoms.

If your symptoms persist you should go and see your GP again. You may have been advised that they will settle within a specific period of time, but if they do not do so, it is important that you go back to your GP and insist he arranges some form of appropriate treatment (for example physiotherapy).

Ensure that you go back to see your GP following the accident if you develop headaches or migraines. You may well have sustained a minor head injury and this will have to be investigated.

If you can afford to do so it might be worth going to see a physiotherapist privately if you are not getting any better. Early intervention into symptoms such as neck and back pain have shown to reduce long-term problems. Our solicitors should be able to recover the cost of this treatment if it is found that the accident is the other driver's fault - for example, if the other driver drove into the rear of your car, or if they failed to give way to your car. If you are in any doubt whatsoever you must discuss this aspect of your claim with the solicitor.

What should I do if I am absent from work as a result of the accident?

DO ensure that you let the solicitor know if you were absent from work as a result of the accident. Make a note of any payments received from your employer whilst you are off sick.

Your employer will be contacted to find out whether they require you to recover these payments on settlement of your claim.

This will depend upon the contract that you have signed with the employer. If you do not forward these details to the solicitor and your contract says that you must pay back these monies paid to you during your absence from work, the money may have to be deducted direct from your compensation on settlement of your claim.

You should also keep a list of any out of pocket expenses you incur as a direct result of the accident. Make sure that you keep the receipts as documentary evidence and forward these details to your solicitor.

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