Car accident claims must all follow a set process, laid down in the Civil Procedure Rules. These rules apply whether you are representing yourself, or a personal injury specialist, Accident Advice Helpline, is acting on your behalf.
Laying the foundations
You will need to make sure that you have supporting evidence for any car accident claims before you start any motor accident claims court process. This includes notes on what happened, when and where, as well as details of any witnesses and medical reports from your own doctor.
You will also need to confirm with your solicitors, or through your own research, that you have a credible claim. The best way to do this is to check against previous personal injury cases. If you decide that you have a cause of action, your car accident claim must be brought within three years of the incident (or within three years of a diagnosis of your injury).
The next steps are laid down in the so-called Pre-action protocol, which all claimants must follow. The first step is to send two copies of a ‘letter of claim’ to the person whom you are claiming against. This must contain certain key points, including details of your injuries, the facts of the claim and a request for the details of any insurer that may be involved. The defendant is obliged to respond to this letter within 21 days and if an insurer is involved, liability must be admitted or denied by them within a set time period. This is usually within four months of the letter of claim being received.
Settling your case
The most common outcome for personal injury claims is settlement. If liability is accepted by the insurer, they may still not agree with your estimate of the damages and negotiation may ensue.
Motor accident claims court – liabilities
Should liability be denied, or if the amount of damages is still under dispute, you may end up in a motor accident claims court. For relatively small amounts of money, this is likely to be your local County Court. For large or complicated claims, it may be the High Court. In either circumstance, the presiding judge will now be in charge of the process, and will set down a timetable for proceeding to trial. At this point, your solicitors are likely to employ the services of a specialist barrister. If you are representing yourself, you can either continue as a litigant-in-person, or investigate the many available options for professional help.
Claim experts at Accident Advice Helpline
For more advice about the motor accident claims court process, all you need to do is pick up the phone. Dial 0800 689 0500 from a landline, or 0333 500 0993 from your mobile phone to chat to an adviser at Accident Advice Helpline. Our initial advice is free.
Date Published: 4th August 2013
Author: David Brown