Road traffic accidents come in all shapes and sizes, from the relatively minor scrape to incidents causing serious injuries or even loss of life.
Despite the very wide variety of types of incident, any one may give rise to road traffic accident claims and it may be helpful, therefore, to consider the different types of claim that may arise.
The principles of road traffic accident claims are established in English law. If you suffer loss, damage or personal injury as the result of another person’s actions, or failure to act, you are entitled to compensation – in the form of general and or special damages.
The success of your claim depends on two main elements:
- establishing that another person is liable for the injury, loss or damage you have suffered; and
- calculating the monetary value of the damages to which you are therefore entitled.
On both counts, the legal aspects of your claim may become especially complicated and you might want to entrust an experienced, qualified accident claims lawyer to pursue the claim on your behalf. Specialist lawyers may help to ensure that you not only win the compensation to which you are entitled, but that the amount you receive is the fairest and most reasonable in all the circumstances of the accident you have suffered at someone else’s hands.
The type of road traffic accident likely to call for the most expert and specialist intervention is one involving personal injury.
Not only is it necessary to establish the liability of the person or persons responsible for the accident, but that you have suffered an injury or your property has been lost or damaged as a result.
Establishing your losses is a complicated question of putting a monetary value on your claim for compensation.
Some of that may be relatively straight forward. The damage done to your car, for example, may be established with reference to the quotes or invoices issued by the garage repairing it. Damage done to your garden wall by a car ploughing through it might also be measured by the cost of rebuilding it. If you suffered a personal injury, you might also have had to pay an easily identifiable amount in medical expenses.
Considerably more difficult for the untrained individual to calculate, however, are the general damages to which you may be entitled. General damages are sometimes described as “non-economic” damages simply because it is so difficult to put a price on them. General damages, for example, might include:
- the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injuries;
- the physical impairment or disfigurement you suffered;
- the emotional or psychological suffering the accident caused;
- the poorer quality of life you now have after the accident; and
- if you are making a claim following the death of a spouse or other close family member, the loss of companionship you suffer as a result.
Putting a figure on any one of these losses calls for informed, experienced and highly skilled professional judgment – the skills you are likely to find in specialist personal injury lawyers.