Road Traffic Accidents FAQs
For customers suffering from soft tissue injuries e.g. Whiplash to the neck
How long do I have to make a claim?Close
If you do choose to pursue a personal injury claim you have 3 years from the date of the accident to make a claim. If you are representing a child you have up to 3 years from their 18th birthday.
What losses can I claim?Close
Losses can include costs relating to your vehicle being damaged, hire charges, medication and treatment, loss of earnings, damaged property or belongings, travel, care and assistance, and loss of enjoyment. Frequent losses we see include:
Bike claimants who may have damaged leathers and helmets should photograph their items and keep them in a safe place.
Should I keep receipts?Close
Yes. Please keep receipts, a log of any financial losses and photograph damaged items so we can consider these as part of your claim. You can upload your loss evidence right here in your account in the losses section. Please also store the original damaged items.
How do I claim loss of earnings?Close
If you are employed, we will need wage slips from the previous three months before the accident, the months where you missed work, and a letter from your employer. For example, if the accident happened in June, we would need March, April, and May’s wage slips, plus the time which you had off in June.
If you are self-employed, we would need the last three years of profit and loss accounts/tax returns (or as many as the business has been active for) and evidence of lost jobs/work. If you did not have a job booked in, we cannot claim for loss of earnings.
Can I recover mileage and fuel?Close
We can look to recover mileage travelled to hospital, physio, or GP appointments so please keep a log of the dates and distances. We cannot recover mileage for your medical appointment set up by our independent medical agency as it is necessary to run a claim.
Can I recover the cost of an MOT and/or new tyres?Close
It’s your duty as a car user to make sure your car is roadworthy. Therefore, we cannot look to recover the cost of your MOT or tyres, even if it was on the day of the accident.
Should I report the accident to the police?Close
If the third party was threatening, attempted to hurt you, or refused to provide their details you should report the accident to the police. You should always report a hit and run accident.
What should I do with CCTV footage/dashcam footage?Close
If you have CCTV footage you should send this to us as soon as possible.
Who is the MIB?Close
The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) work to reduce uninsured driving. They compensate victims of uninsured or untraced drivers, and they manage the insurance industry’s data.
What is the difference between untraced and uninsured?Close
An untraced accident is where there was no possibility of identification or it transpired the vehicle was stolen or cloned, these are often hit and run accidents.
An uninsured accident is where information may be captured at the scene, but it becomes apparent that the other driver was uninsured.
What should I do if I’m hit by an untraced or uninsured driver?Close
If you are the victim of a hit and run there will be very little you can do at the scene of the accident in terms of gathering information. However, you must inform the police as soon as possible due to the likelihood of the car being stolen or uninsured.
An uninsured driver may be reluctant to give you any details and, even if the driver sticks around, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get any information from them. What you can do in both circumstances is gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident:
What happens after an accident with an untraced or uninsured driver?Close
Minster Law will contact the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) if you’ve been injured because of being struck by an uninsured or untraced driver. The MIB is a not-for-profit organisation set up by motor insurers to support drivers hit by uninsured or untraced drivers, or UK drivers who are involved in car accidents abroad. The MIB has an uninsured and untraced driver’s agreement which enables people involved in accidents under these circumstances to claim compensation against the liable party. The two agreements are slightly different:
The third party hasn’t accepted liabilityClose
It can be frustrating when the third party doesn’t accept liability. However, we are experienced in dealing with cases of this nature and will look after you and your case. The third party may advise pending further investigation or deny full liability and we will need to collate as much evidence as possible to support your claim. It is important you provide us information on potential witnesses, CCTV, or police reports as soon as you can.
Should I speak to the other side’s insurance?Close
No. Both Minster Law and your insurers will liaise with the third-party insurer on your behalf.
Do I have to attend a medical assessment?Close
Yes. All personal injury claims usually require you to see an independent medical professional. The expert creates a medical report which supports the valuation of your claim, provides you with an expected recovery time and if necessary, will provide recommendations for further treatment.
Where is my medical assessment?Close
Due to Covid-19, most appointments are now run remotely. If you are awaiting a face-to-face appointment, then we will aim for your medical appointment to be within 10 miles of your home address. Once the assessment is booked the address and further details will be in the medical section of your online account. If an INK account isn’t applicable to your claim you will receive documents directly from the agency and ourselves with appointment details.
What happens at a medical assessment?Close
The medical appointment is in place to assess your injuries, give you an expected recovery time and recommend any further support that may be beneficial. It is important you tell the medical expert about all the injuries you sustained as a result of the accident, including injuries that you have recovered from, any new injuries that you may have developed, and any pre-existing medical conditions/injuries or previous RTAs.
If your medical appointment is to be held remotely via video chat, please have a photographic ID ready for your appointment e.g. passport, driving license, or identity card. You will need a quiet, well-lit area and a laptop, tablet, or mobile with a working camera and microphone.
If you have requested a face to face appointment and government restrictions allow attendance please ensure you have a photographic ID with you. Please also bring with you a face mask unless you are exempt due to medical reasons.
The consultation will last around 10 minutes and the expert will ask you to fill in a questionnaire. This provides the majority of the information the expert needs to complete their report and you will not undertake a physical exam. The expert is not there to provide treatment or prescribe medication. If you require further treatment other than physio, please contact your own GP for further medical advice.
Do I need to bring my medical records to my appointment?Close
No, the medical expert may request access to medical records. If this happens a release form will be sent for you to sign and return.
I have a pre-existing medical condition, do I need to disclose this?Close
Please tell the medical expert at your independent medical assessment of any pre-existing conditions, illnesses, or previous road traffic accidents to avoid any delays to your claim. Pre-existing conditions could be the cause of ongoing symptoms or could have been exacerbated by the accident. You should also inform the team dealing with your claim.
Do I have to see my own doctor?Close
It is recommended that you get medical attention following an accident e.g speaking to your own GP. However, you will still be required to see an independent medical appointment.
Will I need to attend more than one medical examination?Close
Potentially, it will depend on the speed of your recovery. If you continue to suffer symptoms beyond the first medical expert’s prognosis then it may be necessary to obtain a second report from a more specialised medical expert.
Will you release my medical records?Close
The hospital or surgery where records are kept will release the records (or copies) upon you signing and sending back the release form. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may be required to disclose previous medical records to medical experts or the other side. However, we will always discuss this with you beforehand.
Am I entitled to private treatment for my injuries?Close
You can obtain treatment privately, however this would need to be supported by the medical expert in order to recover the fees. It is recommended that you proceed with any treatment arranged by us, or the NHS, as this would be agreed with the third party before charges are incurred.
What if I missed my medical assessment?Close
If you miss your appointment, please contact the agency directly. If you are registered on INK contact details can be found under **My Medical** – **Appointments** – **Reschedule**. If you are not registered on INK or your claim is not applicable for INK registration your appointment details can be found on the correspondence you have received from the medical agency.
You may have to pay for missed appointments. Please ensure to reschedule well in advance if you know you will not be able to attend.
How do I cancel my medical appointment?Close
Attending your medical is an important step in your claim. Please be aware that rescheduling appointments may cause delays in progressing your claim. If you must reschedule, you can do so directly with the medical agency using the details in the ‘my medical’ section of INK or using the contact details found on your correspondence from the medical agency received from the medical agency.
What is a medical report?Close
This report will be used as proof of the injuries which you sustained in this accident and should include a description of your injuries and how your symptoms affected your day-to-day life such as work, hobbies, home life, etc. It will also include an opinion that clearly sets out how your injuries were caused, any treatment needed, and your expected recovery period which is often referred to as your ‘prognosis period’.
Do I need to do anything with my medical report?Close
Your medical report will be sent to you when it is ready and you will be asked to review the contents. Depending on your contact preference we will send you your medical report through the post, by email, or upload it to your INK account. After you have read through the report thoroughly, you can then approve or reject the report.
My medical report is wrongClose
You should only reject your report for one or more of the following reasons:
What is whiplash?Close
Section 1 of the Civil Liability Act 1998 defines a whiplash injury as: “a soft tissue injury in the neck, back or shoulder” which is a “sprain strain tear rupture or lesser damage of a muscle tendon or ligament in the neck back or shoulder” or a soft tissue injury which is “associated with a muscle tendon or ligament in the neck back or shoulder”.
Whiplash is caused when the head suddenly moves forwards, backwards or sideways. It’s a common injury in car accidents where there’s a sudden, unexpected impact. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, reduced movement, and headaches. While in most cases whiplash isn’t a serious injury, it can be very painful and debilitating. In severe cases, it can last for six months or more. If you think you might have whiplash, it’s important to seek medical advice immediately to make sure more serious damage hasn’t been done to your neck and spine. Please visit the NHS website for more information on whiplash.
What if my injuries have changed?Close
If you have any new/developed injuries, we would recommend going to see your own GP for treatment. You should inform us straight away and make a note of the injuries to tell the expert at your medical assessment.
Should I take pictures of my injuries?Close
Yes, where possible it is important to take photographs of any injuries including bruises and cuts.
I’m feeling anxious and scared to drive, can you help?Close
We understand how difficult it can be after an accident. If you are needing support with your mental health, please seek out help from the NHS or other mental health charities like Samaritans or Mind. Please inform the team or handler how you are feeling as we appreciate that the claims process can be daunting and it might be helpful to change our approach to your claim to make this more manageable.
Will I need to go to court?Close
Accident before May 31st 2021
If despite all negotiations, responsibility is not admitted or a level of compensation cannot be agreed with those admitting responsibility, we may start court proceedings while continuing negotiations to settle your claim. This will only ever be done with your informed consent. Only when negotiations fail and your claim cannot be settled do we commit the case to court (or arbitration if it is against an untraceable driver). Please be assured it is very rare for cases to go to court.
If you are representing a child, you will have to attend an infant approval hearing. These only take up to 15 minutes and are there for the judge to see/ask if the child is recovered. We will instruct a barrister to represent you in court and will talk you through this in detail ahead of time.
Accident on or after May 31st 2021
If it is not possible to reach a liability agreement, provided we still believe your claim has prospects of success, we will need to start court proceedings (or request the matter go to arbitration) which may involve a final hearing. This will only ever be done with your informed consent.
Once liability is resolved, the next step will be to investigate the value of the claim and agree with the other side’s insurer the appropriate amount of compensation to be paid. If it is not possible to agree on a figure, we may need to start court proceedings. You will be able to challenge any offers up to a maximum of three times before starting court proceedings. If an agreement cannot be reached, then we will ask a judge (or arbitrator) to decide it. You may have to attend any final hearing.
If your claim is proceeding through the Official Injury Claims portal, the portal aims to help avoid or reduce the need to go to court. You may be required to attend court, particularly where liability is disputed or the issues are more complex. If your claim cannot be settled through the portal, you can ask the court to determine/decide your claim. It is possible in some circumstances that the court will determine the matter on the papers alone, which means you won’t need to attend a hearing.
Will I have to speak in court?Close
This depends upon the specific case. If liability for the accident is in dispute, then you would be required to speak and answer questions in court. If the defendant has admitted liability for the accident, then it will depend on the specific case as to whether or not you would need to speak in court. We can advise you further on this point. If it is an Infant Approval Hearing, then the litigation friend would be required to speak. The judge will ask questions about the child and their recovery. Depending on the age of the child, the judge may ask them questions directly.
What should I bring to court?Close
We recommend that for any type of hearing you should bring proof of identification. For an infant approval hearing (a hearing where the client is a child), you should also bring the birth certificate and proof of the bank account that you would like the payment to be made into (if relevant). If the payment is for a minor, it must be made to the claimant’s savings account or trust. Although you may bring your phone to court, we strongly advise that it is turned off when you arrive at the court.
What happens when I get to court?Close
We will brief you before you go to court and your file handler will instruct a barrister to represent you. When you get to court you will go through security scanners, similar to those airports. Please allow extra time to go through security as there are likely to be queues. You will be asked to empty your pockets and you will either have to walk through an archway detector or be checked with a handheld scanner.
You will need to inform reception why you are there and the receptionist will direct you to sit outside the courtroom where you will meet with your barrister. The barrister will discuss your claim and the court process further, as well as answer any questions that you may have.
Most courtrooms are arranged similarly, with the judge on a raised platform and the lawyers below.
There is often a court stenographer there to note down the evidence which is given. The barristers sit facing the judge and there may be room for you to sit behind your barrister. Otherwise, you will have to sit in the general seating area at the back of the court. You may, if you wish, be present during the whole proceedings – we will advise you when you must be there.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic remote hearings have been put in place. Video and telephone conferencing provide access to a court from a remote location, allowing you to attend your hearing whilst observing our government’s current social distancing guidelines. Access to a screen with a camera and microphone is needed for video conferencing and available methods include, but are not limited to, Skype for business, Zoom, and BT MeetMe. If you are attending via telephone call you will receive instructions on how to dial in. To read the full guidelines on remote hearings go here.
What are the stages of a trial?Close
Opening the trial: This is begun by the claimant’s representative, who explains the essence of the case and gives the judge a general idea of the papers and the evidence that will be brought. It will be explained to the judge which evidence is disputed and which is agreed. The judge will have had an opportunity to read some of the papers beforehand to already have some idea of the issues that must be decided.
Claimant’s evidence: All the witnesses for the claimant will then be called in turn, including any expert witnesses such as doctors or engineers. If there are a lot of witnesses, this stage can take a long time.
Defendant’s case: The defendant will then have the opportunity to call their own witnesses, who may be as numerous as the claimant’s, so this again can be a lengthy process.
Closing speeches: Once all the evidence has been heard, the barristers on each side sum up their arguments and have a final attempt to persuade the judge of their side’s case.
Judgment: The judge may decide the case immediately. In complex cases, the judge may go away and think about the decision and so the parties will assemble in court again at a later date to hear the judgment given. Once the judgment has been given and any damages to be awarded have been calculated, the barristers put forward their arguments as to who should pay the costs of the case and the judge then decides on that issue.
Who is involved in a trial?Close
A trial is a formal argument before a judge. There is therefore one side who brings a claim (called the claimant) and the other side that defends it (called the defendant).
It is possible to have more than one party on each side and if so, these are numbered. For instance, First Defendant or Second Defendant. This would happen, for example, where there has been a road accident and the claimant is blaming two different drivers. However many parties there are, each party is usually represented by its own separate team.
Representatives: Although your case will have been handled on a day to day basis by Minster Law, at court your case will be presented by a barrister, whom will be a specialist advocate employed for their expertise in legal argument in much the same way as your GP would call in a specialist surgeon if you needed an operation.
The Judge: Judges are appointed by the Lord Chancellor from the ranks of the legal profession so were once either solicitors or barristers. The more senior judges in the High Court are referred to as ‘My Lord’ or “My Lady”. Other judges are called ‘Your Honour’. Do not worry unduly about what to call the judge, as long as you show respect they will not be offended if you get their title wrong. In addition, we and your barrister will make sure that on the day you know how to address the judge.
Giving evidence at courtClose
All witnesses, whether factual witnesses or experts such as engineers or doctors give evidence in the same way. If you are called to give evidence, this is what will happen:
This is a very general guide but we hope that you find it helpful. If you are unsure about any aspect of the trial or want to know more about any stage of the proceedings, Minster Law will be happy to answer any queries which you may have.
What is an approval hearing?Close
An approval hearing is a hearing where a judge reviews the evidence of the case and the settlement that has been agreed to ensure it is a fair settlement. Approval hearings are more common when the injured client is a child or a protected party and a litigation friend is required. If you are currently acting as a litigation friend, you will likely have to attend a hearing of this type. Both the child and the litigation friend must attend the hearing. It is important to remember that these hearings are in the best interest of the injured client to ensure that the settlement is suitable. There are unlikely to be many questions directed at yourself or the client and it is more of an opportunity for the judge to review the evidence. At the end, the judge will ask whether the client has fully recovered from their injuries, which may be directed at either the client or the litigation friend. This question must be answered correctly to ensure that the case is suitably settled.
How do you value my claim?Close
Accident before May 31st 2021
We value the injury element of your claim based on the medical report(s). The medical report(s) identify the extent of your injuries and how long they are expected to last. The amount of compensation you’re entitled to depends on many things, including the severity of your injury, how much it has negatively affected your life, and the extent of any financial loss you experienced as a result of the accident.
Accident on or after May 31st 2021
If you were injured in a road traffic accident after the 31st of May 2021 and suffered a whiplash injury your compensation will be awarded based on a fixed tariff amount based on the duration of your injury, as set out in The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021. There are two tariffs: a combined upper one to include whiplash and minor psychological injuries and a lower one where there is no psychological injury. Where there are exceptional circumstances, such as where the whiplash injury was exceptionally severe and this is supported by the medical expert, you may be able to seek an uplift amount that is greater than the tariff amount for the whiplash injury. The table sets out the tariffs and what you may recover.
|Duration of injury||Amount – whiplash injury alone
|Amount – whiplash injury and minor psychological injury
|Not more than 3 months||£240||£260|
|More than 3 months, but not more than 6 months||£495||£520|
|More than 6 months, but not more than 9 months||£840||£895|
|More than 9 months, but not more than 12 months||£1,320||£1,390|
|More than 12 months, but not more than 15 months||£2,040||£2,125|
|More than 15 months, but not more than 18 months||£3,005||£3,100|
|More than 18 months, but not more than 24 months||£4,215||£4,345.|
What is an interim payment?Close
An interim payment is an amount paid to you in partial settlement of your claim. When an interim payment is made, it means your personal injury claim hasn’t been fully settled and the other party’s insurers still need to deal with other parts of it.
When will I get my money?Close
When liability has been admitted and we’ve agreed on a level of compensation with the third party insurer, those responsible will make a payment to settle your claim.
Why haven’t I been paid yet?Close
Accident before May 31st 2021
There are no set timescales as to when the third party insurers have to send the money. However, we would usually expect the third party to send the money within six weeks of the case being settled. Once we have received and processed the money it will appear in your bank (depending on whether you have asked for a cheque or BACS) in seven working days.
Accident on or after May 31st 2021
The other side must pay any sum offered to you within 10 business days from the date the offer was accepted. Where the other side needs time to get an updated Compensation Recovery UNIT (CRU) Certificate, their payment must be made within 30 business days. Once we have received and processed the money it will appear in your bank (depending on whether you have asked for a cheque or BACS) in seven working days.
How long will my money take?Close
Once we have received the funds from the third party insurer, we aim to make payment within 14 working days. When we have processed the money, it can take 7 working days to appear in your bank.
How will I get my money?Close
BACS is the preferred method as it is quicker and safer than other payment methods. However, you can request our team to make payment by cheque if you prefer. We do not provide same day transfer/CHAPS/faster payment and we do not provide cash payments.
Can I put my money in an account that isn’t mine?Close
The money has to be paid to a bank account in your name. We have to pay the money to you directly to fulfil our regulatory obligations. If you don’t have a bank account, you will need to set one up. We will hold onto the funds until you have one set up and then we will transfer the money over.
When will my child receive their money?Close
Payment will be made to your child upon their 18th birthday by the courts. Until that point it will be held by the court. However, you can apply in writing asking them to release funds that is for the child’s benefit. A common example of this would be the costs associated with education. You should keep any documentation about their settlement in a safe place in case you need to access this information to make the above application
Why can’t my child’s money be paid to me?Close
The vast majority of child claims are settled at court and in most of these cases we will be told on the judgement order where to pay the child’s funds. If we were to pay them anywhere else, this would be a breach of the court order. In all child cases it’s important that the funds are protected and held securely until the child turns 18. They are usually paid into the Court Funds Office or a trust fund.
Will this claim cost me?Close
If you are not covered by legal expenses insurance, we take a success fee upon successful settlement of the case for the work carried out, as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement. If you think you have legal expenses insurance, please check your insurance policy documents and inform us straight away.
Do I have legal cover?Close
Your insurer usually tells us if you have legal expenses insurance. If you are unsure, please check your policy documents. You may also have cover under other insurance policies, such as an addition to your home insurance, or are covered by your employer or your union. If you think you have legal expenses insurance, please check your insurance policy documents and inform us straight away.
What documents do I need to show that I have legal cover?Close
You will need a copy of your insurance documents which will show if you have legal expenses insurance and you should send a copy of this as soon as possible.
What is GAP insurance?Close
It is insurance to cover the value your car may lose over time. Most new cars lose value as soon as they leave the garage forecourt. A recent study reported that most cars lose between 50% and 60% of their value in the first three years of ownership.
If you are involved in an accident, many insurers will only pay out the current market value of your car. This can see you left with a shortfall between the compensation you receive for your damaged car and the price you originally paid. This will particularly affect anyone who has taken their car out on finance.
GAP insurance will pay the shortfall between the car’s value at the time you make your claim versus the amount you originally paid for your car.
How long will my claim take?Close
No two cases are the same, so it’s difficult to provide you generic time scales. There are many factors, such as your recovery, which can affect the length of time it takes to settle your claim.
To find out more about your claims journey, please click here.
What if I no longer wish to claim?Close
There is a 14 day cancellation period from the start of your claim and you can cancel your claim through written or verbal confirmation. You can still cancel your claim at any point following the 14-day period, but you may have incurred fees that you could be liable for.
If I cancel, will I be charged?Close
You can stop your personal injury claim at any point. However, you should be aware that, depending on how far along we are in the process, we may have incurred fees on your behalf that we’ll have to pass on to you. If your claim is taken to court and proceedings are issued but you wish to cancel your claim, you won’t be able to recover any settlement money and could end up being liable for both the defendant’s costs and our own. For this reason, you need to be sure you’re willing and able to see your claim through to the end before starting it.
I have signed/spoken to another solicitor by accident. What do I do?Close
If you have spoken or signed with another solicitor by accident but would like us to continue to deal with your claim we will send you out a Form Of Authority which we will ask you to sign and send back. This means that you are signing to say Minster Law is acting on your behalf. We know that sometimes it can be confusing and you will receive calls from other companies.
Can someone else deal with my claim?Close
Your partner/friend/family member can be an authorised person on your file which means they can talk on your behalf. An authorised person can ask questions and provide information however, any decisions on the claim must be made by yourself.
Why have the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) contacted me?Close
The DWP has contacted you to determine if the third party insurers have to repay any money paid to yourself under welfare benefits. For many cases, this isn’t applicable but it’s important you fill it in to avoid any delays.
I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt at the time of the accident – can I still claim?Close
If the accident wasn’t your fault, you’ll still be entitled to compensation. However, the amount you receive may be reduced if it’s found that wearing a seatbelt would have resulted in less severe injuries.
The accident was my fault, can you still represent me?Close
If the accident was 100% your fault, we would no longer be able to represent you as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement. Please contact us directly if you believe this may apply to you.
Can I have a translator?Close
If you require a translator, please speak with us directly so we can discuss the options available to you.