A solicitor will manage all the work necessary to bring a claim. If you choose not to initially use the services of a solicitor, you should complete the following steps.
- Write to witnesses asking for a statement of what they saw, including where they place responsibility for the collision. Ask the witness to sign the statement. Send them a stamped addressed envelope to encourage a reply.
- Write to the relevant police station requesting brief particulars of the incident, such as the driver’s details including their insurance company. Some police stations will advise on whether proceedings are pending against the driver.
- The second stage is to request a police report. They may charge for this (around £100). This may not be necessary if the other insurance company has accepted liability.
- Write to the driver, (or, in the case of potholes, the local authority) setting out the date, place and circumstances of the incident. State that you sustained injuries and losses and that you will seek compensation. Request that the letter is forwarded to their insurers without delay.
- Keep a record of your financial losses and receipts wherever possible. This can include:
-damaged clothing and accessories
-fares or alternative transport
-medical costs (even just aspirin tablets, plasters and dressings)
-loss of earnings
-any other losses or expenses as a result of the collision.
Don’t forget that insurance companies process thousands of claims every year and their paperwork and procedures can put you off and wear you down.
A letter from a solicitor can work wonders when trying to negotiate an out of court settlement. They will also have a better idea what is a reasonable amount to claim for “pain and suffering”:
For something minor such as cuts and bruises you could still be entitled to receive over £100.
You should consider obtaining medical evidence to back up your claim.
If you went to hospital, write to them asking for a medical report with all the relevant details, including whether there is a possibility of deterioration in future and whether your injuries might affect your employability.
Such a report should describe your injuries, treatment and future prognosis. The hospital will charge between £75 and £150 for the report.
If your injuries are more serious, a further medical report may be necessary later on, giving information as to how well you are recovering.