How to Make a Whiplash Claim

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If you are considering making a whiplash claim, it is understandable that you will first want to know how to the process works. That is why we have put together a summary of what a whiplash claim involves €" and all in seven easy steps.

1. Immediately After The Accident€¦
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident (and you are not too badly hurt), there are certain measures you should remember to take immediately after the accident. Firstly, obtain the details of the other driver(s) involved in the incident, including: name, contact details, insurance company, registration number and make and model of their vehicle. It is also a good idea to get the details of any people who witnessed the accident happen and, if you can, take photos of scene. You should then seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you have suffered a serious injury, you also have a duty to inform the police about the accident.

2. Seek Legal Advice
Once you have received medical treatment for your injury, the next step is to speak to a personal injury lawyer. A solicitor will be able to listen to the details of your accident before suggesting whether or not you are able make a claim.

3. Letter of Claim
If you do decide to pursue legal action, your solicitor will begin the claims process on your behalf. This will initially involve taking a short statement from you and any other witnesses, obtaining the police report and gathering other bits of evidence. Once this has been done, your solicitor will be able to send a letter of claim to the other driver, which should be passed on to their insurance company. This letter will outline the details of the accident, the injuries you have sustained, and reasons why fault is alleged. The insurance company then has three months to investigate the claim. After this period, they have a further 21 days to state whether the defendant is going to accept liability, or deny it.

4. Medical Evidence
It is likely that your solicitor will arrange for you to see a medical expert (usually an orthopaedic surgeon). This is particularly important if your injuries are severe. By having a specialist doctor examine you, it is much easier to prove the extent of your injuries, and how this has affected your life. These findings will all be detailed within a written report, which will also include a recommendation for further treatment (if necessary).

5. Losses and Expenses
Next, your solicitor will prepare a schedule of damages setting out the finances you have lost because of your injury. Amongst other things this can include a loss of earnings, money spent on medical treatment, travelling costs and the expense of buying specialist equipment (such as a supportive pillow).

6. Negotiating a Settlement
The schedule of damages will be sent to the insurance company. If liability has been admitted then the claim can be settled at this stage. There may be a degree of negotiation between your solicitor and the insurance company regarding the exact sum of compensation. Nevertheless, your solicitor is there to ensure you receive the amount you rightfully deserve. Therefore any offer made by the insurance company which is not appropriate will be refused.

7. Court Proceedings
On the other hand, if liability is denied or a settlement cannot be reached, your solicitor will begin court proceedings. After the evidence has been accumulated, there will be a court hearing to decide whether or not you are entitled to compensation, and if so how much you should be awarded.

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