Car Accident Claims: Legal Terms Explained

using mobile phone road traffic accident

Whether you were the driver, a passenger, a cyclist or a pedestrian, being in a road traffic accident is a traumatic and scary experience. To make things worse, it can also be a very confusing time, as there are many legal terms used to describe the claims process for Road Traffic Accidents. It’s not a regular occurrence for you, and so the terms frequently used by Solicitors and Motor Insurers might not be familiar.

Hopefully, we can help with this guide to the legal terms used in road traffic accident claims. Below you will find an explanation of the meaning of some of most frequently used sayings:

Who is the Third Party? (TP)

The Third Party is the other person involved in the accident. You would usually refer the person you intend to pursue a claim against as the Third Party. The claim would be presented to the “Third Party Insurers”.

What is Personal Injury? (PI)

Personal Injury is a legal term for any injury to the body, mind or emotions. The injury can vary in degree and length. It may or may not have required medical treatment.

What is defined as a Road Traffic Accident?

A Road Traffic Accident is when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, a bicycle a pedestrian, animal, or any other object such as a road sign, skip, bollard etc.

What is a Policy Excess? (XS)

A Policy Excess is a contribution you pay towards the repairs to your vehicle or for the will be deducted from the Total Loss value of your vehicle if it was written off in the accident. If the accident was not your fault, your motor insurers may waive your Policy Excess or it may be recovered from the insurers of the responsible Third Party.

What is a Conditional Fee Agreement? (CFA)

A Conditional Fee Agreement is the document you sign at the start of your claim. It sets out the terms of your arrangement with a Solicitor. It will provide details of your obligations and those of your Solicitor. It will contain details of their costs for acting on your behalf.

What are General Damages?

General damage is the term for compensation pursued for pain, suffering (both physical and emotional) and loss of amenity caused in an accident.

What are Special Damages?

Special Damages are the compensation you may claim for such as loss of earnings, property damage, treatment expenses and vehicle diminution.

What is a Disbursement?

A Disbursement is a payment made on your behalf in relation to the cost of something required to pursue your claim. This may be a medical report fee, an engineer’s report fee, or a hospital fee for obtaining medical records.

What are Court Proceedings?

Court Proceedings are issued when your claim has been lodged at Court. This is often necessary when there is a dispute as to who’s fault the accident was, or an issue as to the value of a claim you have made. Once Court Proceedings have been issued, both parties should attempt to negotiate a settlement. If this is not possible, it may occasionally result in a Court Trial where evidence is submitted beforehand in order that a Judge can address the matter in dispute and determine the outcome. You may need to attend the Court Hearing to give evidence.

What is a Medical Expert?

If you have sustained a Personal Injury and are making a claim, a Medical Expert will be required to examine you for the purpose of providing a medical report. This report is used to value your claim. The Medical Expert is not there to treat you, and they have a duty to remain independent.

What is Liability?

Liability is the responsibility a party has to settle a claim. Once you have established who is liable for an accident (who is to blame), they, or their insurers will have a duty to settle the innocent party’s claim.  Depending on the circumstances of the accident, it may be that both parties share liability and the case settles on a split liability basis.

What is After the Event Insurance? (ATE)

This is an insurance policy that you may wish to take out when you commence the claim, or during the life of your claim to pay for Disbursements if you lose, and to cover the risk that you might lose all your damages or even have to pay the other side’s costs.

What is a Part 36 Offer?

A Part 36 Offer is an offer made that is designed to encourage parties to settle disputes without going to Trial. The offer informs the other party what they will accept or offer to resolve the dispute. This could be an offer to settle liability on a split basis or a figure that you may be prepared to accept in settlement of your claim.

Is there something we’ve missed that you’d like clarification on? Leave us a comment below with the legal term you’d like explained or email rta@michaellewin.co.uk for advice.

 

Article Written By Rob Crompton, Head of RTA for the Road Traffic Department at Michael Lewin Solicitors.

rob crompton head of RTA michael lewin solicitors

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