What should I do if a road injury claim is made against me?
If you were involved in a road traffic collision that another driver claims was your fault you may find yourself being sued. In cases such as these, it is your insurance company's job to handle the claim on your behalf.
How will you find out you are being sued?
You will usually find a Writ or Summons on your doormat. Occasionally, the Sheriff Officer or Messenger at Arms will serve the court papers directly to you. This paperwork will inform you that you have 21 days to notify the court what you are going to do next. Specifically, you will need to decide whether to admit liability or to defend the action.
You insurer must handle the claim
If you have received notice that you are being sued, you should do is to telephone your insurance company and send them a copy of the court paperwork. The Road Traffic Act requires that any claim arising out of a vehicle collision be made to your insurer, so it is likely that your insurer has already been notified about the proceedings.
Your insurer will handle the claim from this point forward. You do not need to appoint a solicitor or try to defend the claim yourself, though you should be ready to co-operate with your insurers and their solicitors as the claim moves forward.
In many cases, your insurer will have already commenced negotiations with the other party about the claim. The other driver may simply have filed the claim against you directly as a negotiating tool, perhaps because he feels that your insurance company is not moving fast enough.
Do I have to go to Court?
It is unlikely that you will need to go to Court. If you were genuinely responsible for the accident, your insurer may simply settle the claim. Alternatively, they may dispute the amount of damage and injuries being claimed for.
Your insurance company may feel, for example, that the other driver's car was not damaged as extensively as the driver claims; in other words, your insurer believes the other driver is beefing up his claim to get more compensation. In this scenario, your insurance company will instruct independent third-parties to investigate further into the circumstances surrounding the accident and the damage done to the vehicles.
Regardless of the nature of the accident, it is likely that the two insurance companies will continue to thrash out the details between them. You may not hear anything further until your insurance company notifies you that the claim is settled.
What if the insurance company cannot settle the claim?
On very rare occasions your insurance company will not be able to settle the claim and you will have to go to Court. Even if the Court finds you liable for the accident, your insurance company should cover the full value of the claim.
Complications may occur if you did not have valid insurance at the time of the accident. In this situation, you may wish to consult a solicitor directly about your options.
Quittance's expert panel of solicitors are experienced in dealing with road traffic accident claims. For a free, no obligation consultation, call 0800 612 7456 or request a call back today.