Oakwood Solicitors

Driver and
Passenger Claims

Been in a road traffic accident
that wasn’t your fault?

  • No-Win, No-Fee.
  • Solicitors firm with 20 years’ experience in
    Road Traffic Accident, driver and passenger claims.
  • No upfront cost.
  • We charge a maximum of 25% for a successful accident claim.
  • Adults have 3 years from the date of the accident to claim.
  • Free initial consultation.

Make a claim now

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0113 200 9787

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Testimonials

Never gave up on my claim until I got something.

I recommend Oakwood Solicitors 100%. If anyone needs a Solicitor, go with Oakwood you won't be disappointed, they're excellent. Paul never gave up on me.

- Mark Wheatley

Tried, tested and succeeded - best in the game!

Nothing short of exceptional. I would use Oakwood Solicitors again without a shadow of a doubt and highly recommend the same to you too!

- Peter

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No-Win, No-Fee

legal service and a free initial consultation.

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Recovering your losses

throughout 20 years in the RTA claims industry.

Client Care

Private treatment

can be arranged, chargeable to the fault driver's insurers.

The experts in Road Traffic Accident claims

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd specialises in all claims relating to car accidents. We will do whatever it takes to recover the maximum level of compensation for your personal injury claim and all your losses following a non-fault accident, regardless of whether you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist.

I’m a driver involved in a car accident. What should I do?

Firstly, stay calm. If you are in immediate danger or you pose a danger to other travellers, place your vehicle hazard lights on and try to carefully move your vehicle to a safe location. Vacate your car and leave the hazard lights on.

If you are in any doubt as to whether your car is roadworthy immediately following the accident, leave the car where it is, still displaying the hazard lights, and make your way on foot to a safe area. If you, your passengers or the third party report any injuries following the accident, or you cannot move the vehicle and are worried it is a hazard, contact the emergency services for advice or medical attention.

I was a passenger involved in an accident. Can I make a claim?

Yes, you can.

If you as a passenger have sustained an injury following the accident, you are entitled to make a claim. This also applies if your own driver caused the accident when you were his or her passenger.

How do I make a claim?

Starting a road traffic accident claim is very simple. There are many claims management companies advertising on national television, radio, and the internet, most claiming to work with the best law firms and that you will receive the best level of service possible.

Whilst this may be true in some cases, claims management companies are likely to pass you to a solicitor willing to pay them the most money for your business. This does not necessarily mean that they are the ‘best fit’ for you.

More often than not, the claims management company (CMC) will have no further involvement in your accident case once the solicitor has taken it on. The same may also apply to a solicitor recommended by your insurers.

We would recommend that you contact a solicitor directly and undertake your own due diligence. Speak to them. What are your first impressions? Are they talking to you clearly, in understandable, jargon-free language? How long have they been around? What do online reviews say about them and their successes with accident claims?

Once you are happy to proceed with a firm, they should discuss funding arrangements with you and whether they feel you should consider any additional insurance protection for your claim. This is often known as After the Event Insurance, or ATE.

Most firms will offer to act on your behalf in a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), sometimes known as a ‘No-Win, No-Fee’ Agreement. Oakwood Solicitors Ltd is able to deal with your car accident claim on such a basis.

Who should pay for the repairs to my vehicle?

If you were to blame for the collision, it depends on the level of motor insurance cover that you have. A fully comprehensive policy means that your own insurers will cover the cost of repairs or pay you the pre-accident value of the vehicle if it is uneconomical to fix.

Beware, though. An accident claim against your insurance will affect your no claims discount or you will ‘lose a life’ from your no claims bonus protection. This may result in increased insurance premiums.

It is also likely that you will have to contribute your policy excess towards the repairs, or that the figure will be deducted from your total loss payment. In some situations, your insurers may agree to waive this.

If you had third-party fire and theft cover only, you will not be covered, meaning that repairs will be your own responsibility.

If the accident was not your fault, the same will apply if you have fully comprehensive cover. The difference is that your own insurance company will attempt to recover its outlay from the insurers of the responsible party.

If you have third-party fire and theft cover in this instance, you may be able to seek the costs of the claim from the third-party insurers.

Why go with Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to make my claim?

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd has been dealing with personal injury claims caused by car accidents since 2001. Many of our solicitors and paralegals have been with us for over ten years, having already had experience when they started with us.

We deal with claims that range between one thousand and hundreds of thousands of pounds, many of which will involve extensive claims for various kinds of expenses. When you instruct Oakwood Solicitors, you can expect a friendly, down to earth approach, together with an extensive knowledge of the field which will be used to fight tenaciously with the insurers to achieve the maximum level of compensation possible for your claim.

We are able to act for you on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis, meaning that there is no risk to you, and you will not be charged if your driver or passenger claim is unsuccessful.

On the scene - Details to take and common scenarios

What information should I take from the other driver?

If the other driver has stopped and your vehicle is in a safe location, you will need to exchange personal information with the other driver. We would always recommend that you try to take the following details after an accident:

  • The other driver’s name and address
  • A contact telephone number for the other driver
  • The vehicle registration of the third-party car
  • The name of the third party’s insurance company
  • The policy number for the third party driver’s insurers

What if the third-party driver will not provide any of their details following the accident?

It is important to ensure that if you can, you obtain the other driver’s vehicle registration following an accident. An insurer can usually be identified if the registration is available from any organisation which has permission to use the askMID database, such as an insurer or firm of solicitors.

If the other driver is not willing to release them to you, then it is likely they have breached The Road Traffic Act 1988. You should report the matter to the police immediately.

What if the other vehicle flees from the scene of the accident?

If you feel that the other driver is going to leave the scene of the accident, try to memorise the registration of the car – or if it is safe and lawful, take a photograph. If you are unable to do so, pull into a safe place then report the incident to the police.

If it is possible, attempt to obtain details of any witnesses who may have seen the collision, asking them if they were able to take the third party’s registration number. The evidence of a witness can be crucial in determining liability for the accident and also proving the involvement of another car, thus helping any subsequent claim for compensation.

Injuries and medical intervention

What if I was injured?

It is generally accepted by medical professionals that an injury can occur in a car accident even at speeds as low as five miles per hour. If you find that following a car accident you start to experience any symptoms, we would recommend that you seek medical attention.

Common symptoms experienced following a car accident are:

  • Neck, back and shoulder stiffness and aching (commonly known as whiplash)
  • Pins and needles in the arms, hands, legs and feet (paraesthesia)
  • Headaches
  • Bruising to the chest and abdomen (often caused by the seatbelt tightening)
  • Soft tissue injuries affecting the limbs
  • Stress, travel anxiety, heightened awareness, nervousness as a passenger and nightmares

Symptoms following an accident can often feel worse early in the morning or late in the evening. They can often initially deteriorate before you see signs of improvement.

If your symptoms persist, we recommend you return to your GP and discuss the different forms of treatment that are available, such as physiotherapy or acupuncture.

Why should I seek medical attention?

It is important that you seek medical attention following an accident for a number of reasons.

Of course, if you are experiencing pain, then you should discuss this with a medical professional. It may be that over the counter medication is recommended, but importantly, you may require further investigations such as an X-Ray, or a more aggressive treatment regime to include a course of physiotherapy, for example.

In addition to this, it is important that your injuries are documented in your records. This will help to support the fact that you have been injured and reduce the risk of the third party insurers disputing the fact when making a claim.

Also, you have a legal duty to mitigate your losses. This means that you must try to keep your losses to a minimum. This extends to trying to take steps to reduce the level and duration of your symptoms in order to keep the level of compensation to a minimum too.

If you do not seek medical attention/treatment and it is later deemed that by doing so, the level of your injuries and their duration could have been reduced, the level of compensation that you are awarded could be negatively affected at the conclusion of your accident claim.

I'm confused about:

How do I know which firms are solicitors, and which are claims management companies?

You can check if a firm is a Solicitors practice as opposed to a claims management company by visiting the Law Society website.

Also, if the company you are speaking with is not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, then they will not be a bonafide law firm. You should be able use their website to find their SRA number on their home page, often in the footer of the page.

What if the third-party insurers contact me directly to help with my claim?

You may receive a text message or letter from the third party insurers offering you their assistance with a personal injury claim, to repair your vehicle or to provide a hire vehicle. This is called third-party capture.

Whilst accepting this kind offer to progress your claim may be fine – you have paid for insurance, and by utilising your own insurer, you give yourself the protection of being able to complain if your service falls below expectations.

It has been said that an insurer, looking to minimise losses, is unlikely to have your best interests at heart and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome to your claim, at least financially.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd regularly receives enquiries from people who have accepted an offer from a third party insurer, only to find that they have received poor service from the repairing garage, with little assistance rectifying the problem.

We have on multiple occasions seen that personal injury claims have been undervalued, leaving the victim out of pocket or in a weaker position than they would have been with a solicitor’s help. Sometimes, injuries have not been investigated thoroughly enough to accurately assess their physical cause and determine a prognosis, allowing the claim to be correctly valued.

If you are in a credit hire vehicle due to your own becoming unroadworthy, and the third party insurers contact you to offer a replacement, you should contact your credit hire company to notify them of this immediately. If not, the credit hire firm may not be able to recover their charges from the third party insurers in part, or at all. This may leave you responsible to pay for any shortfall in the cost of the replacement car.

In summary – yes, you could take up their offer of third-party capture, but ask yourself how determined the third party insurers are likely to be to ensure that you receive justice, when such claims are taken out at their own expense.

What is After the Event Insurance (ATE)?

An After the Event (ATE) insurance policy provides you with insurance cover and protects you from having to pay any legal costs and disbursements such as court fees and doctors fees incurred as a result of you bringing legal action.

This is only utilised if the claim fails and the cost of the insurance policy generally doesn’t need to be paid by you in the event that the claim is unsuccessful.

If your claim is successful, the cost of the policy is normally deducted from your compensation. Your Solicitor should discuss whether ATE is right for you, what the risks are and whether a policy is necessary for your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I claim for?

Aside from being able to make a claim for personal injury, we can assist you in recovering the following types of expenses:

  • Damage to your motor vehicle – This could be cost of the repairs, or pre-accident value of the vehicle if it is deemed a total loss.
  • Policy excess – Subject to evidence of the loss, this can be claimed from the third party insurers.
  • Medication costs – Subject to receipts, this is recoverable from the third party insurers, providing that it is deemed that it was necessary to incur the expense.
  • Treatment costs – As long as it was reasonable that treatment was incurred and caused by injuries sustained, we can recover this from the third party insurers. Future surgery may be recommended – if so, we can obtain suitable quotations and seek the funding for that surgery upfront.
  • Loss of/damage to clothing and personal effects – These can become damaged in an accident. Whether it be torn clothing or a broken electronic device, we would always recommend keeping the item as evidence and take photographs in case third party insurers want to see it. If you purchase a new item to replace it, keep the receipt.
  • Lost earnings – Unable to work due to injury? We can claim this from the third party insurers. Wage slips or profit and loss accounts can be used to calculate the loss. The accident may have affected your ability to work in the future – subject to medical evidence, a claim can be submitted to the third party insurers.
  • Travel expenses – We are able to include travel expense claims. This may be trips to physiotherapy, doctor or hospital appointments, taxi or bus fare, or petrol expenses.
  • Vehicle diminution – Your car may have lost market value due to being damaged and repaired. We can recover this loss for you by obtaining a specialist engineer’s report. Read information about vehicle Diminution here.
  • Care and assistance – It may have needed to employ someone to assist with gardening, cleaning, cooking, washing or personal hygiene. Whether this was from a professional, a family member or friend, this can be claimed from the third party insurers, subject to medical evidence. The same may apply for future care and assistance.
  • House alterations – Your injuries may be substantial enough to warrant alterations to your home. Whether this is widening doors or fitting ramps or handrails, these costs can be recovered if medical evidence states that it was necessary.
  • Hire charges – If you have paid for a hire vehicle, we can recover the cost of this for you from the third party insurers. Sometimes it is possible to arrange a credit hire vehicle for you whilst your own is out of action.
  • Any other expenses – You may have paid for postage and phone calls, or have some pension entitlement. Whatever you feel you have incurred, we are happy to discuss this further with you to explore whether it is something we can assist with during the claims process.

What do I need to do to claim expenses?

Ensure that you keep any receipts you have received after purchasing anything such as painkilling medication, physiotherapy, or incurring a fee for a taxi. If you have lost earnings as a result of the accident, you will be asked to provide 13 weeks’ worth of wage slips prior to the accident, and wage slips covering the period of the absence when making a claim.

It may also be necessary to provide a copy of your employment contract if you received sick pay from your employers. This sick pay may be recoverable to your employers if the absence was caused by the negligence of a third party. If you are self-employed, you will need to provide profit and loss accounts to act as evidence that you have sustained a financial loss as a result of your road traffic accident.

 How are personal injury claims valued?

Injury claims are valued based on compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity. A key determining factor is the length of the injury. This runs from the start of your symptoms until a complete resolution has been made. Of course, the level of pain experienced can differ from one injury to another.

Injuries can be minor in nature and affect only one part of the body, or they can be extremely painful, affecting multiple regions of the body. The extent of the injuries is another important feature to consider. The final factor is the impact the injury has had on your life.

This is likely to be determined by the first two considerations. However, the impact on one’s life can be dependent on how active the victim is. For example, an active person in full-time employment in the building industry, responsible for contributing income into a large family could potentially be affected severely by injuries sustained that have resulted in a long period of absence from work.

Once the cause and level of injury has been determined by an independent doctor, discussions regarding settlement of the claim can commence (subject to liability being agreed). A starting point for your solicitor will be the Judicial Studies Guidelines. This is a guide, released by the Courts, which provides examples as to the levels of compensation that the common types of personal injury should attract.

In addition to this, details of cases that have been to trial are reported on and can be reviewed in order to ascertain the likely awards that the court would give. If a similar injury, causing a similar effect in the victim’s life can be found, then that case law can be used as a guide.

How long will the claim take?

This depends on the nature of your claim. Yes, a simple straightforward case could take approximately three months to resolve.

This would involve submitting the claim, receiving an admission of liability from the third party insurers, obtaining your medical report from an independent doctor, (and that you are happy with the content of the report), having proactive negotiations with the third party insurers and agree a reasonable offer from them which is agreed and paid in a timely manner.

In reality, though, a claim that does not involve court proceedings is more than likely to take between six and nine months.

The reason for this is that in more cases than not, there will be issues to resolve. You must bear in mind that the insurers wish to minimise their losses and as such will attempt to argue any and every point they can think of to reduce the number of cases they pay compensation on, and the amount they have to pay on each case.

Examples of issues commonly raised by motor insurers are:

  • Occupancy – This relates to how many people are in the vehicle. There can sometimes be a dispute as to the number of occupants that were in the car when the accident occurred. This seems to be more common when there have been young children in the car who have perhaps gone unnoticed amongst the stress of the accident.
  • Liability – In simple terms, this is the determination of who is to blame for causing the accident. It could be that a number of drivers take a percentage of the responsibility each, or that one person is found solely to be the cause of the collision.
  • Causation – This looks specifically at the injuries that have been reported and whether they have been caused in the accident.
  • Quantum of the Injury – This relates to valuing the claim. There is often a disagreement between a Solicitor and the insurer over how much a personal injury claim is worth.
  • Quantum of the Expenses being claimed – Similar to the claim for injury, claims for expenses can be disputed. This can either be that there is a disagreement over the final figure or that the expenses should apply at all. This can often result when there is a lack of documentation to support the loss.

There may be cases that go on for longer. It could be that there are many of the above issues to resolve with the insurers and that it becomes necessary to involve the courts. It may be that the injuries you have sustained are in some way unusual or are severe and that as a result of this, it is necessary to obtain multiple reports to be able to determine the nature of the injuries you have and the impact they have had on your life.

Will I need to go to Court?

It is possible, but only a very small percentage of claims need to involve the courts, and fewer still will run to trial.

In the end, it will boil down to how strong your case is, how reasonable the third party insurers are, along with your own expectations and willingness to negotiate.

Can Oakwood Solicitors Ltd arrange private treatment for me?

Yes, if you instruct us to represent you, we will arrange an initial treatment assessment for you with a medical professional. If it is recommended that treatment (often physiotherapy) is undertaken, then we can arrange this for you at dates and times that are convenient for you.

The cost of this treatment will be sought from the insurers of the other driver. If the claim were to fail for any reason, the treatment charges would be waived.

What do I do now?

Contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd and provide us with some basic details about the accident, your injuries, and details of your financial losses. We will then be able to tell you if you have a viable road traffic accident claim. There is absolutely no obligation to proceed. You can provide information or get in touch by:

Rob Crompton
Rob Crompton — Head of Road Traffic Accidents

Rob Crompton has been with Oakwood Solicitors Ltd since July 2007, quickly proving his ability to deal with Road Traffic Accident claims efficiently and with an extremely high level of innovation and client care.

Rob now manages his ever-expanding team, specifically concentrating on Vehicle Diminution, Road Traffic Accident, and Criminal Injury cases.

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