A motor vehicle accident tends to leave all the people involved in a state of shock, as it is usually an unexpected occurrence. Some accidents are worse than others and have the ability to completely change someone’s life, whether through incurring severe and permanent injuries, or worse still the loss of life. The main issue when an accident occurs is who is at fault. With so many road rules and regulations out there, the one at fault is usually quite easy to identify. Once that is settled and the injured be it the driver or those he was with, have been catered for it is then vital for the injured person to serve a notice of accident claim form on the Compulsory Third Party Insurer of the “at fault driver”.
How do you find out who the Compulsory Third Party Insurer is of the at fault vehicle? - this is simply done by searching the registration number of the vehicle that caused the accident. The insurance is paid as a part of the registration fee.
Before the injured person is in the position to serve the notice of accident claim form, the first step is to report the accident to the police and obtain a traffic incident number. The injured person also needs to go to his/her General Practitioner and or the Hospital to obtain a medical certificate specifying the injuries received in the accident. The Claim form will ask questions about how the accident occurred and who was at fault. Details of witnesses will also be requested.
If the injured person does not know how to complete the form, engage a lawyer to handle the completion of the form for you and to ensure witnesses can be contacted and statements obtained from them and or your lawyer can contact the police officer who attended the scene of the accident. This is where having a lawyer with experience will come in handy, and be a wonderful asset for the claimant/injured person. They will be in a position to properly explain the details of the accident, and based on how the accident occurred, explain who and how the blame will be assessed. From there they will let the injured person know if it really is worthwhile serving the claim. One must assess the likely damages with legal costs and medical reports to be incurred.
Your claim for damages cannot be settled until your injuries have stabilised and any permanent impairment can be assessed. Once you accept a certain amount of damages, you cannot go back and ask for more at a later date. Therefore damages need to be assessed carefully and all appropriate claims made.
Rather than wasting time waiting for the injured person to recover, other steps in the action are taken to keep the claim moving to some extent. For examples, medical records and pay records are obtained in preparation.
As soon as your injuries have stabilised, expert medical appointments are arranged in order to assess your permanent impairment and how this will impact on your capacity to work and whether you need any care at home. It is very important for your lawyer to present all relevant questions to the medical experts in order to obtain the appropriate evidence to support each element of your claim.
Once the medical evidence is available, a compulsory conference can be arranged to attempt to settle your claim. It is only if this fails that court proceedings will need to be filed. However, having to go to this second step, does not mean a trial is imminent. Many cases settle after the filing of proceedings and before a trial.
A Notice of Accident Claim Form should be served within 9 months from the date of the accident and or one month after providing instructions to a lawyer to act on your behalf. The Claim process must be followed and the compulsory conference held prior to the three year limitation date expiring. If your injuries take a longer period of time to stabilise, it is sometimes necessary to extend the limitation date by agreement with the Insurer or by obtaining a Court Order in order to preserve your claim. This is not a difficult task. If you fail to obtain an extension of the limitation date, then you lose your right to make a claim. Your lawyer will be very vigilant in ensuring all time limitations are complied with to ensure your claim is successful.
Contact White Jordin to understand the various time periods that must be complied with in order to succeed with your claim.