Making an RTA Claim – How the Process Works

Posted Jan 15, 2020.


rta accident claims

Should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident (‘RTA’), whether  you are driving a car or van, riding a motorbike or bicycle or as a pedestrian, if the accident is not your fault you may need to make a claim for compensation. Whilst using a specialist personal injury solicitor is the best – and easiest – way to make a claim, it is also worth understanding the legal process involved.

For RTA claims that occurred since the 6th April 2010 in England and Wales and with a compensation value between £1,000 and £10,000 (which covers most RTA claims), the current process is divided into three stages.

Compensation Claim Stages

Stage 1

1.       Following your accident, a Claim Notification Form (known as a ‘CNF’) is sent to the insurers of the defendant – the other party involved in the accident who is at fault. The CNF represents a ‘statement of truth’ and must be completely accurate and truthful.

2.       The defendant insurers now have 15 days to respond (or 30 days if the defendant is unidentified and the claim is against the Motor Insurer’s Bureau), starting from the next working day following receipt of the CNF.

3.       For your claim to remain in this process, there now needs to be an appropriate admission by the defendant insurer. Such admission should be on the grounds of facts, breach and/or causation, although the extent of causation does not need to be stated at this stage. If the defendant makes an allegation of contributory negligence - meaning the failure of an injured party to act prudently – then unless the allegation is failing to wear a seatbelt, then  your claim will leave this process.

4.       The defendant insurer may deny liability; if so, they must give reasons why. If there is such a denial, then your claim exits this process and enters the beginning of what is called the pre-action protocol stage.

Stage 2

1.       You now need to obtain a medical report; your solicitor will be able to do this. Usually, only one report is required unless the medical expert recommends that an additional report is required.

2.       Once the medical report has been received, your solicitor will check its contents for any factual errors as once this is submitted to the defendant insurer, any mistakes cannot be challenged in future. Within 15 working days of confirming the report is correct, your solicitor must complete a settlement pack which, along with the report and receipts for any special damages, is sent to the defendants. The settlement pack outlines what you are seeking for general damages, special damages and whether or not there is to be any reduction in damages for contributory negligence.

3.       Once the defendants have received the settlement pack, they have 15 working days to accept or to put forward a counter offer. If there is a counter offer, you will have 20 working days to consider the terms.

4.       Should there be a need for additional medical evidence, your solicitors will send an interim settlement pack with the medical report. This will result in an interim payment of £1,000 (sometimes this may be higher) being made by the defendants with 10 working days.

5.       If the defendant insurer responds by denying causation or if quantum (that is, the level of compensation) is not agreed or if they allege fraud, then the claim will leave this process.

6.       Should the defendant not comply with the timescales laid out or if agreement cannot be reached on the amount of interim payment, this will also result in the claim leaving this process. If there is no agreement on quantum, the defendant must pay the amount of their settlement pack offer and the claim proceeds to Stage 3.

Stage 3

1.       This stage applies should there be no agreement on quantum. If this is the case, your solicitor will send a Stage 3 settlement pack to the defendants, who have 10 working days to respond. If the defendants fail to respond within this timescale, your solicitor may make a Court application.

2.       In making a Court application, your solicitor will send the CNF, Stage 3 settlement pack (including a sealed final offer), medical evidence, disbursement and special damages receipts, to the Court. 

3.       Your solicitor will now request an Oral (that is, in person) or Paper hearing, the outcome of which will be decided by a judge, thus concluding your claim.

Bakers Solicitors – specialists in running and winning RTA claims

At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants who have been injured through no fault of their own, and helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love delighting our clients when they receive injury compensation they deserve. 

If you would like us to handle your road traffic accident compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600.