On average, there are more than 10,000 traffic accidents and 20,000 counts of injuries and deaths in Hong Kong every year. If the traffic accident is caused by a driver’s negligence, the injured or the deceased’s family members can claim against the driver and his third-party insurance company, and (if the driver was working at the time of the accident) the employer of the driver by virtue of vicarious liability.
If the injured person encountered the traffic accident in the course of employment, the injured could also instruct a solicitorto claim against his own employer under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance.
Quite often, the injured persons and their families have never experienced a traffic accident, nor have they handled litigation or instructed a lawyer before, they may have various misunderstandings about traffic accident related personal injuries claims. Some of them are even misled by unlawful “recovery agents” who sometimes hold themselves out as loss adjusters, and lose their right to claim for compensation due to wrong or improper advice.
After a traffic accident, the injured person and their family should take the following steps:
- Report to the police;
- As some symptoms may not appear immediately, the injured should visit a doctor to receive treatment and diagnosis ASAP;
- Provide a witness statement to the police (Pol. 154);
- Seek advice from and meet with a solicitor (lawyer) to learn about the claims procedure, and to obtain medical reports and police documents via the solicitors;
- Instruct a solicitor to write and send out a pre-action letter to the negligent driver, the driver's third-party insurance company, and the employer of the negligent driver (if applicable);
- If the negligent driver or his third-party insurer is willing to admit liability, your solicitor will conduct one or multiple rounds of negotiation on compensation with them;
- If the negligent occupier denies liability or no settlement is reached on the amount of compensation, you, the injured, may wish to file a claim in the District Court or the High Court via your Solicitor.
It is noteworthy that some injuries caused by traffic accidents may not appear immediately, especially injuries related to cervical spine, fracture of bones, psychological illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) etc. Therefore, it is most advisable to receive prompt medical treatment and proper diagnosis, as it could also affect the possible amount of compensation when you do lodge a claim against the negligent driver.
In traffic accident personal injuries claims, compensation is generally divided into the following categories:
- Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenities (PSLA);
- Loss of income and loss of earning capacity;
- Special Damages such as medical expenses etc.
Generally speaking, the expected amount of compensation will be assessed by your lawyers with reference to case law. For example, our lawyers acted for a client who suffered from a fracture because of a traffic accident and he received over $600,000 in compensation. Given that each case has different fact-patterns, and the injured person may suffer from distinct and different injuries, there can be no standard formula of expected compensation. Our lawyers will conduct a detailed assessment and analysis for each and every client.
Furthermore, our Principal Solicitor,Eric P H Chanhave years of experience inacting as a fiat prosecutor for the Department of Justice and in criminal defence,and has prosecuted and defended cases involving careless driving on a great number of occasions. Therefore, he is familiar with the relevant criminal procedure and the police's investigation process. Building on these experiences, we are able to possess a unique point of view in helping our injured clients in their personal injuries claims, and proactively follow up with the police and continuously pay attention to the prosecution progress.
Traffic Accident Personal Injuries Claims - Do's and Dont's
If you or your family member/friend have been injured in an accident, and the accident was caused by the negligence of another party, you can consult us for free via our WhatsApp hotline 6103 0006 or email us to set up a free telephone consultation.