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Expert offers advice to London taxi drivers
With over 20,000 licensed taxis operating in London, we know that collisions in the capital are an unavoidable reality.
But while the perception might be that taxi drivers are often responsible for accidents in the city, the reality is that they are more likely to be involved in a collision due to someone else's poor driving. It's hugely important that a taxi is repaired as soon as possible to minimise the impact on the driver's ability to work and earn income, but many drivers appear not to know what steps they should take following an accident.
Matthew Claxson, a partner and road collision expert with Fentons Solicitors LLP, explains what to watch out for and the best steps to take to ensure you quickly get back on the road if you're unlucky enough to be injured in an accident.
"We act for a significant number of London taxi drivers involved in road traffic collisions," said Matthew, an accredited member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).
"We've noticed that drivers are very often unaware what information is required at the scene to help them pursue any future claim for compensation.
"We know that people want to move away from the scene of an accident as soon as possible, but we are seeing far too many taxi drivers missing out because they are not getting enough of the right information," he said.
"They have a legal entitlement under the Road Traffic Act 1988 to basic information such as the other driver's name, address and insurance details. It's vitally important that they get that information.
"We have taxi drivers calling us, saying 'I've just been hurt in an accident, can you help me?'" said Matthew.
"But when we ask them for details of the other driver, often all they can offer is the other vehicle's registration number, or a company name remembered from the side of the vehicle. This is not always enough to pursue a successful claim."
Matthew recommended always carrying a pen and paper in your cab. "It may sound painfully obvious, but if you need to take down someone's details in a hurry, make sure you have a pen that works and something to write on to hand," he said.
"Along with the registration number, try to note down the make, model and colour of the other vehicle. This is always very useful, particularly if the other party was driving company car or fleet vehicle."
Matthew also suggested carrying a disposable camera in your cab. "By recording evidence such as accident damage, your injuries, any visible road signs in the area, the layout of the road and the positions of the vehicles involved, you can help speed up the process of making a claim," he said.
"This will in turn minimise any potential loss of earnings and also speed up the repairs process if your taxi is damaged.
Matthew said it was always important to remember to report an accident to police, especially if the other driver is disputing who was responsible. "If the other party is being difficult and refuses to give you any details then the police must be called," said Matthew.
"An uninsured third party with inadequate details makes it very difficult to pursue a claim." Matthew said it was also important to get a description of the driver involved, such as their height, build and approximate age.
"If you have been injured, it is important that you seek medical attention or attend your GP at the earliest opportunity to obtain a note detailing the extent of any pain or injuries you have suffered," added Matthew. "Delaying these steps only hinders your chances of claiming compensation."
Matthew also reminded drivers to record any details of financial losses incurred due to the accident, such as a loss of earnings from days you've had to take off, or any expenses made on medication or transport.
"The final step is to get legal advice," he said. "The process of claiming can be both lengthy and complex, so it's important that you choose an experienced lawyer who is able to deal with your claim as quickly and effectively as possible."
How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of road traffic collisions.
If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.
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