At the moment of impact no-one who is involved in a traffic accident is ever thinking about an eventual traffic accident compensation claim. Most often they are either unconscious, in a state of shock or too busy thanking their lucky stars at being alive to think that far ahead.
But once the ambulance has taken the injured to hospital and all medical emergencies are tended to, there is a point when anger or a sense of outrage may replace the shock.
All road users are entitled to the right to drive, cycle or motorcycle without fear of personal injury. Pedestrians and other vulnerable road users are owed a duty of care by drivers.
You can call our free solicitor help and advice line now on 1-800 989 995 or if now is not convenient for you then fill in the form at the bottom of the page and we will call you back at the time you specify.
What Does A Traffic Compensation Claim Cover?
The intention of a compensation settlement is to return the injured party to the approximate state he or she was in before the accident. Nothing can erase pain and suffering or physical disability caused by an accident so in recompense a monetary value is assigned to injuries according to their severity, likely duration and location on the body.
Immediate loss of earnings is taken into account as is are future loss of earnings, out of pocket expenses, material damage and impact on future health and quality of life.
In cases where a person dies in a traffic accident, his family, particularly if there are children concerned, can bring a case to claim for the loss of parental support and household income.
Who is Named As the Defendant in a Traffic Compensation Case?
Motor liability is cited in the vast majority of all personal injury cases in Ireland, however that does not mean that all defendants in a traffic compensation case will be other drivers.
In the case of Brendan McEneaney , who was awarded a ground breaking £2.3 million in 2001, the defendant was Monaghan council who failed in their duty of care to provide a safe driving environment.
Similarly if a car accident was caused by debris in the road, chemical spillage, escaped livestock or a jay-walking pedestrian the claimant is free to bring a case against whoever’s negligence or recklessness was at the root of the problem.
What If I Am Partly Responsible for the Accident?
There are many cases where a bystander can get injured simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A pedestrian standing at a crossing waiting for the green man bears no responsibility if a motorbike should veer out of control and smash into him.
However, there are just as many cases in which the injured party is at least partly to blame. In these circumstances the judge will carefully consider the evidence and circumstances of the crime and assign a contributory negligence factor to the claimant. If he or she is found to have a contributory negligence of 50%, then the eventual settlement will be reduced by 50%.
If you had any level of responsibility for the traffic accident, you can be sure that the insurance company lawyers will know all about it. Whatever the circumstances, they will paint you in the worst possible light in order to ramp up your contributory negligence percentage and lower the settlement payment.
In these cases, going into court with your own solicitor will ensure that the judge gets the full story and that you have the best chance at a fair settlement.
At the Scene of the Accident
There are a few things to bear in mind when involved in a traffic accident.
Immediate medical treatment for all parties.
Regardless of who caused the accident, at the scene there is no blame. Ensure prompt medical attention for everybody.
If necessary call out an ambulance and the Gardai.
The Garda do not attend every traffic accident. Most traffic accidents involve only minor bumps and bruises which do not demand immediate medical care.
There are several reasons why it is important to ensure that there is both a medical and a police report regarding the incident.
1) Even if the other driver admits to losing control of their car, this would generally not be accepted by the insurance company. In fact, most insurance company policies carry a clause forbidding admitting culpability at the scene.
2) You have no way of knowing how the other party will react once he has left the scene of the accident. Before you know it, the other driver may well have convinced himself that in fact you were entirely to blame for the accident and it is you who will be named Respondent in the ensuing compensation claim.
3) Certain injuries associated with head trauma or sudden impact may not be immediately apparent. Whiplash can take some time to develop, as can back injury, concussion or shock.
4) Any impact to a vein can cause blood clotting which can lead to the painful condition superficial thrombophlebitis. The list of medical conditions that can surface in the days and week following a car accident trauma could fill a medical dictionary. Even if you can stand up and walk away apparently unhurt, it is absolutely necessary that you report to the casualty department of the local hospital or to your own doctor for a check-up.
In a perfect world you would be able to trust what people told you and rely upon their word at the scene of an accident. However, as already mentioned, in the case of admitting culpability this is not possible and given human nature, once removed from the scene a guilty person will start to find ways to justify what happened.
Possibly if the accident was caused by his negligence, speeding or driving under the influence the careless driver may have a prior conviction. You can lay odds on the fact that his brain will go into overdrive to manufacture reasons why the accident was all your fault.
Some unscrupulous people will not be above providing you with false information at the scene of if the opportunity presents itself, making off before details can be exchanged.
Thankfully, today most of us have the perfect tool to register and record important little details – like license plate numbers.
Lodging a Compensation Claim in Ireland
Traffic accident compensation claims, like most personal injury claims in Ireland, are dealt with initially by the Injuries Board. Although it is entirely possible to have the Injuries Board handle your compensation case from start to finish only 10% of people elect to give up their right to personal presentation.
As it happens this is quite wise for without the personal support of an experienced claims solicitor most people have no idea what level of compensation they are entitled to and many end up walking away with far less.
One thing to remember when making a traffic compensation claim is that regardless of who you name as the defendant it his or her insurance company that will eventually pay out. If the case goes to court, you can bet that those wily insurance company lawyers will use every trick they know to increase your contributory negligence percentage and reduce your compensation.
Not surprisingly 90% of people choose to make a claim with the support of an experienced traffic compensation claims solicitor.
You can call our free solicitor help and advice line now on 1-800 989 995 or if now is not convenient for you then fill in the form below and we will call you back at the time you specify.