Road Traffic Accident *
Road traffic accident claims * are an all too common occurrence and can happen for a number of different reasons. It comes as no surprise that car crash claims * are the most common of all personal injury claims * presented to solicitors and to the Injuries Board. Being involved in a car accident, as a driver, passenger or pedestrian can be a traumatic experience, regardless of how serious the car crash was or whether or not you suffered any personal injuries *. If the cause of the car accident or other road traffic accident * was not your fault then you may be entitled to claim for damage to your car, any personal injuries * sustained and any additional expenses incurred as a result of the car accident, amongst others.
Steps To Take When Making Road Traffic Accident Claims *
Following a car crash or other road traffic accident *, your first port of call is to check to see if you, any passengers and anybody else involved in the accident need medical attention and to call an ambulance, where necessary, to ensure that medical attention is gotten as soon as possible.
It is important that, if you have suffered a personal injury * that you book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible after the road traffic accident, regardless of how minor you think the injuries are, in some cases these minor injuries can develop into more serious threat to your health. In worst case scenarios, fatal road accidents can occur.
Following this there are a number of steps you should follow:
1. Call the Gardaí
Regardless of how minor or serious the road traffic accident * was, it is important that you call the Gardaí to report the accident immediately. For minor accidents, the Gardaí may tell you that they will not be attending the scene. It may be a case where you can settle the issue yourself. In this scenario, the appropriate information should be exchanged. In these cases, it is also important that you visit your nearest Garda station to request that they take details of the accident and to take your statement about the accident.
For more serious road traffic accidents *, where an ambulance has been called, the Gardaí may arrive at the scene to assess, take statements from the people involved and any witnesses
2. Gather information on the other person(s) involved
It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:
- Details of another driver(s) / people involved: name, address, contact information, vehicle registration number and vehicle insurance information. You can also offer your own information to the others involved in the accident
- Name and contact details of any emergency service workers at the scene, paramedic/ Gardai
- Take a picture of the scene, from different angles; this will help your solicitor understand how the accident happened.
- Time and Date of the accident
- Weather conditions at the time
If there were any witnesses to the accident speak to them and ask for their contact details. This may be of help to you when it comes to making a claim after the accident.
4. Obtain A Medical Report
In order to bring legal proceedings forward, a medical report should be obtained. Once this is received, a Form A application can be sent to the Injuries Board for assessment. The cost of this application is €45. Your road traffic accident solicitors can assist with this application. The Injuries Board will then offer a settlement amount.
5. Speak to a road traffic accident * solicitor
Following a road traffic accident, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible if you are thinking of moving forward with a personal injury claim * or road traffic accident claim *. If proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board. A road traffic accident solicitor * can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format.
It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident and also to retain copies of medical reports or Garda reports, where possible.
If you are to proceed with a road traffic accident claim * you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses you may have incurred, these claims are called damages:
General Damages: Non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a road traffic accident *
Special Damages: Out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the road traffic accident *. For example, loss of earnings, medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident. This may consist of travel to and from the hospital.
Material Damages: Material damage refers to damage caused to your personal property. For example, in a road traffic accident, the material damage would be the damage to your car.
Minor Impact Accidents
The idea that the seriousness of a personal injury * relates to the amount of external vehicle damage in all types of crashes is something that few of us think about. However, it has become a topic of interest in some recent court cases. Insurance companies have argued that the risk of personal injury * is linked to the vehicle’s external damage. For example, an insurance claims handler might reject a person’s personal injury claim. This can be on the basis that there was a low-speed impact and the material damage to the car is small. As solicitors, we often receive defences from defendants pleading a “minimum impact” defence. These types of defences are becoming more and more common. However, the reality is that in low speed rear-end crashes there are a number of injury-producing variables.
When comparing injury and causation it is important for any doctor reviewing the injured party to remember that there is no “typical human” in a crash environment. The reasons being that people vary in many ways, from
- differences in height,
- seating location in the vehicle.
In these types of low impact cases, it is important to get the repair estimate, photos of the vehicle damage (to both vehicles), an assessors report and a garda abstract report as soon as possible. These are important from an evidential standpoint in minimum impact road accidents *.
An engineer with a particular expertise in dealing with these types of cases can give helpful information of the effects of what is sometimes thought to be “minor” accidents. Furthermore, as with any accident, you should report the matter to your insurer as soon as possible. To make a personal injury claim *, there must be an actual injury sustained in order to seek a settlement. The most important thing following an accident is to obtain medical attention and to adhere to all treatments recommended by your medical practitioner.