Who is Liable?
If you have been in a road traffic accident which was caused by another person, then you may be entitled to pursue legal action. Claims for personal injuries caused by a road traffic accident are made through the Injuries Board and this is an important first step in the process. Liability will vary depending on the situation, so it is important to determine who is liable for the accident before pursuing a claim. If there has been any contributory negligence, you may not be able to make a claim.
Hit by Another Vehicle
If you have been injured in a situation where another car hit your car on a bend in the road where your car was stationary, possibly stood in a line of traffic beyond the bend, in this case, the person that hit will most likely be held accountable. As it can be difficult to see around a bend in the road a driver may be unaware of what is around the corner. In these situations, it is important that you slow down when approaching so as to reduce the risk of crashing into another vehicle.
Pulling Out of Side Roads
If there has been an accident when a vehicle is pulling out from a side road, that vehicle will most likely be seen as responsible for the accident as they should have ensured that the road was clear before proceeding. There may be other factors which show that they were not at fault, so they will not be deemed liable.
Overtaking on a Bend
Although the rules of the road state that you should not overtake another vehicle on a bend in the road, some road users may still do this. The driver who was on the wrong side of the road will then be responsible for any accidents caused as a result of this. This will be the case unless it can be proven otherwise.
There are certain factors which should be taken into consideration when trying to determine liability for an accident on a bend in the road.
- Were there witnesses present at the time?
- Was the cause of the accident clear?
- What comments were made by those involved in the accident immediately after?
- Did either driver make any obvious mistakes or rule breakages?
Common injuries from accidents on bends in the road include:
Common causes of accidents on bends in the road include:
- Overtaking on a bend in the road
- Using a mobile phone while driving
- Disobeying rules of the road
- Poor road conditions
- Failing to show a duty of care
Reasons for an accident in these areas may be the speed at which a car is travelling around the bend – an accident may occur if the driver is travelling too fast. Speed limits in Ireland vary depending on the road type:
- Town and city (50km/h)
- National roads (100km/h)
- Regional and local roads (80km/h)
- Motorway (120km/h)
- Special speed limits (30km/h or 60km/h) – usually designation roads and zones, such as roads outside built-up areas, schools, etc.
While these may be the designated speed limits – taking a bend at these speed limits may result in an accident if the person doesn’t take the bend correctly, they may veer into the other lane or turn over the car.
What to do after a road traffic accident?
Following a road traffic accident, whether as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist, there are a number of steps you should follow:
Seek medical attention
Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after a road traffic accident, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries. Then check if any passengers or anybody else involved in the accident need medical attention. If you or anyone else involved has sustained a serious injury ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.
For minor injuries, you must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.
Gather all relevant information at the scene
It is important that you gather 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/Gardaí.
- Take a picture of the scene and damage to all vehicles involved from different angles; this will help your solicitor understand how the accident happened.
- If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident, such as CCTV cameras in a nearby shop, for example, you should try to obtain this footage.
- Dash Cam footage – if you have any.
- Record the time and date of the accident.
- Weather conditions at the time.
- Receipt for repairs of damage to your vehicle.
- If possible, try to collect the contact details of anybody that witnessed the accident. This may be of use if you do decide to pursue a road traffic accident claim.
Report the incident to 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. 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.
Contact your insurance company
If you are the driver of the vehicle involved in a road traffic accident it is important to inform your own insurance company so they have a record of the accident.
Speak to a road traffic accident solicitor
If you are considering moving forward with a road traffic accident claim for any personal injuries sustained it is advisable that you speak with a road traffic accident claims solicitor as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. 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, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.
It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or Garda reports, where possible as you will need them when making a claim.