A Common Occurrence
Unfortunately, this occurrence is more common than you might think and usually occurs when the other driver does not have valid insurance and wants to avoid Gardaí involvement, or in cases where the accident was their fault, simply does not want to face consequences of their actions. Following most car accidents, a claim for damages is made by the other party’s insurance provider. However, where a person flees the scene of an accident without leaving their details, you may still be able to make a claim through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). The MIBI was set up to compensate victims of road accidents that were caused by uninsured or unidentified drivers.
Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI)
The MIBI claim scheme is set up to cover personal injury claims regardless of whether the vehicle at fault is identified or not or is insured or not. Vehicle and property damage claims are also covered by the organisation but in order to make a claim for this, a valid registration plate must be identified. The MIBI carry out their own investigation when they receive your claim. It is advisable to contact a solicitor if you are unsure of how to claim for a hit and run accident as they will be best placed to represent your interests when submitting a claim to the MIBI.
Common injuries sustained in hit and run claims have included:
Causes of hit and run claims have included:
Speeding is one of the most common causes of road traffic accidents. If another driver is driving above the speed limit they are more likely to cause an accident as they may lose control of their car and hit another driver. In such cases, injuries may be more serious as with high speed may come harder impact and less time for the other driver to react.
Disobeying the Rules of the Road
There is a universal expectation that all road users will obey the rules of the road, however, there are times when people will ignore the rules and accidents can occur. Injuries will depend on how fast both parties are travelling and the circumstances of the accident.
Failing to Stop at a Red Light
There is a common expectation that all road users will obey the traffic lights. If any rules are broken the lives of others are put at risk. In a recent Motor Insurance Poll carried out by the AA, 7.6% of drivers in Ireland break red lights at least occasionally. With oncoming traffic, if somebody breaks a light the liability may rest with them if they caused an accident.
Driver fatigue is a common cause of car accidents, particularly for those driving longer distances or those driving at night. Fatigue can lead to poor reaction times and reflexes while driving and in extreme cases can lead to a driver falling asleep at the wheel causing an accident. This can be a common cause of a hit and run accident as drivers may not be fully aware of the surroundings.
Using a Mobile Phone While Driving
One of the most common causes of road traffic accidents is a driver using their phone behind the wheel. Since 2014, the use of mobile phones while driving has been illegal. Using a phone can distract a person in a number of ways and cause them to drive outside of their lane, become distracted and can also affect the speed they are driving at. This is a common cause of hit and run accidents as the person liable may not want it to be known that they were using their phone.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
In most recent stats published by the Health Research Board, Ireland is among the highest alcohol consuming countries in the EU. According to RSA’s most recent report, 38% of all fatalities and other road collisions involved drivers who had consumed alcohol. Alcohol and drugs impair a person’s driving ability and increase the risk of a collision. People who drive at the legal limit are 6 times more likely to be involved in a collision. When you drive under the influence you are breaking one of the most important rules of the road. This is commonly associated with hit and run accidents as people who cause an accident as a result of drink driving will not want to be found above the legal limit.
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.