Road Traffic Accident*

Motorway Accident Claims*

Motorway accident claims* occur when another driver causes an accident on a motorway which leads to an injury to other people involved. Motorways give way to a higher risk of road traffic accidents* and serious injury due to their marginally higher speed limits and large traffic volume. This large volume of traffic may also give rise to multi-vehicle accidents if an accident happens at rush hour, for example.

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Liability

Motorways are used by thousands of people throughout Ireland on a daily basis. They are generally a safe means of transport but accidents can happen for a number of reasons. Driving on a motorway can be different from driving on other roads due to the high speeds and volume of cars on the road. It is important that all drivers follow the rules of the road at all times to reduce the risk of accident and injury to both themselves and other road users. As a road user, you have a duty of care to ensure that you follow the rules of the road and do not act in a negligent manner. If you have been involved in a motorway accident that was the fault of another party you may be able to make a claim for damages and injuries you sustained. If it is shown that somebody did not adhere to these rules then they may become automatically liable for the accident.

Types of Motorway Accidents*

There are many types of motorway accidents all of which can lead to serious and at times fatal injuries. Making a claim against the party of fault essentially means claiming against their insurance, hence why it is essential that insurance and contact details are taken at the scene where possible. Some common types of accidents are:

Multi-car Pile Ups*

Where an accident happens on a busy motorway, this could cause a chain reaction whereby the proceeding cars behind the accident may not have enough time to react to the situation and could end up causing a multiple vehicle accident*. These types of crashes are also known as concertina collisions.

Overtaking Accidents*

Where a person overtakes one or more vehicles without checking if safe to do so they could cause an accident. Accidents have been known to happen when a person overtakes another person on a bend without knowing what around that corner and they have enough room to do so. Undertaking (using the inside lane) is also a dangerous act as may lead to an accident. In both cases, over and undertaking, the driver who committed the act may be held liable for the accident.

Speeding or Tailgating Accidents*

Speeding and driving too close to the car in front of you means that you are not keeping a safe distance from other drivers. In cases where the driver in front of you has to stop suddenly, the driver behind may cause an accident as they have not given themselves enough room and time to slow down. 

Truck Accidents*

Trucks and other heavy goods vehicles (HVGs) present their own set of risks when travelling on a motorway. Crosswinds, if strong enough may tip the vehicle over and if they are speeding they may be held liable for the accident in this case.

Motorway Roadworks

Where drivers do not head road work warning signs and fail to slow down they can cause car crashes and injure other road users as well as the workers who are working on the motorway.

Vehicles With Faulty Brake Lights, Headlights or Indicators

Driving with faulty lights on your car is a dangerous act. If driving at night and the car in front of you does not have working tail lights, if they have to stop the car in front is not given any warning and an accident may occur. The same can be said for cars who’s indicators or headlights are not working. In these cases, the car in front may be held liable for the accident.

Common Injuries

Some of the common injuries sustained in motorway accidents include:

Causes

Speeding

The speed limit on a motorway is 120km/h. As this is already a high speed driving faster than this is dangerous. Speeding is one of the most common causes of road traffic accidents*.

Driver Fatigue

It is three times more likely that an accident caused by driver fatigue will lead to a fatality. If you are tired it may be dangerous to get behind the wheel of a car. The RSA have an initiative in place to help overcome this issue. This initiative is Stop, Sip, Sleep. If you become tired while driving you should stop in a safe place, sip a caffeine drink and sleep for approximately 15-20 minutes. If you sleep for longer than this you may become more tired. You should also get some fresh air to wake yourself up.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

It is very dangerous to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This not only puts your own life at risk but also the lives of others. The legal limits for alcohol are 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood for fully licensed drivers and 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood for novice drivers.

Tailgating

Tailgating is the name given to driving too closely behind the vehicle in front. This can be very dangerous as you will not have enough braking distance to stop which may lead you to crash into the vehicle in front. You should make sure that you are at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front to give yourself enough braking distance.

Debris and Hazards on the Road

You should always be attentive of debris and hazards on the road. You may need to change lanes in order to avoid these obstacles. You should not try to move these hazards yourself as this can be dangerous due to the high speeds that cars travel at on the motorway.

Poor Driving and Weather Conditions

Poor weather conditions can make it harder to drive on the motorway. Rain and snow can make road surfaces slippery so it is advised that you drive at a slower speed. You should also keep a larger distance between your vehicle and the one in front. This should be a distance of at least four seconds.


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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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*.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist road traffic accident* solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your road traffic accident claim* it is important to have all the relevant information to hand when contacting a solicitor. Important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of the party at fault – including their name, address, contact information, vehicle registration number, insurance information. If the other party left the scene and you were unable to get their details – don’t worry there are still options for you to pursue a case
    • If any emergency services attended the scene, and their details
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Details of your injuries
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries
    • Details of any witnesses
    • If there may be CCTV in the area that may have caught the accident on tape
    • Hospitals/Doctors attended with your injury
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the road traffic accident claim* process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you did this yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important document in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or Hospital details so he can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your road traffic accident claim* will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. You solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim your solicitor will revert with a suggested settlement amount. At this stage you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the party at fault accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the person at fault reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point without ever having to step foot into a courtroom and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus of your recovery, as they focus on settling your case.

At Tracey’s we make law accessible to all — regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your road traffic accident, phone 01 649 9900 where you can speak with a member of our team straight away, or email ask@traceysolicitors.ie to tell us about your case.

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Excellent service from start to finish. Very helpfull and friendly staff, special thanks to Sylwia. Highly recommend.
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Case Settlement

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

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries following a road traffic accident*.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the road traffic accident*, for example, loss of earnings (if you are out of work), medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital). Learn more about Special Damages

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.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases* is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident* to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.

Learn more about Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors

We draw on more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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Our friendly and experienced team are waiting to answer your call. Lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

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