Road Users Responsibility
All road users have a duty of care to ensure that they are driving safely and do not cause harm to those around them in another vehicle. If you are thinking about making a side impact collision claim you must first be able to prove that you were not responsible and that the accident was caused by another person. In these claims, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault so it is important to gather as much information as possible at the time of the accident.
Causes of Side Impact Collisions
Speeding is a common cause of many road traffic accidents as drivers may not have enough time to react in certain situations if they are driving over the designated speed limit. It is important that drivers obey the rules of the road in relation to this as they are putting both their own and other road user’s lives at risk.
Dangerous driving can lead to collisions leaving people with serious injuries. Acting negligently while driving can lead to injuries such as concussion and brain damage. While using the roads it is important that you respect other road users and their health and safety.
Disobeying Traffic Lights
According to recent statistics published by the AA, just over 7.5% of drivers in Ireland break a red light occasionally. This is a common occurrence which can lead to a collision as it is not up to other road users to anticipate these actions. There is a common expectation that all rules of the road will be followed and failing to obey traffic lights can put the safety of others at risk.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Ireland is among the highest alcohol consuming countries in the EU and 38% of road traffic accidents have involved drivers who have been under the influence. Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to drive in a safe manner and can increase the risk of being involved in a road traffic accident. If you drive under the influence of alcohol you are 6 times more likely to be involved in a collision.
This is one of the most common causes of side impact collisions. Those who have been driving for longer distances are more at risk of becoming tired during the journey as they are expected to concentrate on their actions at all times. Fatigue can lead to slower reaction times and reflexes. In more serious cases the driver may fall asleep at the wheel leading to an accident.
Failing to Obey Rules of the Road
There is a universal expectation that all road users will follow the rules of the road at all times. There are times when people do not obey these rules and this is when accidents occur.
Once the dust has settled and you have ensured that you and other people involved are ok, your next step is to call the emergency services and then begin to assemble evidence to support your claim. If you do not have any of these when you speak to a solicitor, your solicitor can help you in gathering this evidence when submitting your claim. Types of evidence that may help are:
If the Gardaí do not show up to the scene, you can go to your local Garda station and report the accident and request a copy of their report.
It is important not to move the cars after the accident, unless necessary. Take photos of the cars as they are showing the impact area and include any surrounding signs, for example, if there was a stop sign or traffic lights close by.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, take their contact details and a statement from them on how the accident happened.
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.