A Beginner’s Guide To A Road Traffic Accident Claims Process*

What is a Road Traffic Accident?

A road traffic accident is a collision involving a vehicle on a road or a public place that has caused injury or damage to a person, animal or other vehicle or property.  You can be a victim of a road traffic accident whether you are driving, a passenger, a pedestrian, riding a bicycle, scooter or horse when you sustain the injury.

Common Road Traffic Accident Claims

Car Accident Claims

You may be able to make a claim for a car accident if the accident was not your fault and if your injuries and/or damage was caused by another motorist or the conditions of the road on which you were travelling. You do not need to be a driver of the car to claim. You can make a claim if you are a passenger involved in a collision through no fault of your own.

Taxi Accident Claims

Taxi accident claims can be made if you were a passenger in a taxi, and the taxi driver or another road user was to blame for the accident which resulted in you being injured.

Bus Accident Claims

Bus accident claims can be made if you were a passenger on a bus and either the bus driver or another road user were to blame for the accident which resulted in you being injured.

Bicycle Accident Claims

If a bicyclist is injured due to the fault of a motor car or other road user, they will be entitled to claim compensation from them.

Pedestrian Accident Claims

These claims may arise where a pedestrian is injured in an accident with a vehicle due to the fault of the driver of the vehicle.

Motorcycle Accident Claims

These claims may arise where a motor cyclist is injured in an accident due to the fault of the driver of another vehicle.  Unfortunately, accidents involving motor cyclists are common and

tend to result in significant injury as motor cyclists are particularly vulnerable due to the lack of protection that is afforded to car drivers.

Public Transport Accident Claims

These claims arise if you were a passenger on public transport such as a train where due to the actions of the train driver an incident was caused to happen with resulted in the passenger being injured.

Luas Accident Claims

You may be able to bring a claim for compensation arising from an accident on the Luas if you can prove that the Luas operator was at fault through being in some way negligent in his or

her care of duty while operating the Luas.

What to do after a Road Traffic Accident?

1. Seek Medical Attention

It is very important that you should have any injuries you may have sustained examined by a professional medical practitioner, such as an A&E Doctor or your GP as soon as possible after the accident occurred. This will hopefully not only reduce the risk of any further damage but also any injuries sustained will be recorded in your medical notes and can be used at a later date to support your personal injuries claim.

2. Gather All Relevant Information at the Scene

You should obtain the name and address of the individual driving the vehicle that was involved in the accident with you. You should also obtain the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle if it is different from that of the driver. Also make sure that you get the third-party vehicles registration number and the motor insurance details (including the expiry date of the policy).

You should also take contact details from any witnesses to the accident and it is always helpful if you take photographs of the accident location (locus) together with photographs of the damage to both vehicles, the positioning of the vehicles and any debris that may be on the roadway.

3. Report the incident to the Gardai

Your legal obligations, if you are involved in a motor collision are the following: –

  • Stay at the scene – you must stop your car and remain at the scene of the accident for a reasonable time.
  • Provide information – if a Garda is present at the scene of the collision, you must provide them when requested with your name and address, the address where your car is kept, the name and address of the car owner, if different, your cars registration number and your motor insurance details. If there is no Garda present you must report the accident as soon as possible to a Garda who is nearby or at a nearby Garda Station.

In addition, you should obtain the name and number of the Garda who the incident was reported too. You may need to ensure that a Garda rReport has been filed for iInsurance purposes. Also, you should write down what happened. You should write down an account of all relevant facts connected to the collision as soon as possible afterwards while details are fresh in your memory. You should also sign and date your account (including the time) when it is completed.

4. Contact your Insurance Company

You should contact your insurance company, even if you do not intend to bring a comprehensive claim, simply to notify them that you have been involved in an accident. You are often required to report any accident you are involved even if it wasn’t your fault, under the conditions of your insurance policy.

5. Speak to a Road Traffic Accident Solicitor

It is advisable that you make contact with a solicitor as soon as possible as they will be there to assist you in protecting your interest particularly if, liability may be put into dispute subsequently.

A solicitor can assist you in dealing with gaining appropriate compensation for the damage to your vehicle (the material damage claim). They can arrange to instruct a motor assessor to carry out an inspection of your vehicle and prepare a motor assessor’s Report and will also assist in liaising with the Gardai, etc, if appropriate.

Road Traffic Accident Claims Process: How Do I Make a Claim?

Prepare Information for a Solicitor

When you first contact a solicitor they will want some basic information from you, such as when and where the accident occurred, the identity of the parties involved together with their contact details, such as address, registration, insurance details, etc. The solicitor will also require a copy of your photo id and proof of address for identification purposes and it is always helpful to have this documentation to hand together with any relevant information before you make contact with your solicitor.

Once your solicitor has spoken to you and taken instructions and believes that they are able to bring a claim on your behalf the more information you have at an early stage it will help with the official processing of your claim.

Solicitor obtains a Medical Report

Your solicitor will then write to your general practitioner (GP) requesting a medical report from them setting out the nature and extent of your injuries. In due course, your doctor will

prepare a medical report and will release same to your solicitor on payment of the relevant report fee.

Solicitors prepares the Injuries Board Application

Once the solicitor has obtained a medical legal report and gone through the contents of same with the client, he or she will then be in a position to lodge an application to the Injuries Board on your behalf, which has to be grounded on the submission of a medical report from your treating doctor usually. The solicitor will assist you in completing and submitting the Injuries Board initial application form on your behalf.

Possible Case Outcomes

Once the Injuries Board have completed assessing your case, which can take up to 9 months and in some cases longer, they will communicate to the claimant the value they believe that the claimants’ injuries and losses warrant. Both the claimant and the respondent(s) have the choice whether to accept of reject the assessment figures. If both parties accept the assessment, then an Order to Pay will issue and that will the end of the Injuries’ Board involvement.

If one or both of the parties however decline the assessment, then an authorisation will issue from the Injures Board allowing the claimant to proceed on and bring legal proceedings if they so wish.

How Long Does a Road Traffic Accident Claim Take?

A claim for injuries compensation typically takes one to three years but this time scale is indicative only and can vary with the nature and severity of the injuries involved and other factors which can vary from case to case.

What are the Legal Time Limits for Road Traffic Accident Claims?

In most cases an injured party has two years from the date of a accident to pursue a claim. If left too late and a claimant brings their claim after this time period, they can unfortunately find that they have run out of time and that they are what is termed as Statute Barred.

On rare occasions, there can be limited exceptions to this general rule, so it is always advisable to obtain advise from a solicitor who will be able to advise you as to whether you are still within time to pursue a claim.

If you or your loved one have been injured in a road traffic accident then you may be able to make a claim for any personal injuries sustained and expenses incurred.

With over 50 years of expert legal experience advising patients, we are here to provide expert advice when you need it most.

Call us today on 1800 207 207 or contact us online.

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