What is Considered Personal Injury in a Road Traffic Accident: Key Factors Explained

Understanding Road Traffic Accident Claims

Personal injuries resulting from road traffic accidents can have a significant impact on the lives of those involved. These injuries may be physical or psychological in nature, and can occur when another party’s negligence leads to a preventable incident. In order to establish a valid personal injury claim, it is essential to determine if a duty of care existed, if negligence occurred, and if that negligence directly caused the injuries sustained.

Understanding the process and legal foundations of personal injury claims is crucial for individuals navigating the aftermath of road traffic accidents. There are specific criteria that must be met in order to successfully pursue compensation, and having support from legal experts is advantageous for achieving the best outcome in these complex cases.

Key Takeaways

  • Personal injury claims in road traffic accidents involve establishing duty of care, negligence, and causation
  • Both physical and psychological injuries can be considered in these claims
  • Having expert legal assistance can improve the likelihood of a successful personal injury claim

What Constitutes Personal Injury in Road Traffic Accidents?

Various Injuries Encountered

Road traffic accidents involve collisions between vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, or animals, potentially resulting in damage or harm. One can be a victim of a road traffic accident as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, or even while riding a horse. If the accident is not a person’s fault, they may be eligible to file a personal injury claim.

Injuries commonly sustained in road traffic accidents include:

  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Arm injuries
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Spinal injuries

It is worth noting that some accident symptoms might be delayed, and certain conditions may not manifest immediately following an accident.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim seeks compensation for damages caused by another party’s negligence in an accident, such as a road traffic incident. In Ireland, most personal injury claims are made against the driver, or owner, of the responsible vehicle; however, their insurance company takes control of the case, deciding whether to accept or reject offers and settlements.

Time Limit for Submitting a Personal Injury Claim

Typically, claimants have two years from the accident’s date to pursue a personal injury claim. If the time limit is exceeded, the claim may become statute barred, meaning it can no longer be pursued legally. There are a few extraordinary circumstances where exceptions may apply:

  • The claimant discovered their injury after the accident occurred.
  • The claimant lacked knowledge regarding the responsible party or at-fault individual.
  • For minors, if their parent or guardian failed to pursue the claim, the child can initiate the process upon turning 18; their two-year time limit commences at that point.

Seeking counsel from a solicitor is strongly recommended to ensure the claim is filed within the appropriate time frame. They can provide guidance on whether the claim is still valid or if it has exceeded the allowed time limit.

Road Traffic Accident Claims Process

The road traffic accident claims process can be a tricky one if you don’t have all the information regarding the procedure that needs to be followed. Here are steps you should follow if you find yourself involved in a road traffic accident:

1. Seek Medical Attention

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible following the accident. It is important to have any injuries assessed as soon as possible. This will hopefully reduce the risk of your injuries worsening. In addition to reducing further risks, your initial attendance notes from your medical practitioner will be referred to, in order to support your personal injuries claim.

It is also important to note that where you sustain a minor injury and feel fine at the time of the accident, this could progress into a more serious injury and as such you should seek medical attention as soon as reasonably possible.

2. Gather All Relevant Information at the Scene of the Accident

You should gather information, such as the name and addresses of the other individuals involved in the accident. You should also obtain the vehicle registration, to allow your solicitor to confirm who is the registered owner of the vehicle. It is also important to obtain their insurance details.

You should also obtain the names and contact details of any witnesses and it would be wise to take photographs of the scene, the damage to the vehicles and the roadway on which the accident occurred.

You should write an account of what happened, and all relevant details connected to the accident when you can, and you should do so while the details are still fresh in your head.

3. Report the Incident to the Gardaí

You have a legal obligation to stay at the scene of the accident for a reasonable timeframe. You should contact the Gardaí and once they arrive, you must provide them with your name and address, the address where your car is kept, the name and address of the car owner, if different, your car’s registration number and your motor insurance details. If no Garda attends the scene, you must report the accident as soon as possible at a nearby Garda station.

You should also gather information in relation to the name and number of the Garda to whom the accident was reported.

4. Contact your Insurance Company

Your insurance policy may require you to report any accident you are involved in, even if it was not your fault. As such, you should contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident, even if you do not intend on bringing a claim.

5. Contact an Expert Road Traffic Accident Solicitor

You should contact a road traffic accident solicitor as soon as reasonably possible. Your solicitor will assist you throughout the process and protect your interest.

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.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take?

1. The Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB)

The initial step taken by your solicitor is to submit your application to the Personal Injuries Resolution Board for evaluation. PIRB generally takes nine months to provide their assessment. After their evaluation, both you and the defendant’s insurance company have 28 days to accept or reject the award.

2. The Defendant’s Insurance Company

Although your solicitor strives to advance your case rapidly, they cannot control the pace at which insurance companies respond.

3. Obtaining Expert Reports

Efficient progress of your case requires your solicitor to gather documents and acquire reports from experts, such as doctors and engineers. This process involves you attending multiple appointments. Gathering these reports may take some time, but your cooperation helps obtain them promptly.

4. Legal Proceedings

In case of rejection of the PIRB’s assessment by you or the defendant’s insurance company, your solicitor will issue a Personal Injuries Summons. After its issuance and service to the defendant, additional proceedings must be filed before your solicitor can bring you to trial. Though most cases settle out of court, your solicitor will always be prepared for a trial.

5. Your Injuries

If your injuries have not yet healed and persist, your solicitor will continuously seek expert reports and aim to obtain a prognosis regarding your injuries. This may require further visits to doctors or trying pain management if recommended by the experts.

Guiding You Through HOMS Assist

At HOMS Assist, our team of professionals offers over 50 years of legal expertise to help you navigate the complex process of personal injury claims resulting from road traffic accidents. As a reliable source of guidance and support, we aid in calming the overwhelming experience and providing clear, knowledgeable advice. Contact us today by calling 1800 207 207 to discuss how we can assist you or your loved one during this challenging time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a road traffic accident as a personal injury?

In the context of road traffic accidents, personal injuries are any physical or psychological harm inflicted upon a person as a result of another individual’s actions or negligence. Personal injuries commonly stem from traffic accidents involving vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians.

Who is eligible to file a personal injury claim after a vehicle collision?

An individual may file a personal injury claim if they have been involved in a road traffic accident and suffered injuries due to another party’s negligence or actions. A claim can be brought against the other driver or the owner of the vehicle, if they are not the same person. Usually, the claimant must not be at fault for the accident to be eligible to file a claim.

What types of damages can be recovered in a personal injury claim arising from a road accident?

Damages recoverable under a personal injury claim from a road accident may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income due to time off work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage

What are the procedures for seeking compensation for injuries incurred in a non-fault car accident?

To pursue compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident not at fault, an individual should:

  1. Obtain necessary medical treatment and document the injuries.
  2. Collect evidence from the accident scene, such as photographs, eyewitness accounts, and police reports.
  3. Consult with a personal injury claims expert or a solicitor to assess the case and determine the appropriate course of action.
  4. File the claim through the relevant platform, such as the Injuries Board in Ireland.

How does the statute of limitations impact the timeframe for submitting a road traffic personal injury claim?

The statute of limitations sets a specific time frame within which an individual must file a personal injury claim arising from a road traffic accident. This time frame may vary by jurisdiction but generally ranges between one to three years from the date of the accident.

What is the typical process for resolving a personal injury dispute arising from a car crash in Ireland?

In Ireland, the Personal Injuries Resolution Board evaluates and examines personal injury claims from road traffic accidents. The claimant must file their case with the Board, providing evidence and documentation to substantiate their claim. The Board will assess the claim and issue a recommendation for compensation, which the claimant can either accept or reject. In case of rejection, the claimant may choose to pursue their case through the court system.

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