For anyone involved in a road traffic accident it can be an immediate traumatic event. A number of simple guidelines may help you at a later stage in bringing your case to a successful conclusion:-
1. Assuming you are not seriously injured and you or any other party need immediate medical assistance, we would suggest you ask firstly for the names and address of any independent witnesses who may have witnessed the accident as they are likely to be the first people to leave the scene of the accident as they are not directly involved.
2. Check to see if the other driver or drivers has an up to date insurance disc and tax details that correspond with the car registration number.
3. Obtain the drivers and owners (if different) contact and correspondence details.
4. If you think the other driver was at fault ask them to admit liability and if that is forthcoming write out a note stating that and ask them to sign it.
5. Use either a camera of your mobile phone to take photographs of the precise location of all vehicles involved in the accident and particularly the point of impact.
6. Call the Gardai and inform them of the accident particularly if anyone is injured, if you have concerns about the other driver, their insurance or if you feel they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even though the Gardai may decide that it is a civil matter and not attend the scene of the accident at least they ought to keep a record of the call.
7. If the Gardai do attend the scene of the accident seek the Gardai contact details and if you don’t agree with the other party’s version of the events say so.
8. If you think you may have either contributed to the accident or were at fault for the accident do not admit liability until you first obtain independent legal advice.
9. Within 24 hours of the accident you should write out a detailed statement of your understanding of how the accident occurred. Memory of particular events such as a road traffic accident tend to lapse after 24 hours.
10. Notify your own Insurance Company and Solicitor of the accident as soon as reasonably possible. You may be contacted by representatives of the other party’s insurance company in an effort to settle the case but our advice is not to settle anything until you first seek independent legal advice.
If you do decide to make a claim in relation to a road traffic accident or an work related accident then our advice to you is the following:-
1. Seek independent legal advice. While you might not agree with what is being said you will learn from hearing from an independent professional’s perspective on your case.
2. Gather all your receipts that specifically relate to your additional losses that are accident related. Examples would include medication, A&E costs, GP consultation fees, physiotherapy etc. These additional costs will later be referred to as Special damages.
3. Obtain an estimate of your car damage repair costs (if applicable) from the mechanic looking after your car. This estimate should also include costs for towing your car from the accident location, storage fees and car rental (usually to a maximum claimable period of two weeks).
4. Write out a statement in your own words of how the accident occurred and obtain statement from other witnesses if available.
5. Obtain the contact details of the attending Gardai at the scene of the accident.
If independent legal advice is sought a Solicitor should inform you of the following:
1. Every litigation case has two aspects to it. The first is liability or fault. Who is to blame for the accident? Is it totally the fault of one party or many parties? Would the injured party have been partly responsible for the accident? If so the claim may be reduced by the percentage the Court finds the injured party responsible for the accident. The second aspect of every case is Quantum or value of your injuries. What the Court considers your injury and associated special damages to be worth.
2. Under the Statue of Limitations Act 1957 (as amended by the 1991 Act) and the Civil Liability Act 1961 (as amended by the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004) you only have a limited time to issue Court proceedings or your case will become statute barred (i.e. You will be prevented in taking a case against a third party because you didn’t issue proceedings in time). In actions for damages for personal injuries that occurred after the 25th of March 2005 proceedings must issue within two years from the date of the accident.
3. Under Section 12 of the Personal Injuries Board Act, 2003 a claimant (the injured party) must make an application to the Injuries Board (previously known as the PIAB) in order for the them to assess your claim.
4. An injured party may make their claim themselves directly with the Injuries Board or through their nominated Solicitor. To make a claim you must fill out a claim form, enclose a medical report from your medical attendant and pay the fee of €45.
5. The Board. will only deal with cases on a quantum basis. The other party (or their Insurance Company) may decide not to allow the Board assess your claim and if that happens the Board will issue an Authorisation to you or your appointed Solicitor and if you wish to do so at that stage you may proceed to issuing Court proceedings.
6. If the Board is allowed to assess your claim that may require you to attend an independent medical examination and/or complete a Schedule of your damages (losses) that directly relate to your claim.
7. At any stage during this process the Insurance Company may approach you/your solicitor acting on your behalf seeking the settlement of your claim.
8. If you do let the Injuries Board assess your claim they will furnish you with a figure that they feel is a reasonable value of your claim. Both the Claimant (the injured party) and the other party (or their Insurance Company) has the opportunity to either accept or reject the assessment. Unless both parties accept the offer then an Authorisation issues and the Claimant will have no option but to issue Court proceedings to seek financial redress of their losses to an amount that the feel is fair.
9. The Court Jurisdiction of the any particular case will depend on the seriousness of the injury and the value of your claim. Claims of a value of less than €15,000 would take place within the District Court jurisdiction. Claims in excess of a value of€75,000 ( or €60,000 for personal injury actions) would issue in the Circuit Court and all other cases in excess of that amount would have proceedings issue in the High Court.
If you have been a victim of a road traffic accident and would like to speak to a Solicitor then please call us at Geraghty & Co., Solicitors for a Consultation to discuss your claim. At Geraghty & Co., Solicitors we will use our expertise and experience to deal with your claim in a comprehensive and professional manner.
If you have any query in respect of road traffic accidents, personal injury or any other legal matter of which we can be of assistance, please contact us herein by phone on 091-565258 or email us at email@example.com Please note that the above information is for general purposes only and does not constitute professional legal advice. If you require specific advice on any legal matter then please contact us by phone on 091-565258 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*In contentious business a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.