Would you know exactly what to do if you were involved in a car accident? Any road traffic accident, even if it is minor, can be very stressful for those involved, and knowing what you should do if this happens to you will help to make the process less stressful and ensure that you do not make errors that could be problematic in the future.
Here at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co. Solicitors, we work with many clients who have been injured in road traffic accidents, and we are well placed to represent your interests and ensure that you are awarded any compensation to which you are entitled. Our experienced solicitors will be happy to discuss how we can help you when you contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934.
When A Car Accident Occurs
A car accident can be shocking, even if no-one is hurt, and you should take your time to think about what you need to do. According to Irish law, you must stop your car. You are likely to be experiencing panic and stress, so take a few deep breaths and check that you and your passengers have not sustained any injuries. If anyone is injured, you should call an ambulance as your first priority.
You should check whether the location of your vehicle is posing a risk to other vehicles, and move it to a safer place if it is possible to do so. Switch on your hazard warning lights to alert other vehicles, and then consider your next actions.
You may need to call for help, and you should seek medical advice immediately if anyone has been hurt. If the accident is very minor, and no-one is hurt, you may be able to resolve the situation by exchanging the correct information with other parties involved, but you will usually need to call the Guards.
When To Call The Gaurds:
You should call the Guards immediately in certain circumstances, including:
- If you believe that any of the drivers involved are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- If anyone is hurt.
- If you suspect that the accident was caused deliberately
- If there is substantial damage to a vehicle.
At The Scene Of The Accident
While you are waiting for the Guards to arrive, or if you have decided that the accident is minor enough to be dealt with in the absence of the Guards, you should do the following:
- Take photographs. If there is substantial damage to any vehicle, or if someone has been injured, photographs of the scene are likely to form an important part of any legal or compensation case. You should ensure that you take photographs of all of the vehicles involved in the accident and any other relevant details, such as road markings or local signage.
- Exchange details. It is important to exchange personal details with other parties involved in the car accident, especially the drivers of any other vehicles involved. You will need to exchange names, addresses, vehicle details and details of the insurance companies of each party. The Guards will also need to know the name and address of the driver and the owner of the car, the registration number and insurance details, and the address at which the car is kept.
- Make notes. In case you decide to make a claim for compensation at a later date, or in case another party does so, it is a good idea to make a note of any information that may be important. You should record the date and time of the accident, take the details of any witnesses and make a note of the damage caused to vehicles, the positions in which they have collided, and any damage to property that has been caused.
- Do not admit liability. Even if you believe you were to blame for causing the accident, you should avoid admitting liability and focus on the facts. If you admit liability, you may invalid your insurance policy or cause problems for yourself in any future compensation case.
- Do not leave the scene. It is very important to understand that you are legally obliged to remain at the scene of the accident, and whether you are to blame for the accident or not, if the Gardai has been called, you must stay with your vehicle. Leaving the scene of a road traffic accident without exchanging information is illegal, and this could lead to a hit and run charge against you. If any driver leaves the scene, you should pass his or her details to the Gardai.
- Seek medical advice. If you have been involved in a car accident, it is a good idea to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Even if you think that you have not been injured, it is important to visit your doctor so that you have a record of any conditions or injuries that develop later as a result of the accident, such as whiplash. If you later decide to claim compensation for an injury sustained in the accident, you will need to provide your medical records for the claim to be considered.
Claiming From Your Insurance Company
- You should inform your insurance company that you have been involved in a car accident as soon as possible. You should swap details with any other driver involved and ensure that you know the name of his or her insurer so that you can pass these details on. Your insurance company will take the details of the accident and will be able to advise you on what to do next.
- If you have a comprehensive car insurance policy and were responsible for a minor car accident, your insurance company will arrange for your vehicle to be repaired, along with any others that have been damaged in the accident. You will be liable to pay the excess charge that applies to your policy. Repairs to your own vehicle will not be covered if your insurance policy is not a comprehensive cover policy.
- If another driver involved in the car accident is uninsured, you will need to claim any compensation via the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MiBi). If you find yourself in this situation, you should work with an experienced solicitor to ensure that you know how to proceed with your application.
Making A Claim As A Passenger In A Car Accident
If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a road traffic accident, you are entitled to sue the driver who was at fault, whether this is the driver of the car you were travelling in or the driver of another vehicle. You should speak to a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible in this situation.
Claiming Compensation After A Car Accident
Under Irish law, the Statute of Limitations gives you a two year period in which to make a claim for compensation for a personal injury, including an injury sustained in a car accident. This gives you two years from the date of knowledge of the injury in which to make your claim, to allow for exceptional circumstances where the injury is not immediately apparent or the victim is unaware of the injury, for example if he or she is in a coma.
Compensation may be sought for several aspects of a personal injury, where there is attributable blame. This includes medical expenses, loss of earnings and damage to property, as well as the injury itself. If the injury is life limiting, for example, there will be many different types of cost to consider. Working with an experienced personal injury solicitor is the best way to ensure that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to, especially in complex cases.
Different types of injuries are compensated under Irish law according to the Book of Quantum, which guides the amount of compensation awarded by considering medical evidence, the severity of injuries sustained and the anatomical area that is affected.
Find Personal Injury Solicitors in Cork
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. The time frame in which you can claim for the compensation to which you are entitled makes it imperative to begin proceedings straight away.
Talk to our personal injury specialists at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors to find out how much compensation you may be entitled to. Our priority is to protect your interests throughout the process, and we are a friendly and approachable team. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to see how we can help.