Car accidents are the most common form of road traffic accident, and can be extremely traumatic incidents, regardless of how serious the collision is.

Road traffic accidents are the most common type of personal injury claims, with a wide range of potential injuries that can have a serious impact on your health and quality of life.

If you have been the victim of a car accident in Sligo where another driver was at fault, you may be liable to compensation by making a personal injury claim with Valerie Kearins Personal Injury Solicitors.

What is a Car Accident Claim?

Drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are all entitled to make a personal injury claim if they have been injured in a road traffic accident as a result of the negligence of another driver.

Given the wide variety of circumstances in which a car accident can occur, it is worth speaking to a personal injury solicitor to establish if you might have grounds to make a claim.

Contact Valerie Kearins Solicitors Today

If you feel you have been the victim of personal injury and you are considering filing a claim for compensation, feel free to get in touch with Valerie Kearins Solicitors for an assessment of your case.

Common Car Accident Claims

Road traffic accidents are many and varied, and there are different types of collisions which will involve different questions of liability depending on how negligence contributed to the crash.

  • Rear end collision claims
  • Side impact collision claims
  • Head on collision claims
  • Passenger injury claims
  • Roundabout collision claims
  • Minor traffic collision claims

Rear-End Collision

When your car is struck in the rear it is usually considered the liability of the driver behind you. Drivers are required to keep a safe enough distance from the vehicle in front of them to brake in an emergency.

Side-Impact Collision

When another vehicle hits your car in the side, often when merging with traffic, entering a roundabout, or entering from a junction. Liability in a side-impact collision is often a question of which driver was required to yield.

Passenger Injury Claim

Passengers in a vehicle can be at greater risk of injury in the event of an accident, as they are less likely to be paying attention to the road and traffic, giving them less time to prepare or brace for a collision. However, if a passenger was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision, it may count as contributory negligence, reducing the amount of compensation they could be entitled to.

Roundabout Collision

Road Traffic Accidents on a roundabout most often happen when errors are made by drivers entering or exiting the roundabout. Drivers unfamiliar with roundabouts may cause accidents attempting to join when there is oncoming traffic, or cutting across lanes when exiting.

Minor Traffic Accidents

Even small accidents can potentially result in serious injuries. Height, weight, and the location of car occupants all play a role in how seriously a crash can impact them. Do not assume that everyone is fine just because there is little damage to a car from a low speed collision.

Car Accident Injuries

There are a wide range of injuries of different severities which people who have been in a car accident might suffer from. They include:

  • Whiplash
  • Broken Bones
  • Concussion
  • Lacerations
  • Internal Injury
  • Nerve Trauma
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Brain Trauma

Compensation for a Car Accident Claim

Compensation for any car accident will vary greatly from one crash to another, depending on issues such as the severity of any injuries, material damages, and ongoing costs. 

Speaking with an experienced personal injury solicitor is the best way to get an estimate of how much compensation you may be eligible for.

Damages awarded in a Road Traffic Accident Claim are broadly divided into General, Special, and Material Damages.

  • General Damages refer to the pain and suffering from any physical or psychological trauma resulting from the accident.

  • Special Damages are the additional expenses incurred as a result of the traffic accident. This could refer to the cost of treatment of injuries, future treatment needed for rehabilitation and associated travel costs, or loss of earnings from being unable to work.

  • Material Damages are damages to property resulting from the incident. In the case of a traffic collision, this would likely be damage to your car.

Contributory negligence, for not wearing a seatbelt, can have a significant impact on the outcome of a car accident claim. 

While it does not prevent you from making a claim if you were not responsible for the crash, it will likely result in a reduction of the amount of compensation awarded.

Contact Valerie Kearins Solicitors Today

At Valerie Kearins Personal Injury Solicitors, our friendly and experienced team have extensive knowledge of legal cases involving personal injury claims.

Who is Liable in a Road Traffic Accident

The majority of traffic accidents will involve an element of human error leading to the collision. Drivers are required to follow the rules of the road, and the most common factors leading to a car accident can also influence who is liable.

In order to make a successful claim you must be able to show that the other driver was negligent in their obligations to other drivers, such as failing to obey the rules of the road.


Speed is a factor in the majority of traffic collisions which result in serious injuries or death, and if a driver was going in excess of the speed limit at the time of the collision, it will certainly be a factor in liability.

Driving under the Influence

It is illegal for any driver to be over the legal limit for alcohol, or to drive under the influence of illicit drugs, or by abusing prescription drugs.

Failure to Yield

Many accidents involving merging traffic at a junction or roundabout can involve a driver failing to yield to oncoming traffic or misjudging their ability to merge.

Driving while Fatigued

It is extremely important that a driver be well rested and aware while behind the wheel. Driving while overtired can result in poor judgement, with the potential to cause a car accident through a simple mistake.

Using a Phone while Driving

Using a mobile phone while driving is both illegal and highly distracting for a driver. If their attention is split between the phone and road, a driver is more likely to make a mistake that will lead to an accident.


Drivers are required to keep a safe distance from the car in front of them, enough that they will be able to stop in the event that the other vehicle brakes suddenly. Tailgating, driving too close to the vehicle in front, can lead to rear-end collisions.

Other Factors Which can Cause an Accident

Poor Weather Creating Hazardous Conditions

Poor weather conditions such as wet or icy roads, or reduced visibility from rain or fog can make driving more dangerous.

Poor Road Conditions

If the road is in poor conditions, with an uneven or dangerous surface, it can make it harder for drivers to retain control. Faded road markings could also result in drivers crossing lanes without realising, or overtaking when they shouldn’t.

Making a Claim Involving an Uninsured Driver

While in the majority of cases compensation in a car accident claim will be handled by the liable party’s insurance company, making a claim can be more challenging if you’re in an accident involving an uninsured driver.

Fortunately, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) exists for the purpose of dealing with accidents where it is not possible to make a claim to the other party’s insurance company. 

Every insurance policy in Ireland pays a contribution to MIBI for the purpose of compensating people in the event of a collision involving an uninsured or unidentified driver.

Hit and Run Accident Claims

Hit and Run accidents can be tricky to make a claim for compensation, as in many cases the responsible driver may not be identified.

In the event of a Hit and Run with an unidentified driver, or one who is later found to be uninsured, it may be possible to make a claim to the MIBI for damages and medical bills.

What to do Following a Car Accident

There are a number of steps which should be taken in the aftermath of a car accident in order to take care of yourself, and get a better resolution to any following claim.

Before any other concerns, it is essential that your health and that of passengers is your top concern. First thing to do after an accident is to check yourself for any injuries. Only after this should you check any passengers in your vehicle, or anyone else involved in the accident for the same. If someone is seriously injured, call an ambulance. Minor injuries should also be checked out by a doctor.

Exchange your personal and insurance details with the other driver before leaving the scene. You should also take pictures and make a note of any witnesses or camera footage that might be available.

If you have been in a traffic accident it is in your best interests to report it to the Gardaí, regardless of whether or not someone has been injured. If there is no serious damage or injuries Gardaí are unlikely to attend the scene, but you should make a report anyway to have it on record.

Your insurance company will require you to make a report if you have been the driver of a vehicle involved in a road traffic accident.

If you are considering pursuing a claim after a car accident, it would be worthwhile to first speak with a personal injury solicitor. They will have the knowledge to examine the case based on the information you have provided, and tell you what merit it has, and what manner of settlement might be possible.

Evidence to Support a Road Traffic Accident Claim

The more evidence you have to support your case in a road traffic accident claim, the more likely it is that a case will settle in your favour. Some evidence is essential, such as the full details of the other driver, but there is plenty of other evidence that can help your case.

  • Driver Details: Exchange your personal, contact, and insurance details with the other driver at the scene as an essential first step.

  • Passenger Details: It is worthwhile to get the contact details of any passengers from any vehicle involved in the collision.

  • Witness Details: Get the details of any witnesses who were at the scene of the collision, or Gardaí and Emergency Services who attended.

  • Photographs: If you are able, take photographs of the scene of the collision and damages to the vehicles involved. You may also take photos of your injuries as evidence.

  • Camera Footage: See if there is any dash-cam or nearby CCTV footage which might be of use in your claim.

How to Make a Personal Injury Claim

Once you have gathered the information relevant to your accident it is time to proceed with a personal injury claim, which is best achieved with an experienced solicitor as a legal advisor.

Take the information you have about your road traffic accident to an experienced personal injury solicitor who will assess your case and help you navigate the legal process. The sooner a case is brought forward the better it will be for you, so this experience is invaluable.

Your solicitor will then obtain any relevant medical records from your accident, and can also advise on what other reports or evidence could be of use.

Once that is completed your solicitor will then present your case to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, the first step in any legal proceedings. The Board will then assess the case and come back with a recommended compensation figure if it agrees with your case.

Once the PIAB has presented its recommendation, consult with your solicitor on the offer. They will be in the best position to tell you if they think it’s a fair figure. If you accept it, and the liable party also accepts, then this is where the case will settle.

It is rare for a personal injury claim to see the inside of a courtroom, but if either party rejects the PIAB settlement offer, this will be the next step in the legal proceedings.

Time Limit for Road Traffic Accident Claims

As a rule of thumb, there is a two year time limit to bring forward a personal injury claim. But the clock doesn’t always start running immediately.

In the event of a road traffic accident that two year period could start immediately after the accident, or it could be after you are diagnosed with an injury/condition which is attributed to the accident. Not all damage will present immediately.

In the event of a hit and run the two year timer could start when the guilty party in the collision is identified. If a child involved in an accident chooses to wait until they turn 18 to make a claim on their own behalf, then that is when the two year limit will commence.

All of this is why it is important to seek legal advice on your case, and the sooner the better.

Can I Claim on Behalf of Someone Else

It is possible to make a personal injury claim on behalf of another individual in certain cases in the event of a road traffic accident. An adult, usually a parent or guardian, can make a claim on behalf of a minor.

In the event of a fatal accident, the dependents of the deceased may also make a claim on their behalf. Only one claim can be brought against the party at fault in relation to the death.

Make a Car Accident Claim Today

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident that was not your fault, contact Valerie Kearins Solicitors today to see if you may be eligible for compensation.

At Valerie Kearins Personal Injury Solicitors, our friendly and experienced team have extensive knowledge of legal cases involving personal injury claims. 

Contact us today in our Sligo offices for advice on your case and your best chance of securing fair compensation for your personal injury.

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