Road traffic accidents are a common occurrence in almost every country in the world, and unfortunately Ireland is no different. Collisions between vehicles, cyclists, e-scooters and pedestrians happen every day, and quite often there is someone to blame. 

Personal injuries, emotional trauma, loss of work and even death are some of the consequences of road traffic accidents, which is why it’s important to know what your rights are and what you’re entitled to after the fact.

If you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident you can make a claim for a compensation amount, and at Valerie Kearins road traffic accident solicitors we take pride in providing expert guidance and assistance to claimants in Sligo and across Ireland. 

We’ll give you everything you need for a successful personal injury or road traffic accident claim, and in this article you can find key information that could apply to your case.

Compensation claims for road traffic accidents

As mentioned previously, there is usually a liable party involved in a road traffic accident. Compensation claims for road traffic accidents are legal actions taken by individuals who have been injured or suffered losses as a result of a car accident or any other road-related incident, against a defendant whose negligent actions caused it. 

Road traffic compensation claims seek financial compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial damages incurred due to the accident. 

Personal injuries sustained in a road traffic accident can lead to medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability or impairment, and loss of enjoyment of life. 

On top of this, vehicle damage and loss of income through time spent off work as a result of the accident can add to the overall cost of the event, making it an incredibly difficult thing to recover from. Compensation in the form of a damages payout can help with this.

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 road traffic accident claims in Ireland

Road traffic accident claims are very common in Ireland with the most common claims being:

  • Car accident claims
  • Motorcycle accident claims
  • Pedestrian accident claims
  • Bike accident claims
  • Passenger accident claims
  • Public transport claims
  • Truck and lorry claims
  • Boat and ship accident claims
  • E-scooter claims

Car accident claims

Cars are the most common vehicles on the road, and as a result they make up the vast majority of road traffic accident claims. Car accidents can occur due to driver carelessness, reckless driving and bad habits. 

Lots of drivers ignore speed limits, get distracted by their phone and succumb to fatigue, putting their lives and the lives of others in danger.

Add in other factors like the use of alcohol and drugs, adverse weather conditions, vehicle failure and poor road infrastructure and you can see why solicitors see so many car accident claims.

Motorcycle accident claims

According to the Road Safety Authority, two-thirds of motorcycle fatalities between 2016 and 2021 occurred on rural roads, while over half of serious injuries occurred on urban roads. 

High proportions of injuries were not sustained at a junction, and the majority of the motorcycle accidents were sustained on straight roads where the motorcyclist was able to travel at higher speeds.

Pedestrian accident claims

Pedestrians are a recognised vulnerable road user group, and although pedestrian fatalities have decreased substantially over the years, they are still at risk of being injured in a road traffic accident. 

As well as urban areas with high volumes of traffic, dark, unlit roads can be extremely dangerous places for pedestrians, especially if they aren’t wearing reflective, high-visibility clothing. 

Pedestrians are often injured crossing the road, or failing to observe the correct places to do so, but they can also be victims of driver culpability.

Bike accident claims

Cyclists are also highly vulnerable road users, and are often involved in collisions and other road traffic accidents. 

According to the RSA, the majority of cyclist injuries over the last twenty years or so have taken place on two-way single carriageways, with urban roads accounting for most of the accidents. 

More than half of the personal injuries suffered in bike accidents occurred at junctions, with T-junctions being particularly risky.

Passenger accident claims

As well as drivers of vehicles, individuals can be injured while travelling as passengers in vehicles involved in road traffic accidents. Passengers can sustain injuries due to the negligence of the driver, other road users, or even the vehicle’s defective parts. 

Because they are not in control of the vehicle and will likely not have any time to brace for impact, passenger injuries can often be catastrophic. 

The responsible party should be held accountable for their actions or negligence, ensuring that passengers receive the necessary compensation for their injuries and losses.

Public transport accident claims

As a passenger on Luas, DART, or any of the other buses and trains that travel across Ireland every day, your safety is the responsibility of the organisation that manages the public transport on which you were travelling. 

Travel operators must provide a safe service, and if you have suffered an injury on board or through contact with a public transport vehicle then you have grounds to make a claim for compensation. 

Accidents in public transport can result from various factors, such as driver error, mechanical failures, inadequate maintenance, or external circumstances.

Truck and lorry accident claims

Collisions or incidents that involve commercial vehicles can be particularly devastating due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. 

According to statistics from the Road Safety Authority in Ireland, HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles) represented 11% of vehicles involved in fatal collisions between 2006 and 2021. 

Truck and lorry accidents can occur due to driver fatigue, improper maintenance, overloaded vehicles, or negligent driving.

Boat and ship accident claims

Away from the tarmac, maritime vehicles can also be caught up in incidents that occur on waterways, rivers, lakes, or at sea. These accidents can involve various types of vessels, including recreational boats, ferries, or commercial ships. 

Factors contributing to boat and ship accidents include operator error, inadequate safety measures, equipment failure, or adverse weather conditions. Such accidents can result in injuries, property damage, or even fatalities.

E-scooter accident claims

In recent years, electric scooters have become commonplace on our roads and pavements. As a new mode of transport, their legal status as part of the Road Traffic Act is in a relative grey area, although they are set to be regulated in 2023

Currently, they crop up on cycle lanes, footpaths and roads, with a large number of users not wearing helmets. This puts e-scooter users and the people around them at risk of suffering a personal injury, which is why we also see plenty of e-scooter compensation claims being brought forward.

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.

Claim for Whiplash injury

One of the most common injuries that arises in road traffic accidents is whiplash, particularly in rear-end collisions. Whiplash is the term used to describe an injury caused by sudden and forceful back-and-forth movement of the head and neck, similar to the cracking of a whip. 

When a car is hit from behind, the people inside will be jolted forward, and the soft tissues, muscles, ligaments and tendons in the neck and upper back area take the brunt of the force as a result.

If you have suffered a whiplash injury in a road traffic accident, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim. Whiplash claims are aimed at providing financial support to help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially from the effects of the injury. 

This financial support may include reimbursement for medical expenses, such as consultations, diagnostic tests, physiotherapy, and pain management treatments. It may also account for loss of earnings if you are unable to work during your recovery or experience a diminished earning capacity in the long term.

Road Traffic Accident Compensation

When determining the value of a personal injury claim resulting from a road traffic accident, several factors come into play. 

The severity of your injuries, including physical and psychological trauma, plays a significant role. 

More severe injuries that result in long-term disability or require ongoing medical treatment often lead to higher compensation. 

Additionally, medical expenses, such as hospital bills, surgeries, medications, and future medical costs, are taken into account. It’s important to keep detailed records of these expenses to ensure an accurate assessment.

Loss of earnings is another crucial factor. If the accident caused you to miss work or reduced your earning capacity, you may be entitled to compensation for both the income you have lost and potential future earnings that may be affected by your injuries. 

Compensation also accounts for pain and suffering, encompassing the physical pain, emotional distress, and the impact on your quality of life caused by the accident. These general damages are calculated based on the nature and extent of your injuries.

While it is challenging to provide an exact figure without assessing the specifics of your case, it is worth noting that compensation amounts for road traffic accidents can vary significantly. They can range from a few thousand euros for minor injuries to substantial settlements for severe and life-altering injuries.

At Valerie Kearins Road Traffic Accident Solicitors, we understand the importance of securing fair and just compensation for our clients. 

Our experienced personal injury solicitors will thoroughly evaluate the details of your case, consult with medical experts and relevant professionals, and work tirelessly to ensure that all aspects of your damages are considered when seeking compensation.

Who is at fault for a road traffic accident

Determining fault in a road traffic accident is a crucial aspect of pursuing a compensation claim. It requires careful evaluation of the circumstances surrounding the incident and the actions or negligence of the parties involved.

Reflecting on your own experience and asking important questions can help establish liability and strengthen your claim.

Consider how quickly people reacted to changes in circumstances while driving.

  • Did the other party involved in the accident demonstrate attentiveness and respond promptly to the evolving situation?
  • Or were they distracted by activities that diverted their attention away from the road?

Evaluating the reactions of all parties involved can provide valuable insights into fault and negligence.

Evidence plays a critical role in establishing liability. 

Are there witnesses who saw the accident unfold and can provide statements? 

Witness testimonies can provide independent accounts of the incident and support your version of events. 

Additionally, technological advancements have made dash cameras increasingly common. 

If you or any witnesses have captured the accident on a dashboard camera or any other type of recording device, this evidence can be crucial in proving liability.

Who pays compensation in a road traffic accident

When it comes to compensation in a road traffic accident, it is typically the insurance company of the liable party that covers the damages. 

In most cases, this means that you won’t be dealing directly with the individual responsible for the accident, but rather their insurance provider. These insurance companies are obligated to pay out compensation to the injured party based on the established liability.

Insurance plays a crucial role in providing financial protection for individuals involved in accidents. 

When a driver obtains insurance coverage, they enter into a contract with the insurance company. In the event of an accident where they are found to be at fault, their insurance policy is designed to cover the damages and compensation owed to the injured party.

However, it’s important to note that there can be exceptions to this general rule. In some instances, the liable party may not have insurance coverage or may not have enough coverage to fully compensate for the damages. 

In such cases, recovering the compensation can be more challenging. It may involve pursuing a claim against the uninsured or underinsured motorist or exploring other avenues to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Furthermore, in certain circumstances, such as accidents involving government entities or public transportation, the responsible party may be a public entity or a commercial company. In these cases, the process of seeking compensation can be more complex, as there may be specific procedures and regulations to follow when making a claim against these entities.

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.

What happens if I am hit by an uninsured driver?

Irish law decrees that all drivers must have at least third party insurance cover. This means that if they are involved in a road traffic accident their insurance company will pay the compensation amount to the injured party. 

However, not all drivers who use the roads have valid insurance cover, and this means that someone else will have to foot the bill. 

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident with an uninsured driver your claim will probably be covered under the terms of a special agreement set up by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau or the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland, which is an organisation set up specifically to cover such incidents.

What to do in the event of a road traffic accident

Over the course of your time spent driving a vehicle it is quite likely that you will be involved in a road traffic accident of some sort.

Hopefully this isn’t the case, but if you do, there are some key guidelines to follow that will help you to manage the scene and support your road traffic accident claim at a later date.

It is usually not a good idea to move the cars that were involved in the accident, particularly if it was a severe one. The Gardaí may need to investigate the scene, and only medical professionals should move seriously injured drivers or passengers unless absolutely necessary. In the case of minor road traffic accidents where other road users are potentially at risk though, it may be better to take the cars out of the way. Mark their position on the road and take care when moving damaged cars.
If the accident has taken place in a built-up area, or your vehicles are blocking the road, you’ll need to warn oncoming traffic. A simple way to do this is to switch on your hazard lights. If you have a reflective advance-warning triangle, place it on the road far enough from the scene of the collision to give enough warning to approaching traffic.
If you or somebody else has been injured in the crash, the most important thing to do is to make sure they are attended to and if necessary, call the emergency services on 999/112.
If there is another driver involved in the collision, you should take their name, address and telephone number. The same goes for the owner of any property that has been damaged as a result of the accident. If you can, get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses at the scene, as these may be required if a question of liability arises.
There are various types of road traffic collisions, ranging from material damage only to fatal collisions. Not every road incident may require you to call the Gardaí to the scene. For serious incidents, or those where you suspect someone has committed an offence, the Gardaí should be called on 999/112.

You should also get the name or number of the Garda to whom the collision is reported, as you may need to ensure that a Garda report has been filed for insurance purposes.

It’s a good idea to write down a full account of the incident as you experienced it, including all relevant facts and key details. Sign and date your account (including the time) when it is completed.
Contact your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident. Follow their instructions and cooperate fully throughout the claims process.
If you’ve suffered injuries or significant damages, and believe there is somebody at fault that you can claim against, it’s beneficial to consult with a personal injury lawyer who specialises in road traffic accidents. Valerie Kearins Solicitors can provide guidance, protect your rights, and assist with insurance claims or legal action if necessary.

Steps in making a claim for personal injury

Personal injury claims can be daunting and complex – if you have suffered a serious accident or injury, you may not know where to begin in your search for compensation. 

The following steps should provide a rough guide on how to approach your situation:

Unless you choose to submit your own application to the PIAB, your first step should be contacting a solicitor to advise you on the merits of your case. Our team at Valerie Kearins Solicitors is blessed with experience and expertise in legal cases involving personal injury claims.

In building your case for compensation, your solicitor will ask you to gather evidence of the medical impact of your accident or injury, as well as third-party reports that add credence and depth to your case. You can assist the claim by obtaining your medical records as soon as possible.

Your personal injury solicitor will weigh up the merits of your claim and decide on a figure that would represent fair compensation. This is one of the areas in which experience and knowledge of the Irish legal system can be a huge asset to your case.

When the case has been structured and your solicitor is satisfied with the body of evidence you have built, they can begin legal proceedings by submitting an application to the PIAB.

How long do I have to make a claim for personal injury

In Ireland, the general time limit for making a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. 

This time limit is known as the “Statute of Limitations.” It means that you have two years to initiate legal proceedings or reach a settlement agreement with the responsible party or their insurance company.

Acting promptly will ensure that important evidence is preserved, witnesses can be interviewed, and the strongest case possible can be built on your behalf. 

While there are some very limited circumstances in which this two-year time limit may be extended, these are few and far between. 

Make a claim today

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident and believe you may be entitled to compensation, it is crucial to take action and explore your legal options. 

At Valerie Kearins Road Traffic Accident Solicitors, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial impact that such accidents can have on your life. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the process and help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Our dedicated team of personal injury solicitors has a wealth of experience in handling road traffic accident claims. 

We will thoroughly assess your case, gathering all the necessary evidence and working diligently to build a strong claim on your behalf. 

We understand that every case is unique, and we will tailor our approach to meet your specific needs.

Taking the first step is easy – simply get in touch with us for an initial consultation. Our friendly and compassionate team will listen attentively to your story, offering guidance and advice based on the details you provide. 

We will assess the viability of your claim and explain the legal process in a clear and understandable manner.

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