It goes without saying that nobody plans on being involved in a road traffic accident but the reality is that it does happen. One of the main difficulties we come across in litigation arising from road traffic accidents is that it is often one person's word against the other.
It goes without saying that this leads to some difficulty in making a decision in respect of liability. This can be particularly frustrating for the innocent party especially when an accident has negative effects on someone's policy, leading to premium increases.
Throughout years of experience in this area, we have found there are a number of things that an innocent party involved in a road traffic accident should do in the immediate aftermath of a road traffic accident:
* Most mobile phones have cameras - take photographs of the position of all the vehicles involved, the images should include any relevant points to note like road markings, road signs, traffic lights, weather conditions etc.;
• Exchange insurance details and make sure to take note of the other party's vehicle registration;
• Report the accident to the Gardai/ Police. This is especially important when any party sustains an injury. The Gardai/ Police will not usually investigate road traffic accidents in circumstances where there are no personal injuries sustained;
• DO your best to find out whether there were any independent witnesses - this will be especially important if the other party refuses to accept liability!
• DON’T leave the scene of a car crash until all information has been exchanged between the parties. If personal injury is involved, do not leave the scene until the Gardai / Police have arrived.• Notify your insurance company ASAP!
• If you have sustained personal injuries, get medical attention as soon as possible. Injuries may not always be apparent at the time of accident.
• DON’T make any statements about the road traffic accident or admit liability at the scene of the accident.
• Make a sketch or drawing of the scene of the accident Interestingly, in its Annual Report, the Injuries Board reported that 75% of the claims it processed in 2012 were cases involving motor vehicles. The average award in respect of motor liability cases was €19,043. This is not a definitive list and we hope you're never involved in an accident. But if you are, the above tips should help you.
If you have a query in relation to this area of law please contact: John Bollard on 01-6794165 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org