Claiming Compensation for Traffic Accidents

Typical Traffic Accident Injuries

The majority of traffic accident claims in Ireland are related to whiplash injuries. A “primary” whiplash injury occurs when the head has been snapped back and forwards quickly – hyper-extending the soft tissues around the neck and spine, and resulting in a stiff neck, tenderness around the top of the spine and in the lower back. In severe cases, neurological injury and a lack of sensory perception can occur when damage has been sustained to the spinal cord.

“Secondary whiplash” is not so common, but sufferers can experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue, a tingling sensation in the arms and hands, vision problems, insomnia, and concentration or short-term memory problems. Depending on the circumstances of your traffic accident, you might also sustain a level of post traumatic stress disorder or other psychological issues. As many of the symptoms of a whiplash injury do not manifest immediately, it is always in your best interests to seek a medical examination as soon as you have been involved in a traffic accident – especially if you believe that you have sustained no injury at all.

Traffic Accident Procedures

As well as seeking medical attention, if the Gardai has not been summoned to your traffic accident you should make a report to your local Garda station. The Gardai maintain a road traffic accident book (from where the Road Safety Authority gather their statistics) and you should keep a copy of your report to support traffic accident claims. You should also discuss exactly what you are entitled to claim with a personal injury solicitor, as the financial consequences of a traffic accident injury can often be substantial.

Traffic accident claims in Ireland are initially sent to the Injuries Board for them to assess the extent of your injuries and issue a Notice of Assessment. This notice informs the negligent party (or, more often, their insurance company) how much compensation you should receive. Their assessment is based on the medical form which you have to submit with your application (usually completed by your doctor) or by an independent examination which the Injuries Board arrange. The Injuries Board process takes an average of nine to twelve months to complete. See our article relating to the Injuries Board for additional information.

Traffic Accidents and Negligence

Many insurance policies now demand that, even when you are at fault in a traffic accident, you are not to admit that you are liable. In serious traffic accidents, the Gardai will establish liability and you will be able to use their report in support of traffic accident claims. However, as the Gardai prefer to allow drivers to sort minor collisions out themselves, the majority of traffic accident claims will not have this authority to rely on.

Consequently, if you are physically capable after a traffic accident, it will be to your benefit if you are able to take photographs of the scene (most mobile phones now have a camera facility) and you should always make an independent note of the negligent driver’s car registration number. Even though you may be justifiably upset, do not get into an argument with the negligent driver if he fails to provide you with all his insurance details as this information can be gathered later by your solicitor.

It is of vital importance that you do not give the negligent party reason to dispute liability for your injuries, as the Injuries Board will then decline to process your application and will instead give you an “authority” for you pursue traffic accident claims through the courts. Although your solicitor will already be in negotiations with the negligent party’s car insurance company to attain a swift and satisfactory resolution, if the insurance company feel that they can get away with paying you less than they are entitled to, your traffic accident claim may be delayed considerably.

Free Legal Advice

There are many other situations relating to traffic accident claims in Ireland that this article has not yet touched on. This is because no two traffic accident claims are exactly alike and certainly how the consequences affect an individual will be entirely unique. We specialise at in giving clients personalised and relevant information appropriate to their circumstances and, if you have been injured in a road traffic accident for which you were not wholly to blame, invite you to contact us via the form below for an impartial and practical assessment of your claim.

There is no obligation on you to proceed with a claim once we have discussed your entitlement to traffic accident claims compensation, and all conversations between yourself and solicitors are completely confidential. Irrespective of whether you have just sustained an injury in a road traffic accident or have already submitted your application to the Injuries Board, we would still like to hear from you in order to help with your traffic accident claims in any way we can.

This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.