Car Crash Claims
Car Crash Claims
In theory, making car crash claims for injury compensation should be a simple process. Once you have received treatment for your injury, you apply for an assessment of your claim to the Injuries Board.
The Injuries Board approaches the person(s) responsible for causing the car crash and seeks their consent for an assessment to take place. Once the assessment is concluded, the figure calculated by the Injuries Board is agreed, and you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Unfortunately the process for making car crash claims for injury compensation rarely runs that smoothly. You should always speak to an expert solicitor to discuss your potential claim before you make a submission to the injuries board. Call us now on freephone 1800-844 306 for an impartial assessment and instructions on how best to proceed.
How Car Crash Claims Get Complicated (Part 1)
The person(s) responsible for causing the car crash may have admitted liability at the time of the accident, but their insurance company could want another look at the circumstances of the accident to see if they can mitigate their exposure to damages. That´s assuming an insurance policy exists.
If the person(s) responsible for causing the accident is uninsured, or leaves the scene of an accident without exchanging their insurance details, car crash claims have to be made against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) – an organization funded by Irish insurance companies to protect road users injured by uninsured or untraceable drivers, but still with insurance companies´ best interests in mind.
Claims against MIBI account for 6% of all car crash claims in Ireland; and, if MIBI or any other insurance agency believes you were in any way responsible for causing the accident in which you were injured, the Injuries Board request for consent will be rejected, and you will be issued with an Authorisation to pursue your injury compensation claim in court.
Insurance Companies and Third Party Capture
Even before the Injuries Board request for consent is rejected – and sometimes even before you have applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment – you may be approached by the negligent party´s insurance company (or MIBI) with an unsolicited offer of compensation.
These offers are typically lower in value than you would receive via an Injuries Board assessment or if you took court action.
The insurance company will sometimes put pressure on you to accept the offer – claiming it is a time-sensitive offer, the maximum amount you are entitled to, or that you will have to wait a year (or longer) for your compensation settlement if you refuse the offer.
In all circumstances when you have been approached with an unsolicited offer of compensation, you should always refer the offer to a solicitor.
As the injured victim of a car crash, it would not be your fault if you were to believe the insurance company and accept the offer. However, without a comprehensive assessment of the accident, the consequences to your physical and psychological health, and the financial impact of your injury, it is impossible to know whether the offer represents a fair and adequate settlement of your claim.
How Car Crash Claims Get Complicated (Part 2)
There are several other ways in which car crash claims can get complicated. One of these ways is “contributory negligence” – a term relating to any contribution you may have made to the cause or the extent of your injury.
If contributory negligence is proven to be a factor in car crash claims, a percentage is deducted from the compensation settlement to represent the claimant´s percentage lack of care.
In car crash claims, there are many examples of contributory negligence. A driver with dirty brake lights might be considered to have contributed to the cause of a rear-end accident.
A driver pulling out in front of a speeding vehicle without paying proper attention might also be considered to have contributed to a side-impact accident. Driving too fast for the road conditions might also be a contributory factor in car crash claims for injuries due to potholes in the road.
The contribution you might have made to the extent of your injury can also take many forms.
Most contributory negligence in car crash claims refers to the failure to wear a seat belt, but you could also be considered to have displayed a lack of care for your health if you failed to seek professional medical attention after a car accident, and your health avoidably deteriorated as a result.
How Car Crash Claims Get Complicated (Part 3)
If your child is injured in a car accident, you can make car crash claims for injury compensation on the child´s behalf as a “next friend”. Your application to be a “next friend” will have to be approved in court, as will any settlement of injury compensation regardless of whether it has been assessed by the Injuries Board, awarded in court or agreed by negotiation with an insurance company.
The complications arise when you have been responsible for your child´s injuries through your own lack of care.
You will not be able to represent your child (as there is a conflict of interest) and another parent, guardian or court-appointed next friend will have to make the claim on the child´s behalf.
When the settlement of the claim is approved, it will be paid into court until your child reaches the age of eighteen and becomes a legal adult.
It is for reasons such as these that claimants often choose to be represented by a solicitor when making car crash claims for injury compensation. A solicitor will not only ensure that your application for assessment to the Injuries Board includes every factor of compensation that you are entitled to, but will represent you in negotiations with insurance companies, argue your case in the event you are accused of contributory negligence, and assist you in an application to be a next friend, or act as a next friend if necessary.
For more information about car crash claims in Ireland – and how any complications might affect your particular claim – you can call us now on freephone 1800-844 306 for an impartial assessment and instructions on how best to proceed.