Injury Claims for Car Passengers

Injury Claims for Car Passengers

Perhaps counter-intuitively, passengers of cars involved in accidents will often sustain more severe injuries than those driving the car.

This may be because the driver will be more aware of surrounding traffic conditions, and when a collision is about to occur, may have a moment or so longer to prepare themselves before it happens, even if it’s just bracing themselves.

From a legal perspective, car passengers that have been injured in a crash have strong ground on which to seek compensation. That said, it is not always straightforward and it may be difficult to secure a fair and appropriate settlement.

To discuss your accident in confidence and without any obligation to proceed with a claim please call us now on freephone 1800-844 306. We specialise in Road Traffic Accidents so our solicitors are all experts in this area.

Scenarios Involving Car Passenger Accidents

The most common type of car accident for which passengers claim compensation entails the rear-ending of the car by another vehicle. In this instance, the passenger will often sustain whiplash, and may suffer more severe symptoms as the driver may have had time to brace for the impact.

However, the passenger may not always involved in a car accident that entails a negligent road user. For example, the driver of the car in which the passenger is seated may have caused the crash, or it may have been caused by hazardous road conditions. Additionally, the passenger may be in a taxi.

As many passengers will be in a car with either a family member or friend, he or she may be hesitant to make a claim for compensation. However, aside from losing any “no claims bonuses” on his or her insurance, claiming for compensation against a negligent driver will not cost him or her anything else financially. Any resulting settlement of compensation will not be paid by the negligent driver, but rather his or her insurance company.

Steps to Follow After a Car Accident

Being involved in any way with a car accident can be immensely stressful, and as it is a new experience for most people, it can be hard to discern the correct procedure to follow.

Before anything else, it is imperative that you see to your own health first.

If, in the immediate aftermath, it is apparent that people have been injured, an ambulance and the Gardaí should be called. The Gardaí may chose not to attend the scene: in this instance, injury-permitting, you should try to visit your local Garda station as soon as possible and file a report detailing the accident.

If your injuries are not severe enough for an ambulance, you should still visit an Accident and Emergency Department, or make an emergency appointment with your GP.

Not only is this important for your health, but if there is an unjustifiable period between the accident and the discovery of your injury, the claim for compensation may be contested as it is harder to show that the injury was caused by the accident and not another accident that happened in the interim.

It is also important to carry out certain “formalities” after a car accident; for example, collecting the name of the other drivers, their insurance details and car registration is all advisable. If you are unable to do this, ask someone else, as it is very important.

If it transpires that some of the information you collected was incorrect, or that the negligent driver fled the scene of the accident, you should make a report with the Gardaí and provide them with any information that you do have – this can help them track down the missing driver. If this procedure is not undertaken, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (who deal with claims involving anonymous or uninsured drivers) may refuse to accept the claim.

Making a Claim for Passenger Injuries

Applications for assessment of injuries are made to the Injuries Board Ireland, a body which deals with all personal injuries claims.

car-accident-claims-processEven if you hope to settle the claim through out-of-court negotiations, it is still advisable that you follow this step, as if the negotiations break down, you will need “authorisation” from the Injuries Board before you can pursue your claim in court. Though this is usually not the case, and claims are resolved through negotiations, if you have filed a report with the Injuries Board it will likely take less time for your case to reach the courts should it be required.

It is very difficult to estimate how much compensation the passenger of a car can expect to receive. As already detailed, passengers often sustain more severe injuries than drivers, and this generally means that they are entitled to more compensation.

However, many factors – such as age, general health and severity of injuries – can impact the final settlement. The impact upon your life – for example, inability to pursue past-times or social activities – can be recorded through a diary or journal and then used by your solicitor as evidence. These impacts can then be incorporated into the settlement calculation.

There is another class of compensation, “special damages”, that can help recuperate any financial losses incurred because of your injury. Things such as loss of earnings – including overtime and pension contributions – will be compensated, as will most medical expenses.

The Role of Insurance Companies

Many insurance companies representing negligent drivers will try to save money by approaching the car accident victim soon after the accident with the promise of a quick resolution and offer an early settlement.

Though this may be tempting, as it will shorten potentially prolonged negotiations, it is rarely advisable as the offer is likely to be too low to truly compensate for all damages suffered.

The companies want to target you at your most vulnerable, and hope to save money by tempting you with an early offer. It is best to run through this offer with a solicitor first, as if you chose to accept it, and later find that it’s inadequate, you cannot return to the insurance company and ask for more.

Injury Claims for Car Passengers: A Summary

Generally, passengers involved in car accidents have a very strong position and are likely to be able to claim compensation for their injuries.

passanger-accident-claimThe claim is usually made against the insurance company of the negligent driver: if the driver is unknown or uninsured, the claim is made against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Ireland.

However, before filing any claim, it is imperative that you see to your own health and safety first by visiting the accident and emergency department of a nearby hospital or by visiting your General Practitioner.

Then, a report should be filed with the Gardaí. At the earliest possible convenience, you should consult a personal injuries solicitor for help on claiming compensation. He or she will be able to guide you through the process of filing for assessment through the Injuries Board Ireland and give you the best advice on any offers of settlements.

Please feel free to call us now to discuss your accident in confidence and without any obligation to proceed with a claim.

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