Major Road Traffic Accident Compensation*
Serious road traffic accidents
When a serious road traffic collision occurs, causing a serious or a fatal injury, there will be an investigation by the Gardai and possibly by the coroner. It may involve an inquest and even criminal investigation.
‘Finding Your Way’ is a publication by the PARC (Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care) Road Safety Group, for families of victims following the death or serious injury of a loved one in a road traffic collision. It outlines the steps involved in the professional Garda Investigation, Inquest, Post Mortem, Civil and Criminal cases and provides links to further information.
Duty of care for road maintenance
In certain instances, injuries sustained in a car accident that weren’t the fault of another road user, but instead the authority who have failed in their responsibility for maintaining the roads in a safe condition. In most circumstances, this would be the responsibility of the local council, but utility companies and even private homeowners may be liable for creating a hazard on the roads. However, it is worth noting, that a council’s duty of care to maintain the roads in a safe condition, is not absolute. For example if a hazard that caused your accident suddenly appeared, which the Council couldn’t have ‘reasonably’ been expected to repair in the length of time available to them, then you might not be able to make a car accident injury claim at all.
Road Traffic Accident related law
Car accident law refers to legal rules that determine who is responsible for the personal and property damage resulting from a road traffic collision. This area of law consists of the principles of negligence.
Car accident victims must prove the same basic four elements in order to recover compensation. These elements are:
- Duty – drivers have a legal obligation to obey the rules of the road and operate their vehicles in a reasonable manner.
- Breach – the plaintiff will usually be required to offer evidence that a defendant breached their duty. Breach can be shown by direct evidence such as an eyewitness testimony, a traffic surveillance video or an admission of fault.
- Causation – the plaintiff must prove causation (e.g. that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the injuries to occur). This can be provided by medical testimony demonstrating injuries are consistent with the nature of the crash and that they didn’t exist beforehand.
- Harm – the plaintiff cannot bring a negligence lawsuit unless the defendant’s conduct is what produced the damage to the other person or vehicle.
What to do to strengthen a possible minor or major road traffic accident compensation claim
- take photographs of any visible injuries
- take photographs of your vehicle/accident scene if possible
- if you didn’t require medical attention at the scene of the accident, make sure you visit the doctor afterwards, as injuries may present themselves at a later stage.
- write down all details of the accident as soon as possible, even small details which may seem minor at the time may assist your future case.
These points highlight how important it is to call a solicitor and to receive competent, clear legal advice if you have been in a road traffic accident and you believe another road user is at fault.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.