Road Traffic Accident Ireland
Pursuant to Section 106 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended, if you experience a road traffic accident you are obliged to report that accident to the Gardaí. If there are no injuries to report and neither party has suffered an injury the Gardaí could very well inform you that they will not be attending the scene. Not all road traffic accidents may require medical attention or Gardaí but if you are in one that does, the following information may be of some use to you.
If the accident is more than trivial and any injury has been suffered by any person, the cars should not be moved and you should contact the Gardaí straight away. If the accident is minor and the cars are blocking the road or are a danger to other road users, the road should be marked and the cars moved off the road if possible to a safer place not in the line of traffic. You should at all times be cognisant of oncoming traffic and other road users.
Once the Gardaí arrive they will take statements from the parties involved and any witnesses. The Gardaí investigation may result in a referral to the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for prosecution if deemed necessary.
If a Garda is present at the scene of the accident you must give, when requested:
- Your name and address
– The address where your car is kept
– The name and address of the car owner
– The car’s registration number
– Motor insurance details (including expiry date of the policy)
If there is no member of the Gardai is present, you must give this information to either:
a) The injured person where a person has been injured (or someone asking on the person’s behalf).
b) To the owner where property has been damaged (or someone asking on the owner’s behalf).
If for some reason the Gardai do not attend the scene of the accident it is advisable to visit the nearest Garda station at the earliest available opportunity in order to report the incident and request that they take full details of the accident.
The Effects of Road Traffic Accident Injuries
In our lives of driving, most of us will have the misfortune of at least one accident. Fortunately the majority of these accidents do not result in the serious injury of the driver(s) or passenger(s) involved.
Legally, all drivers must have at least third party insurance cover. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver who doesn’t stop after an accident, then your claim is likely to be covered by a special agreement covered by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI)
Important factors to consider if involved in a Road Traffic Accident
- Get the registration number of the other vehicle
- Take the full name and address of the other driver, and the details of the owner of the vehicle if these differ to those of the person driving the car at the time of the accident.
- Take insurance details (these are readily available on the disk at the front window of the car) including the full name and address of the insurance company and the expiry date of the policy.
- Report the accident to Gardai, as this logged information will be useful; at a later stage if court proceedings or prosecutions are to occur.
- Admit liability at the scene of the accident (this is something that is often a forgotten or overlooked element on a person’s car insurance policy and the policy can become invalidated with immediate effect).
- Take literally what the other driver says to you at the scene of the accident, particularly if the other driver admits liability, and then later in the course of events denies ever stating this.
Know safety, no injury. No safety, know injury
Take a note of the car description and registration and where possible utilise the camera in your mobile phone to take pictures of the scene and of anything else that may be useful. Of course, this is not always possible; if for example you are the victim of a hit-and-run road traffic accident.
You should be aware that as solicitor’s we can submit the matter to the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland, a body that exists to protect the victims of road traffic accidents when the party at fault is untraceable or uninsured. MIBI can act as the ‘insurer’ of the unknown or untraceable driver and can, if appropriate, make a compensation payment to the victim. Another reason why it makes sense to contact a solicitor quickly if you have any concerns or questions about your accident.
Due to the individual nature of road traffic accidents and the many variables that have to be taken into account in realising or processing a claim, it’s advisable that you contact our solicitors at the earliest available opportunity to discuss the matter with a professional who can assess the situation and quickly identify the next steps in the process.
Whether it’s whiplash from a collision (the hyper-extension of the neck, both backwards and forwards in rapid succession can lead to a common but painful injury claim. If the incident was due to third party negligence you may have a claim) or an injury sustained whilst a passenger, we can help guide you through the process; many people don’t know that as a passenger in a car accident, one can claim compensation if they have been injured travelling as a passenger. Compensation for injuries to passengers in car accidents is paid for by the insurance company of the negligence road user, local council or the MIBI.
*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.
Further information on what to do at the scene of a road traffic accident can be found in the Road Safety Authority Rules of the Road (pdf).