The Injuries Board tells us that more than 75 per cent of personal injury claims in Ireland stem from car crashes. Most of us own cars, and public transport isn’t that great, so we’re almost all zipping around in cars every day. This leads to almost one compensation claim an hour here!
While the Injuries Board has its uses, you’ll be more certain to get the full amount you deserve if you get professional legal help after an accident, especially if you weren’t at fault.
Your life and health is more important than money, so go to A&E, or at least to your doctor, to get a diagnosis and a date of knowledge, as you’ll need these to have any chance of compensation. If there’s a lot of time between the crash and a medical visit, it could be argued that your injuries weren’t that bad, or even that you sustained them after the crash!
You also need to report the crash to the Gardai, as they’ll note it, even if no-one’s seriously hurt. All this helps with your case. If it is a serious accident, then the Gardai will take statements and evidence which can be used later, as well as sketches and photos.
Get the names and details of all drivers, as well as any witnesses, if possible. At the very least take down registration plate numbers and snap a photo or two on your phone. In the heat of the moment, people might give the wrong address, or may be unable to speak clearly.You don’t even have to be driving a car! If you’re walking or cycling and a negligent driver injures you, you can start thinking about claiming car accident compensation.
How much compensation you’ll get is worked out by lots of different factors – your age, your gender, your occupation and your family circumstances. Your health before the accident is also important. There’s also the emotional and psychological cost of an accident, which isn’t something the Injuries Board deals with. Existing and future loss of earnings is a big deal as well, as is the cost of ongoing medical care or modifications to your home if you’ve been badly injured.
If you were partly responsible for your injuries, the courts will decide how much responsibility you bear and give you a percentage. If you were talking on your mobile when you had the crash, you may be deemed to be 40 per cent responsible for your injury and so you’ll receive 40 per cent less of any settlement.
A big temptation, while lying in hospital, is to accept the offer from the other party’s insurer of an out-of-court settlement. Don’t! They do this to save time and, most importantly, money. Once you accept an offer like this, the case is closed and you’ll get nothing more, so if you need ongoing medical help or can’t go back to work, you’ll struggle on your own. This is one reason why strong legal representation is essential after a car accident.
Anjelica Cullin is an aspiring financial writer. A resident of Kansas city, Missouri. She has been contributing to many finance niche blogs and sites for last couple of years. Ms. Cullin is a guest contributory writer of our blog.