Go it alone or instruct an experienced personal injury claims solicitor to drive car accident claims to success?
Car accident claims are the most common types of personal injury cases made every year around Ireland. The latest figures from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, the body that handles personal injuries claims, show that of the 12,966 awards it made in 2016, 74% were for motor liability.
If you have been involved in a car accident and are thinking about making a claim, before you do anything, make sure you get medical attention. Even if you feel fine just after the accident, your condition might change and you could be struck down. Your health and welfare are far more important than any financial compensation you might receive later on – so look after yourself at the outset. Also, for those who do decide to go ahead with car accident claims, you will be required to have a completed medical report from your doctor that details your injury.
Additionally, regardless of how minor any car accident you are involved in is – or how inconsequential you think it is – call the Gardaí (999 or 112). If it happens that officers do not attend the scene, go to your nearest Gardaí station and make a report. This paperwork will also be vital in making car accident claims.
One thing that is critical to note with car accident claims is never to admit liability at the scene. Even if you think you may have caused the accident, that may not turn out to be the case. So don’t feel under any pressure from a possibly belligerent other party to make an admission of guilt. Indeed, it may well be in the policy of your car insurance not to admit liability in the event of an accident.
Your Obligations When in a Car Accident
There are some other things you’ll need to bear in mind if you are involved in an accident on the roads. You are legally required to stop your vehicle and stay at the scene of the accident for a reasonable amount of time – that is, you cannot just drive off. You will be required to provide your full details to the attending Gardaí, including your name and address, the address of where the vehicle is normally kept, and the vehicle’s registration and insurance information.
If there are no Gardaí at the scene, you must give all these details to the other party to the accident, or if they are injured and unable to deal with it, someone who is able to take them on their behalf.
When that is done, take out your phone and take pictures of the accident scene, including of the vehicles involved and before they are moved. These will also be helpful in determining car accident claims, so take as many pictures as possible and video if you can.
Starting Car Accident Claims
Now we come to the question (and answer) of whether to go ahead and make car accident claims on your own or appoint a specialist personal injury lawyer to do it for you.
With car accident claims, you want someone qualified fighting your case; otherwise, there is a real risk you may get well below what you are entitled to in compensation. Simply making your application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and then hoping for the best might not result in the most favourable outcome.
It may be wise to instruct a solicitor at the start of car accident claims because in the event that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board makes an award you refuse to accept because it is too low, you may then have to embark on a lengthy and potentially expensive journey to the courts to resolve your claim to your satisfaction. At little preparation at the beginning could save you a lot in the long term.