The risks of being involved in a multi-vehicle accident are considerably higher on a motorway and accordingly the risk of serious injury is substantially higher owing to the large volume of traffic utilising the motorways.
Consequently, an injured person may well be subjected to a number of collisions and consequently this increases the likelihood of serious injury.
However, unlike other parts of Western Europe, motorways were not common in Ireland up until the last ten to fifteen years.
Accordingly, Irish motorists were not used to driving on motorways and whilst it is generally accepted to be a safer route for transport, motorway driving does require unspecific skills which must be acquired over time.
Greater speeds cause more serious injuries and larger compensation awards.
The speed limit on motorways tends to be marginally higher than on national routes and accordingly where an accident occurs, they tend to be of a particularly serious nature.
Typical injuries include fractured and broken bones, head injuries, spinal injuries and serious soft tissue injuries.
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Steps to take if you are involved in a road traffic accident on a motorway
There are certain steps that you should follow when you are involved in a car accident / road traffic accident and there is certain information that you should obtain before leaving the scene of the accident and this is set out below for you:
Get the registration numbers
Get the registration numbers of the other vehicles involved in the motor accident / road traffic accident.
Get the name and address of the driver(s)
Get the name and address of the driver(s) of the other vehicle(s) involved in the motor accident / road traffic accident.
Get the insurance policy details
Get the insurance policy details of the other drivers involved and in particular the insurance particulars for the driver of the vehicle that you think is at fault. This information is readily obtainable from the windscreen of the vehicles involved. It is also important to obtain the name of the insurnce company, policy details and expiry date on the policy. This information will also be contained on the insurance disc in the windscreen of the vehicle involved.
Where you have sustained an injury or you think that some other person at the scene of the accident has sustained an injury, it is important that the Gardai attend at the scene of the accident.
Your details and the details of all of the other drivers and passengers involved should be given to the Gardai who attend at the scene of the motor accident / road traffic accident. In addition, the names, addresses and contact numbers for any witnesses should also be given to the Gardai.
The Gardai compile a report and this will be made available to your solicitors and the insurance company’s solicitors at a later stage. Accordingly, it is of crucial importance that all particulars be given to the Gardai at the scene of a road traffic accident.
If the Gardai do not call to the scene of the accident, it is important to report the matter to the local Garda station and insist that the particulars of the road traffic accident, to include the location of the accident, details of all drivers involved and witnesses etc are recorded in the Garda station.
Get the names, addresses and contact numbers for any witnesses to the accident.
Witnesses to a road traffic accident / motor accident may be vital to the outcome of your claim for compensation if a dispute as to who was responsible for the road traffic develops at a later stage.
It is not uncommon for a driver of a vehicle involved in a motor or road traffic accident to admit liability for the accident at the scene and later on, to change their attitude to liability or change their version of how the accident occurred. This can happen quite frequently as people are often in shock following a motor accident/road traffic accident.
Do not admit liability
Do not admit liability for the motor accident to anybody at the scene of the accident, whatever your own view of how the road traffic accident occurred, it is always preferable not to admit any liability for the road traffic accident at the scene as it is common for people involved in motor accidents to suffer from shock etc in the immediate aftermath of road traffic accidents.
It should also be remembered that it is usually a condition of your motor insurance policy that you must not admit liability for the motor accident* without the consent of the insurance company.
If possible, take photographs
If possible, take photographs of the location of the accident before the vehicles involved in the motor accident are moved. In addition, it is also prudent to take photographs of the damage to all motor vehicles involved in the road traffic accident* so that the damage to all vehicles can be shown at a later stage if a dispute arises as to the identity or extent of the damage caused in the motor accident.
Keep a diary of events following the road traffic accident
Keep a diary of events following the road traffic accident. As part of this diary you should detail any expenses that you incur as a result of the motor accident, such as travelling expenses, medical expenses, loss of earnings, costs for physiotherapy, insurance policy excess, damage to property, car hire if required etc etc. These expenses may be claimed back as part of your claim arising from your road traffic accident.
If you are injured after the road traffic accident seek medical attention as soon as possible
If you are injured after the road traffic accident seek medical attention as soon as possible after the motor accident and always trying to ensure that details are recorded correctly by your doctor or at the hospital correctly. Always try to be as accurate as possible in giving details of your injuries.
This is important as medical records of your first attendance after the motor accident* are often requested by the insurance company for the other drivers involved and it is important to ensure that the accident and how it happened is described properly together with all symptoms and injuries arising from the road traffic accident.
If a delay occurs between the motor accident* and the first attendance at hospital or GP, it is common that the insurance company will allege that you were not really seriously injured in the road traffic accident in the first place.
Accordingly, it is very important that you attend for medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible after the motor accident has happened.
Found Quinn to be extremely helpful, and honest and laid out my case from the get go. It was a personal injury claim which we ended up settling very quickly. I could not speak more highly of them.
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Client case study: €279,000 injury compensation for accident on the M7 motorway
Our client Diane was travelling in the midlands from her home in County Limerick to Dublin on a Sunday evening in July 2008.
Diane’s car was in collision with a lorry which caused her to collide with the central median/barrier on the M7.
As a consequence Diane sustained injuries to include a fractured skull, two broken ankles, multiple cuts and bruising to the upper body to include abrasion injuries to her neck and shoulder due to seatbelt restraint.
Quinn Solicitors acted for Diane and after three and a half years Diane received the sum of €279,000 together with payment of all medical bills and legal costs.
What are the Legal Time Limits?
The statute of limitations are the legal time limits on how long you have to make a claim — these vary depending on the situation. The general rule for most personal injury cases is that the person has two years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge of the accident to make a claim for compensation. Contacting a solicitor to discuss your case will help you in determining how long you have left to make a claim.
Quinn Solicitors is an established firm of Solicitors based in Ballyfermot, Dublin 10. A large proportion of our work is personal injuries litigation. The firm was established in 1998.
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