Motor Accidents

Motor Accidents

Following a road traffic accident the Gardaí should be notified immediately and where a person has suffered serious injuries an ambulance should be called. If the Gardaí do not attend at the scene you should go to the nearest Garda Station and report the accident and furnish them with full details of the accident. They will then record the details of the accident on their system. Where a claim is made against a driver the insurance company involved will often write to the Garda Station seeking confirmation that they either attended at the scene of the accident or that the accident was reported to them by one of the drivers involved and the details of the accident were recorded.

At the scene

If the Gardaí do not attend at the scene take down the registration number of the other vehicle involved, together with insurance details which are available on the insurance disc displayed on the windscreen of the vehicle. Each driver should exchange insurance details. Take down the full name and address of the other driver and the full name and address of the owner of the vehicle if it is owned by a different person.

It is essential that liability is not admitted at the scene of the accident even where one party appears to be clearly at fault.  The shock of an accident may impair a party’s ability to properly appreciate the circumstances of the accident.  Each driver should notify their insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. It is important that you obtain and exchange all necessary details before you leave the scene of the accident as it will save a lot of work at a later stage.

Damage to your vehicle

When there is damage to your vehicle the insurance company after being notified of the accident will send out an assessor. The assessor will need to inspect the vehicle before it is repaired. They will then prepare a report outlining the damage done to the vehicle in the accident, together with an estimate of the cost of the repairs to be carried out, if the vehicle can be put back on the road. If the vehicle is not in a position to be repaired the assessor will provide in his report that the vehicle is to be written off and will state the salvage value of the vehicle. When the vehicle is being repaired any costs incurred in respect of supplemental vehicle hire will form part of the claim against the insurance company. Once the value of the works has been agreed between the insurance company and the party whose vehicle was damaged compensation is normally paid out in a matter of weeks provided that there is no dispute in relation to liability. If there is a dispute the matter may need to be referred to the courts for liability to be determined.

An Uninsured Driver

If the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident is uninsured then the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) will be involved in investigating the claim. They will contact the registered owner of the vehicle, therefore it is necessary to have the correct registration number of the other vehicle involved. The claim if successful will then be paid from a central fund which is managed by the MIBI. Any claim for damage is subject to an excess which is dependant on whether the claim is for damage to the vehicle only or whether a claim is also being made in respect of personal injuries which have been sustained in the accident. A percentage of the fee of each policy of motor insurance is paid into this central fund to ensure that funds are available to deal with claims which are caused by uninsured drivers.

Where a vehicle involved in an accident is unidentified or the driver of the vehicle cannot be traced the MIBI may be liable to pay out compensation. However the injured party would need to prove that the untraced driver was at fault for the accident.

provides an independent assessment of personal injury claims for compensation following an accident. They assess claims provided that there are no legal disputes between the parties. An application is made to PIAB lodging the relevant forms, medical report and the appropriate fee. When PIAB assess the claim they may recommend a compensation award. It is important to be properly advised throughout the process in order that the claim is presented appropriately and that full consideration is given to any offer suggested by PIAB before it is accepted by either party. If either side rejects the award then the matter can be referred to the courts.

How long do you have to take a claim?

The normal timeframe within which you must take a claim is two years from the date of the accident. There are however a number of exceptions to this rule.  It is prudent to seek legal advice promptly where necessary.

Going to Court

Between either negotiations or satisfactory assessment at PIAB many cases are resolved without the requirement for litigation. However if no settlement has been reached or an award considered unsatisfactory is made by PIAB, then legal proceedings can be issued by the injured party. In court evidence will be heard by each side and relevant experts (e.g doctor, engineer etcetera) will be called to give evidence. After hearing the representations of both sides the Judge will reach a verdict about the case and will make his or her ruling.

The duration of a case will depend on the complexity of the matter and whether or not the case needs to go the full distance to a hearing.


This information is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. No liability is accepted by Hammond Good, Solicitors for any action taken in reliance on the information contained therein. Any and all information is subject to change. For further information on the subject, please contact the author, Joyce A. Good Hammond, at