Identifying the Right Respondent in a Car Accident Claim
When you think of an accident, the first image that comes to the mind is almost always that of a car crash. Road traffic accident is perhaps one of the most common types of accidents, and therefore, this association. If you were injured in an accident, you may make a claim to obtain compensation from the individual responsible for it.
What should you do if you suffer injuries in a car crash? The first thing you must do is seek medical help. The next task is to report it to the Gardai. If you want to make an injury claim to the Injuries Board Ireland, you need to fill up an application form.
One of the details you need to provide in this form is the identity of the respondent, i.e., the entity you hold responsible for the accident and your injuries. Different individuals or organisations may be responsible for a car accident; how do you determine the right respondent? Here are a few probabilities.
If the accident was caused by a reckless driver, he/she is the right respondent. You need to name him/her on the application form. You have to provide details such as his/her name and address as well as the name and address of their insurance company.
You may be able to find these details from the individual at the site of the accident. However, keep in mind that you may have to provide your details as well. If the driver causing the accident flees from the scene, you may still be able to get his/her details from the registration number of the vehicle.
If the accident was caused due to a defect in the vehicle, the driver may or may not be the only defendant. The driver and/or the owner of the vehicle may still be partially responsible for the accident as they failed to detect the problem.
However, they may not be the only defendants. The manufacturer or dealer of the defective vehicle or a part of the vehicle may also be responsible for the accident and your injuries. Again, a repair and maintenance service that has failed to notice the defect in the car may also be named as a liable party on the application form.
If the accident was caused by an uninsured driver, you must report the incident to the Motor Insurers Bureau Ireland. This is also applicable if you fail to notice the vehicle registration number and the driver flees from the scene of the accident.
You need to name the Bureau as the respondent in such cases. However, before this, they must ensure that the driver who caused the accident was uninsured. After you submit the application form, the Bureau may ask you for an interview or arrange a separate medical assessment by the Injuries Board Ireland.
The next question is – do you need to appoint a solicitor to make a claim? If you are sure that the negligence of the driver resulted in the accident, you may make the claim to the Injuries Board on your own. You need not seek the help of a solicitor in such a situation.
However, if you have a little doubt about the identity of the respondent, it is best to consult a solicitor. This is also a good idea if you think that your negligence is also partially responsible for the road traffic accident. Legal advice may help you determine the right respondent to name on the application form.
Failure to do this may result in complications later. You may end up with a claim against the wrong entity. Even worse, you may end up with no claim at all if you fail to name the right respondent on the application form.