ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS

Passenger Accident Claims

If you have been injured whilst travelling as a passenger in a vehicle involved in a road accident, you can probably make a passenger accident compensation claim.

Interior of coach following a crash

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Passenger Accident Compensation Claims

Passengers are nearly always the innocent party in a road traffic accident, and their prospects of success in pursuing a passenger injury claim are high.

The trauma of sustaining injury as a passenger in an accident is no less of a harrowing experience than it is for the driver or rider. Sometimes it can be worse for passengers, as they have no control over whether an accident happens or not. When the accident occurs, they are often taken completely by surprise, especially if they are reading or sleeping.

Drivers of any motor vehicle owe their passengers a duty of care. The duty can be defined as a requirement on the driver’s part to take all reasonable precautions to prevent their passenger(s) from coming to any harm due to their standard of driving.

Equally, the drivers of all vehicles owe a duty of care to ensure they do all they reasonably can to avoid causing damage to any other road users on the highway. So, drivers of other vehicles also owe passengers in other vehicles a duty of care.

If either the driver of your vehicle (or another driver) causes an accident in which you suffer injury, the driver responsible breaches their duty of care to you. They will be liable to compensate you for any personal injury (and other losses) you suffer.

Mooneerams Solicitors are a firm of award-winning personal injury solicitors with over 20 years of experience helping injured people to make passenger accident claims.

If you, a friend or a family member has been injured whilst a passenger and would like to explore the possibility of making a personal injury claim, call us now on 029 2048 3615

What are the more common types of passenger accidents?

1.    I was injured whilst a passenger in a car or van – can I claim?

If you are a passenger in a car (or van) and suffer injuries when the vehicle is involved in an accident, you should almost always be able to make a successful compensation claim.

Whilst the amount of compensation you claim will need to be substantiated, liability will always rest with either the driver in whose vehicle you are a passenger, another motorist involved in the accident or the highways or local authority in the case of pothole-type accidents.

Sometimes it is not easy to tell who was at fault for an accident, and both drivers (or more in the case of a pile-up) may share some responsibility.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident where the driver of your vehicle, and at least one other driver dispute liability for causing the collision, get in touch with Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 and let us handle the claims process for you.

After an accident, some passengers can be reluctant to claim against the driver whose vehicle they were travelling in. This is especially so when it’s a friend or a family member at the wheel.

Remember, if it was ‘your’ driver who caused the accident and you bring a passenger accident claim against them, the compensation claim will be paid out by the insurance company, not by the driver.

Sometimes road traffic accidents occur without any other vehicles being involved. For example, the driver of the car you are in may lose control of his vehicle and collide with a stationary object, such as a road sign or a bollard.

Alternatively, if the driver travels too fast, the vehicle may turn over, and you get injured.

In any of these scenarios, you can bring a passenger claim against your driver even if no other vehicle is involved.

2.    I was injured whilst a pillion passenger on a motorcycle – can I claim?

If the motorcyclist you are travelling with was at fault for the accident, your claim is against the rider, but if another motorist were entirely to blame, you would direct your claim to them.

If there is a dispute on liability, you should initially start a claim against both parties.

Sometimes, one of the insurers of the drivers disputing who caused the accident will agree to settle the passenger claim. They will continue to argue over liability with the other driver’s insurance company over which road user was responsible for the accident. However, the liability dispute will no longer affect you.

By their very nature, motorcycles are vulnerable to debris left on the road.

Fallen branches, blown-out tyres, oil spills, potholes or other road defects can present a nasty hazard for drivers of four-wheel vehicles. These types of hazards can be lethal for motorcyclists and their passengers. Should a rider hit or go over a defect, both rider and the pillion passenger could fall off the bike, with severe consequences.

Serious injuries and fatal accidents are sadly all too often the result of a biker hitting hazards or defects on the road.

Defects in or on the road accidents involving motorcycles can be the fault of;

  • The local authority or highways authority for failing to keep the highway free from defects or objects left on the road, or,
  • The motorcyclist for speeding, mainly where a hazard is a visible object left on the road, that the biker could have avoided had he been travelling within the speed limit.

If you suffer injury whilst a pillion passenger, as a result of coming off a motorbike when it hits a road defect or obstacle, it is essential to get the help of a specialist personal injury solicitor to handle your passenger accident claim.

With claims of this kind, it can sometimes be challenging to establish whether the motorcycle rider, a highway or local authority or some other party was at fault. You’ll find the help you receive from an experienced firm of road traffic accident solicitors like Mooneerams to be worth its weight in gold in circumstances like this. So, don’t hesitate to contact us on 029 2048 3615, and we’ll be pleased to help you.

3.    I was injured in an accident whilst I was a passenger on public transport (e.g.  bus) – can I claim?

If you have had an accident whilst you were a passenger on a bus, then it is probable that the accident happened in one of the ways described in the sections above (car passenger claims and motorcycle passenger claims).

Sometimes bus passenger injury claims can also occur when;

  • The bus driver starts to move away too soon from a bus stop while you are getting off the bus, causing you to fall and injure yourself. The driver owes all passengers a duty of care to ensure their safety whilst they get on or off the bus and while they travel on it.
  • You injure yourself as a result of careless driving by the bus driver. Examples of this are when the driver brings the bus to a stop too quickly or drives too fast, causing you to fall over or fall from your seat, injuring yourself in the process.
  • Another vehicle collides with the bus or causes it to take evasive action, resulting in bus passengers suffering injuries through falling over or from their seats or whiplash injuries as they are thrown backwards and forwards in their seats.

In this case, the accident may be the other driver’s fault and as such a claim would be directed to them if they can be identified.

4.     I was injured whilst a passenger on a coach – can I claim?

Coach passengers are vulnerable to accidents caused in much the same way as passengers on buses.

Passengers on coaches sometimes suffer injury from luggage falling from overhead storage compartments due to the coach’s sudden movements or severe braking by the coach driver. If that happens, you may be able to make a claim should the luggage fall on you and cause injury.

5.     I was injured whilst a passenger in a taxi – can I claim?

When you get into a taxi, whether a black cab or private hire vehicle, you are putting your faith in the trust of a driver unknown to you. Most taxi drivers are, however, competent and professional,

Unfortunately, taxi accidents happen, and passengers sometimes get injured. If you’ve been injured whilst a passenger in a taxi, you are entitled to make a compensation claim. Whether you claim against the taxi driver or the driver of another vehicle will depend on the circumstances of the accident.

What to do if you are injured in an accident where you are a passenger

  • The extent and type of injury you suffer will determine whether you need to go to hospital immediately.
  • After the accident, if you are fit enough, you must get details of the drivers involved, including those of the driver of the vehicle you were travelling in.
  • You will need to get their names, telephone numbers, addresses (if you can) and insurance details if they have these to hand at the time (if not, try and get them in the days following).
  • Take note of where the accident happened
  • As soon as you can, write down how the accident happened
  • Ensure that you get medical treatment as soon as possible

You may be unsure as to who was the blame for the accident. Contact the personal injury team at Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 for a confidential and obligation-free chat.

If you decide that you want Mooneerams to handle your claim, we will usually be able to take it on for you using a No Win No Fee agreement; you’ll only pay us a fee if we win, and if we don’t, you’ll pay nothing.

What if the driver of the vehicle I was a passenger in was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

An example of this would be when you accept an offer of a lift from a friend who then causes an accident in which you get injured. The police attend the scene, and the driver is tested for drugs or alcohol, resulting in a positive reading for drugs or alcohol.

The driver is arrested and subsequently found guilty of an offence of driving whilst unfit due to the presence of drugs or alcohol.

If you decide to bring a claim for personal injury against that driver, how will his conviction for the drugs or alcohol offence affect your injury claim?

It all depends on whether you knew that the driver was driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you did, then your compensation claim may be reduced due to contributory negligence, and your compensation claim will likely be reduced by 20%. The deciding factor is whether you knew that the driver had consumed enough alcohol or drugs to impair his capacity to drive safely.

If you were injured in an accident for which your driver was responsible and later found guilty of driving with excess alcohol or drugs, contact us on 029 2048 3615 for further advice.

What if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the passenger accident?

  • You weren’t wearing a seatbelt; your passenger accident claim could be reduced by 25% if your injuries could have been avoided by wearing a seatbelt.
  • If wearing a seat belt would have resulted in less serious injuries than those you suffered, your compensation may be reduced by 15%.
  • If the injuries you receive would have been the same, even if you had been wearing a seatbelt, your compensation should not get reduced.

A court will look at the particular circumstances of each passenger accident case and impose whatever reduction it considers fair and reasonable.

What can I claim for in a passenger accident claim?

In addition to your claim for damages (compensation) for the injury you suffer, you also claim for any other losses directly caused by being involved in the accident.

For instance, the injuries may cause you to be off work for a while, so you can claim for loss of earnings if you are not paid whilst absent.

Other items of loss will be personal to your claim and how badly you were injured. These may include:

  • Cost of medical treatment
  • Fees for physiotherapy and other types of treatment
  • Care costs – some passenger accidents involve very severe and, in some cases, life-changing injuries. The cost of ongoing care, specialist medical aids, ongoing treatment, and even adaptation to an injured victim’s home may become part of the accident claim.
  • travel expenses to and from medical appointments

What if I suffer injury as a passenger and the driver of my car is uninsured?

A government body known as the MIB will compensate an injured passenger of an accident caused by an uninsured or untraced driver’s negligence.

So, you can make a claim, which the MIB will take over and pay you compensation for if the driver of the vehicle you are travelling in is uninsured, so long as you were unaware they were not insured.

If, however, you knew or ought to have known that the driver of the vehicle you were in was uninsured, then the MIB will not pay you compensation if you decide to bring a passenger injury claim against the driver.

How long do I have to make a passenger accident claim?

In England and Wales, you must start your pedestrian accident compensation claim within three years from the date of the accident. There are some exceptions to this rule, so it is best to check the position in your case with a personal injury solicitor before deciding to start a claim

Call Mooneerams now on 029 2048 3615 if you have been injured in a passenger accident within the last three years. Alternatively, fill in one of our quick claim forms or email us at [email protected], and we’ll get straight back to you.

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