Can I Claim For Personal Injury As A Passenger In An RTA

Personal Injury As A Passenger – How to Claim

Few of us think about the trust we must place in the driver of a vehicle we are travelling in. It is unlikely that you question the competence of a taxi or bus driver when you get a ride home after a night out. Booking an airport transfer? You assume that because a professional is driving, you will arrive safely. And what about jumping in a car driven by a friend? Surely nothing bad could happen. Unfortunately, statistics show that it can, and it does.

Latest statistics from 2021 show that road traffic accidents (RTAs) resulted in 25,892 people being seriously injured and 1,558 losing their lives. A vast majority of reported RTAs involved motor vehicles. There were 34 incidents concerning buses and coaches.

If you receive a moderate to severe personal injury following an RTA you may have a personal injury claim. Navigating the claims process can be confusing, which is why we have created this helpful guide on the topic. However, you can always call our office at any time to make an appointment with one of our highly experienced Personal Injury Solicitors.

How do RTAs happen?

It only takes a second of inattention for an RTA to occur. According to research, over one third (38%) of accidents occur due to the driver not looking properly. Other top reasons for RTAs include:

  • Failing to judge another vehicle’s speed.
  • Careless, reckless, or hurried driving.
  • Poor turn or manoeuvre.
  • Loss of control.
  • Pedestrian failing to look properly.
  • Slippery road conditions.
  • Driving too fast for the conditions.
  • Excessive speed.
  • Sudden breaking.

The speed the vehicle is travelling at upon impact can make a crucial difference to the chance of serious injury occurring. One research paper examining the link between speed and serious injury concluded:

“An increase in impact speed was found to increase the risk of serious injury for restrained light vehicle occupants in front, side, rear, and head on impacts with other light vehicles. Head on crashes were found to have the lowest impact speed for any given level of risk. The risk of serious injury reaches 1% at 28 km/h for head on impacts, 51 km/h for side impacts, 64 km/h for front impacts and 67 km/h for rear impacts.”

For passengers, an RTA can be especially terrifying as they may have no warning that an accident is imminent.

What type of injuries are caused by car accidents?

RTA injuries can be sorted into two categories:

a) Impact injuries – if two vehicles going 50 mph collide, the combined force is 100 mph. If your body hits another part of the vehicle going at this type of speed, serious injury is pretty much inevitable. Even hitting a stationary vehicle at 30 mph is enough to result in impact injuries, especially if the main concentration of force is in the passenger seat location.

Closed head injuries can easily occur in an RTA as the impact of the collision can force the head to twist or be thrown forward in unnatural ways. This can lead to the brain suffering tears and bleeding. This type of quick movement is also a cause of whiplash, which can lead to serious long term health consequences if serious. 

Passengers can also suffer internal injuries and bleeding in high impact RTAs, due to organs being forced violently against each other or the rib cage. Ribs can also break and lacerate internal organs.

b) Penetrating injuriesdeep gashes, eye injuries, facial disfigurement, and broken bones can all result from shattering glass or parts of the car/s coming loose and smashing into your body. In extreme cases, penetrating injuries can result in amputations.

What should I do if I am a passenger injured in a car accident?

If you have been seriously injured, you will be taken to hospital and treated. As soon as possible, you or a family member must contact a Personal Injury Solicitor to establish whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim. Contrary to some media-driven negative stereotypes, Personal Injury Solicitors have a strong desire to help clients get the funds and care they need so they can recover as swiftly as possible.

One element of this is following the Rehabilitation Code which provides a voluntary framework for both sides of a personal injury claim (normally you and the other party’s insurer) to work together with the aim of using rehabilitation and early intervention in the compensation process to ensure you, as the injured person, makes the best and quickest possible medical, social, and psychological recovery.

Will I have to go to Court?

A vast majority of RTA passenger injury claims are settled well before they end up in Court. This is because an experienced Personal Injury Solicitor can quickly ascertain liability using the police reports and your medical records. Disputes can develop around the amount (quantum) of damages awarded. If so, your Solicitor may call in an expert witness, usually a medical professional specialising in the type of injury you have suffered, to provide a report on your prognosis and the long-term consequences of your injury.

Wrapping up

Receiving moderate to serious injuries as a motor vehicle passenger can have life-changing consequences. However, this does not mean that you cannot have a healthy, happy future. What makes the difference is instructing an experienced, compassionate, responsive Personal Injury Solicitor who will focus on getting you the compensation you need to aid your recovery and fund any changes required to your home, career, and lifestyle as well as providing support to you and your family.

Our team has decades of combined experience in successfully advising and representing passengers who have been injured on motor vehicle accidents. We are sympathetic and understanding and are here to help you every step of the way.


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