Accidents happen to all of us from time to time.

The primary concern should always be assisting injured parties. From a legal perspective the person who caused the accident is generally liable to compensate the injured party for their loss whether it be a road traffic accident, an accident at work or otherwise. Often it is clear who is in the wrong but sometimes it is not clear cut. Names and addresses of witnesses are important particularly if liability is disputed.

The Gardai should be called in respect of all non-minor accidents. Usually insurance policies require that they are notified immediately in the event of an accident and that letters alleging liability are furnished to them unanswered. Not all accidents gives rise to legal claims but where there is a possibility that a legal claim will arise it is helpful to take photographs and take a careful record of what transpired (your mobile phone is important in this regard). If you witness an accident it is important to realise that those involved in the accident are most likely to be in a state of shock and not thinking clearly. They may need medical assistance. Writing down your name and address as a witness and giving it to the parties can be helpful. In general a person has a period of two years within which to make a claim for personal injury after which time it becomes statute barred but there are exceptions. Solicitors are not allowed to charge fees as a percentage of any settlement/court award obtained in respect of a personal injury matter.

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