Passenger Compensation Claims

Passenger Compensation Claims

Passengers involved in road traffic accidents often don’t realise they have the same rights to claim compensation as drivers do. It’s tragically the case that you may just be in the wrong seat, in the wrong place at the wrong time and now you’re nursing serious injuries that aren’t your fault.

The latest Government statistics show that of the UK’s 89,331 road casualties injured in 2019, approximately 30% were passengers. Unlike drivers, however, passengers are almost never liable for the cause of the road accident. Regardless of whether you were travelling via public transport such as a bus, a car or even a taxi, more often than not you can pursue passenger injury claims if you have been hurt through no fault of your own.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand that claims of this nature can get a little complicated. However, you can rest assured that we have significant experience in this area. Get in touch today if you would like more information and advice or keep reading for our guide to passenger compensation claims.

 

Am I Eligible To Make A Passenger Accident Claim?

In order to be eligible to claim compensation as a passenger in a road traffic accident, most people will need to satisfy a few simple criteria. The most crucial of these are;

  • The accident happened in the last three years, or your injury became apparent within the last three years.
  • Another party was to blame, whether this is the driver of the vehicle you were in (whether that be a car, taxi or bus), another road user, a pedestrian, or any other party.
  • You were owed a duty of care by the party who caused the accident.

What we mean by a ‘duty of care is that legally, the driver or operator of any type of motor vehicle has an obligation to drive carefully and safely – to prevent injuring their passengers and to minimise the risk of hitting other road users. If the driver fails to show due care for their passengers’ safety, and this reckless or negligent driving results in a serious injury, the passenger then has the right to claim for any damages which were a direct result of their injuries or loss. This right extends to the driver of another vehicle if they were responsible.

 

Claiming Against Family or Friends

If the driver responsible for causing you an injury is a friend or relative, you may understandably be hesitant to claim compensation out of concern the person you know will have to cover all costs. However, the claim is against their insurer and any compensation pay-out will come from them. If the responsible party is uninsured, your compensation will be paid by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). Compensation is vital to support you through any physical or mental rehabilitation, and to cover any expenses such as loss of earnings, so whilst we understand if may be uncomfortable to do so, please don’t refrain from filing a claim if you do know the driver.

 

Debunking the Common Myths Surrounding Passenger Compensation Claims

Be rest assured that even if you were in the vehicle that caused the accident, you can still make a claim. If the driver is claiming against another party who they feel was at fault, as a passenger you still have the right to claim for any injury or loss of earnings you may have experienced. As with any compensation claim, cases are taken on an induvial basis and the first step is proving that the accident was someone else’s fault. Consequently, it’s often much easier for a passenger to claim compensation after a road traffic accident than a driver as it’s highly unlikely that they’d ever been at fault.

 

What Evidence Do I Need to Make a Claim?

It’s important to gather as much specific information and evidence as you can at the time. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Staying Safe in Extreme Weather

With Storm Dennis only just getting started, slip trips and falls in the ice and wind are a serious risk. 

It’s important to remain cautious and vigilant in such extreme weather conditions. If you are in an area of high risk do not travel. Nothing is as important as your safety, so don’t risk it.

Make sure you look out for areas of black ice when walking and driving, and ensure your car is equipped to deal with emergencies (i.e. breakdowns in negative Celsius temperatures).

Be wary of public spaces like train or bus stations that will have slippery floors due to water being tracked in by commuters and crowd.

A seemingly simple fall can actually have severe consequences – don’t write off your injury if it has affected you with regards to your ability to work or travel, has taken away from your daily activities or has knocked your confidence. If you’ve had an accident within the last three years, you could have a claim, so contact Bonnar Accident Law and speak to one of our personal injury lawyers today to have an easy discussion about what you could be owed, absolutely free of charge. No win, no fee.

Immediate independent legal advice is available for anyone in Scotland, so please call us free of charge on 0800 163 978 or complete our Free Online Claim Enquiry form.

Trips, Slips and falls: How to Claim Compensation 

Slips, trips and falls are extremely common, and can result from misplaced equipment, unmarked wet areas, or defective flooring. If there is a person who should be responsible for your safety (whether at work, or out and about in public areas), then  you could be owed compensation. Call us today to speak to one of our friendly experts to have your case reviewed for free.

Possible injury-causing defects:

  • Broken pavements or walkways
  • Broken or inadequate handrails
  • Road or street repairs
  • Missing drain/manhole covers
  • Construction work
  • Pipe or cable laying
  • Damaged floors
  • Food or drink spillages
  • Wet floors
  • Snow or icy conditions – if the area has not been treated according to an agreed schedule. (The specific conditions underfoot at the time of your accident need to be assessed and the responsibilities of the property owner determined before a claim can be made.)

 

Let our expert legal team help you today — Find out if you have a claim. 

If you’d like to speak to us to assess your slip, trip or fall compensation, don’t delay.

You can complete our Free Online Claim Enquiry or Call us now on 0800 163 978 , and let us help you, today. 

 

Unhappy 125th! Then (1897) and now (2012): Lords, workers and the right to compensation…

  Unhappy 125th! Then (1897) and now (2012): Lords, workers and the right to compensation...

 

125 years ago the House of Lords debated the Workmen’s Compensation Bill.

This week the Lords debated the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

If you are concerned about the erosion of UK health and safety regulations and this Government’s attack on the rights of injured people to claim compensation, you will find the following extracts from Hansard interesting…we certainly do. 

We have interspersed the statements made by the noble Lords for dramatic effect. The wording is unchanged from the original…

Those Victorians certainly knew a thing or two about enterprise AND worker’s rights…but judge for yourself as you guess the era when dogma deputised for debate.

 

This week…

Lord Marland, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
Overly burdensome and obsolete rules stifle business. That is why we need to get rid of them wherever that is sensible. For example, it is currently the case that, where health and safety regulations impose a strict duty on employers, they can be liable to pay compensation, despite having done all that was reasonable to protect their employees.

To address this potential unfairness, the Bill will remove the right of individuals to make civil claims for breach of most statutory health and safety duties, unless it can be proved the employer has been negligent.

 

125 years ago…

Lord Belper. 

Anybody who made a statement of that sort could not be aware of the practical effect of the present law. 

There were numerous cases of accidents that occurred in dangerous employment where no negligence on the part of the employer could be proved, where the workman had not contributed in any way to the cause of the accident – cases which no human foresight had been able to get rid of, and which might be said to be necessarily inseparable from the dangerous employments in which they occurred.

He would venture to ask any noble Lord who had experience with regard to these dangerous employments whether there was not a strong moral obligation on the part of the employer to provide some compensation in many of these cases, and whether, on the other hand, there was not an equitable claim on the part of the workman to receive something to make good the injuries he had sustained in the employment in which he had taken part?

What might happen in the case of a workman, under the Bill proposed by Mr. Asquith, if he wished to recover compensation for the negligence of some fellow workman which had caused a serious explosion? It was not an unreasonable case, for statistics of causes leading to accidents showed that negligence, such as using open lights, or firing shots in mines where such was not allowed, made up a considerable percentage of the causes which had led to serious catastrophes. What would be the case in the event of serious accident?

It was possible that somebody might survive to give information of what occurred, but the more serious the accident the more complete the wreck and ruin effected, the more fatal the results, the less chance there would be of the workman being able to get any evidence to prove that he was entitled to compensation, either in regard to negligence on the part of workmen or equally so with regard to the negligence of the manager or employer.

Within the last two hours he had been looking through the returns of accidents in mines in 1894, and he found that one of the most serious accidents that had ever taken place occurred in that year.

Although statistics showed that in an enormous proportion of cases convictions were obtained where either the manager, or employer, or a workman were prosecuted for negligence, yet in this case, where the loss of life was appalling, a note in the Blue-book gave as the result of prosecution that, although the inspector thought it necessary to prosecute, yet the summons for illegal shot-firing was dismissed, because he was unable to prove to the satisfaction of the Court that shots were fired, the persons who could have given evidence having lost their lives in the explosion, so he could bring forward only circumstantial evidence.

He mentioned this to show that such a case was far from being impossible; therefore from the workman’s point of view, though he was entitled to compensation in all cases where negligence occurred, it was very likely that in a considerable number of cases he would be deprived of it owing to circumstances not within his own control and which ought not to affect his claim to compensation.

This week… 

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara.

The Government’s proposal to end civil liability in health and safety is a major change in the existing law and was added to the Bill on Report in another place. It needs to bescrutinised very carefully.

Is it really the Government’s intention that a worker injured due to an employer’s breach of a statutory duty within the health and safety at work regulations-such as failing to guard a machine-will be required to prove that the employer knew, or ought to have known, of such a failure in order to gain redress for the injury sustained?

The requirement to prove foreseeability is a very high bar of proof for an individual injured or killed through no fault of their own. Do the Government really think that by proposing this change they are sending the right message to employers about the importance of health and safety?

There has been no public consultation on this proposal and what is being proposed goes further than the recommendations made in this area by Professor Lofstedt, in his recent report.

125 years ago…

The Prime Minister, The Marquess of Salisbury.

We are now, by a wise and general revision of the principle in which the law rests, applying it for the purpose for which it was originally destined, and for which it has been commonly and most profitably employed,

the purpose of forcing all who by the process of their industry or the accident of their position have the lives of their fellow men in their power – forcing them to spare neither labour nor ingenuity nor money in making our industries as safe as possible to those by whom they are carried on. (Cheers.)

After 1897 injured employees had only to show they had been injured on the job…what can they look forward to after 2012, Mr Cameron?

Jack Straw aimed a kick at the wrong target when he bemoaned activities of claims companies and lawyers in referral fee investigation.

 

Thus, at a stroke, Djanogly kicked into touch the key finding of Lord Young’s 2010 report on the Compensation Culture (see our other blog posts) i.e. that there is no compensation culture (page 26 of the report) – it is the figment of the popular press’ imagination, aided and abetted by the insurance industry. 

 

 

Mr. Straw, the Labour MP for Blackburn, said the scandal was hitting ‘perfectly law-abiding people’ with sky-high insurance costs…

 

and what about the perfectly law-abiding people who will find their access to justice cut off?

 

Mr. Straw, whose own investigation (bit of a ‘cult of Jack’ going on here) into how even the police are taking tip-fees, prompted the select committee to re-open its earlier enquiry, said: ‘What I am clear about is that of a total of about £9billion premium income, £2billion is costs caused by people who can be accurately be classed as the parasites in the system.

 

How is he clear about this again? Didn’t HE read Lord Young’s report?

 

Mr. Straw told MPs that the previous night, while he was preparing his evidence to the committee, he had been phoned at home by a claims accident company seeking to represent him over an alleged accident  in the last three years: ’I’d not had an accident in the last three years,’ he told MPs.

‘But it shows the relentless pressure inside these very dodgy firms.’

 

Yes Jack, but you like countless others did not claim, nay COULD NOT CLAIM BECAUSE YOU HADN’T HAD AN ACCIDENT – GEDDITT?

 

Mr. Straw added: ‘Claims management companies are parasitic. In any other walk of life, we would describe this racket by referral companies as bribery.

‘These practices are leading to very substantial (insurance) increases on law-abiding motorists.’

 

Jonathan Djanogly said the Government intended to band the ‘merry-go-round’ of referral fees which have sent premiums rocketing.

 

He noted: ‘You only have to turn on daytime TV to see lots of dodgy solicitors’ firms which are part of this racket.’ He said there were two firms of solicitors within 100 yards of his own front door offering ‘£600 for a referral.’

 

Memo to Justice Secretary:

If dodgy solicitors are advertising on tv, then bring them to justice now!! Haven’t you heard about the Advertising Standards Authority?

 

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly told the committee the Government’s decision to ban the ‘merry-go-round’ of referral fees was ‘appropriate’ and had been ‘generally welcomed’.

 

Referral fees were part of the ‘sick, suing culture’ that was keeping premiums artificially high: ‘We want the benefit to feed through to the consumer in the form of lower premiums.’…and fair compensation settlements!!! 

 

He believed the Government’s reforms would bring commons sense to the system by weeding out greedy claims, noting how under the current system: ‘If you are a claimant and have no chance of losing, you are almost crazy not to sue. Why wouldn’t you? That’s what we propose to reverse.’ 

 

This is getting rather tiresome. Will somebody PLEASE tell the UK Justice Minister that an injured person wishing to make a claim has to actually prove negligence? Ye gods – does he think that people claiming compensation just have to ask the insurance companies nicely?

 

Keen to get in on the act, or is it the feeding frenzy, roads Minister Mike Penning condemned the claims firms as ‘ambulance chasers’ noting: ‘As a human being I find it very difficult that any organisation would seek to profit from others’ injury. Yet fifty per cent of claims are personal injury claims.’ 

 

This comment is about as crass and unthinking as it is possible to get, even for a government minister.

 

Critics say soaring premiums are tempting some to drive uninsured – with an estimated 1.3 million drivers now on the road without insurance.

 

A word anyone about insurance company profit margins or their active participation in and encouragement of referral payment schemes?

 

MPs on the Transport select committee report have already condemned the current system as ‘dysfunctional’. We take it they mean the claiming ‘thing’ and not Mr. Djanogly’s department…although that story isn’t over yet, not by a long way.

 

Paul Evans, chief executive of insurance company AXA UK, said increases had slowed to about a 1 to 2% rise a month but added:’ we shall continue to see continuing increases in the months to come

 

aye right enough, as he squeezes every ounce of profit out of claimants before his game is rumbled by a myopic government and an enraged public who aren’t as gullible as he thinks.

Claiming compensation for personal injury. Myth v Reality -Take 2

Another insurance industry ‘compensation culture’ myth.

 

 

Myth  

 

Most people who claim compensation for personal injury are just looking for a source of extra money in a recession – they should just ‘grin and bear it.’  For people read ‘the undeserving injured…’ 

 

 

Reality  

 

The key issue for the injured person and their family is whether they can afford not to seek damages, particularly if they are unable to continue working or have to change jobs as a result of their accident.

 

In any event, the amount of money awarded is far from being a ‘lottery’ win. In the UK damages in personal injury cases are based on very precise calculations, refined over many years, which reflect the extent of the injury and the earning capacity of the victim.

 

The process is designed with one aim in mind – to put the injured party back to where they were before the accident. Thus a twisted ankle claim will not attract a multi-million pound sum, whereas a brain-injured survivor of a road traffic accident might well receive a very large sum of money to pay for a lifetime of medical care.

 

Insurance companies know this very well and they are not about to sanction overly generous compensation claim payouts under any circumstances. The idea that hurt and injured people are scamming the system and receiving ‘over the odds’ payouts is absolutely ludicrous – but that doesn’t stop The Daily Mail reporting it as fact…

 

We welcome your thoughts on the ‘compensation culture’ and would like to know if you agree with us that the vast majority of accident compensation claims in the UK are made by trustworthy people seeking justice and fairness for themselves and their families.