PASSENGER IN BACK OF VAN ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION

S1It is  a common misconception that a passenger in an uninsured vehicle is not covered for injuries suffered in an accident involving this vehicle. This is not the case unless , of course, the passenger knows the vehicle to be uninsured or stolen. The issues around the right to compensation when injured in an uninsured vehicle can be complex. Remember that we are not always dealing with a driver who does not hold a Policy of insurance but often where there is a policy but the Insurance Company refuses cover for some reason and has indicated that the policy is void.

Of course, if the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident is at fault, a claim can be made against his/her Insurance Policy but, what about the single vehicle accident or the situation where it is the uninsured driver who is at fault ?

In such circumstances, a claim may be brought and recovery sought against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland . There are strict rules to be adhered to in respect of such claims and it is most important to retain the services of a solicitor from the outset. The Motor Insurers Bureau essentially provides for payment of compensation to persons injured due to the negligence of an uninsured driver.

There is an erroneous belief that, if you are injured while travelling in the rear of a van, for instance, which has not been designed for carrying passengers nor constructed with seating, seatbelt restraints etc. you are not entitled to compensation for injuries where the driver is at fault. THIS IS NOT THE CASE !

The issue was explored by both the High Court and European Commission in the mid 1990s. The case in this instance was brought by a Mrs. Farrell who was sitting on the floor in the back of a van which collided with a wall when the driver lost control. She was seriously injured but both the Insurance Company and Motor Insurers Bureau refused compensation.

When the case came before the High Court, the latter referred to Europe for a ruling on European Law. The European Commission held that, under European Directives, Mrs. Farrell was entitled to have her claim dealt with. It held that the Irish State was obliged to reflect the European Directives in Irish Law and that, accordingly, the wide definition of “passenger” under the Directives applied and extended to describe those in the rear of a van like the one in which Mrs. Farrell was travelling.

A person travelling in this fashion and injured in a collision could, however, expect a reduction in the compensation paid.

 

* In contentious business a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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