Can my wife claim van crash compensation if she was not driving the van but was a front seat passenger? The van she was in was hit from the rear and she sustained a whiplash injury.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

It is possible for your wife to claim van crash compensation as a passenger for a whiplash injury, however, the fact that whiplash is among the most common types of injuries in rear-end collisions – which are common types of vehicular accidents – may prove a slight obstacle. Insurance companies who represent the party accused of causing the accident are not as willing to accept their client’s liability, as the risk of false claims comes with the high volume of rear-end accidents. It would, therefore, be in your wife’s best interest to contact an experienced solicitor as soon as possible following her accident.

It is important that your wife’s injury was examined by a medical practitioner as soon as possible following the accident. The symptoms of whiplash injuries are known to manifest slowly but if there is a significant gap between the date of the accident and the date her injuries were noted in her medical history, there is the potential that the negligent party’s legal representatives could accuse her of exacerbating her injuries, which could lead to a decrease in the amount of compensation she should be entitled to.

Your wife should have had the accident reported to the Gardai, if the driver had not already done so. She should also retain a copy of the report to present to her solicitor, along with the other documents needed to pursue her claim.

Your wife would be well advised to consult a solicitor on her van crash compensation claim as soon as possible after the accident, following medical treatment. Her solicitor can evaluate the details of her claim and determine whether or not it is worth pursuing. It is highly unlikely that she was to blame for the crash but it is worth noting that she can only make a claim if her injuries can be proven to have been sustained because of another road-user’s negligence.

If the negligent party’s insurers approach her with an early offer of van crash compensation, they effectively admit liability. However, offers such as these have a reputation for not wholly representing the victim’s injuries and the impact they have had on their quality of life. Should your wife receive an unsolicited offer, she should refer it to her solicitor immediately in order to establish if it is a fair and reasonable representation or if she would be better served initiating legal action.