LAWLINK – Who is responsible for a multi-car collision caused by scrambler rider?

silver and black car engine
Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash

Q: I was recently driving in a line of traffic on a dual carriage way when a scrambler drove, without warning, across the road. A car just ahead of me in the other lane slammed on the brakes and swerved into my lane. I did my best to stop but unfortunately hit the car in front of me, it was a very soft impact. Unfortunately, the car behind me collided with my car very hard, pushing both my car and the car in front ahead. The scrambler didn’t stop – we doubt it had insurance or anything similar. Currently all the insurance companies are fighting one another. There is substantial damage to all the cars, and both my wife and I are very sore – both of us were taken to hospital but thankfully discharged that evening.

Dear Reader,

This is a difficult situation. The difficulty arises in choosing who your solicitor takes action against.

It is generally the responsibility of the following driver to ensure that they leave sufficient space to the car in front in the case of a road hazard. Clearly you have a cause of action as against the driver behind you.

You state that you also collided with the vehicle in front. Your liability here, if any, should not be great. Firstly, the leading vehicle veered into your lane. Secondly, but for the driver behind the damage would have been minimal.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

You may also wish to consider bringing the scrambler into the matter. While the driver was and presumably remains untraced, any person injured by an uninsured driver or untraced driver is entitled to bring a claim as against a body known as the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). That is a statutory body which is responsible for dealing with injuries or damages caused by an uninsured or untraced drivers and their vehicles.

You and your solicitor should notify the various parties at the very earliest possibly opportunity. You should be aware that failure to notify the MIBI in good time can have adverse consequences.

You should ensure that the accident was reported to the Gardaí (given the level of the impact, I presume that it has been). You should stay in close contact with your own insurance company as it is likely that you will have to claim for damage to your vehicle from your own policy – at least in the short term until the various insurance companies can agree as to the best course forward. This may have an imact on your no claims bonus.

You should also ensure that you consult with your GP or other treating doctor as regards management of your injuries moving forward.