Child Car Accident Whiplash Claim: Motor Insurer Liability For Driver Errors

UK car accident solicitor explains how long a child has to claim compensation when involved in a RTA, how whiplash symptoms can present themselves hours after an accident, a reduction in compensation for contributory negligence when not wearing a seat belt and how your motor insurer will defend a fraudulent claim at no cost to yourself

Road traffic accident victim question

My husband was driving on a road in Essex, we had stopped to let traffic through a small gap in the road, We were stationary. A car came around the corner and hit us in the back. He was angry and snatched the keys out of the car saying he would not give them back unless we said it was our fault. We gave him insurance details. His child was in the back seat and his grandfather was also there. This was four years ago. He is now claiming whiplash neck injures for his child. He is taking us to court.

What do you think, my husband who was driving is very distressed about this as it was so long ago. The bump to our car was nothing, his was light glass broken. Everyone was fine. The child was in the backseat in the well of the car without a seat belt on. Not sure if he had been wearing one when the accident happened. The question is can he claim so long after the accident?

Car accident solicitor response

It is difficult to fully visualize the situation on the road which occurred, but if my understanding is correct it would seem that the other driver is at fault for the accident. I presume at the time of the collision your husband reported the matter to his motor insurer. Any new correspondence you receive in relation to the accident should be forwarded to his motor insurer, which was in place at the time of the RTA. If careful instructions are given – the motor insurer will likely defend the claim. In any event – liability to pay compensation will be met by the motor insurers, subject to an excess on the policy.

When any claim is made at court – the claim form must be served on the policy holder. In this instance your husband – this is a formality. So long as the motor insurers are properly notified and kept informed – that insurance will be liable to meet any liability of your husband, so there is nothing to be concerned about.

It might well be the case that the motor insurance company are already denying liability, which has forced the child’s claim to be issued in court to determine its legitimacy.

You should also be aware that if the child was not wearing a seat belt – it is difficult to understand how whiplash can be suffered. Whiplash could be possible if the child banged its head into the seat in front. If the child was found not to be wearing a seat belt – any compensation awarded would be reduced by what is known as contributory negligence, which is typically a reduction of 25% for failure to wear a seat belt.

You should be aware that symptoms of whiplash often present themselves hours after an accident – sometime even the next day. The shock of a car accident is known to mask the initial symptoms.

So far as time periods to make a claim are concerned – adults have three years from the date of a car accident to start a claim at court before it is too late, but children have until the 21st birthday to commence a claim at court. A child in English law is considered an individual under the age of 18 years.

The fact that the child’s claim has been commenced after 4 years is therefore likely to be in time so long as the child was not older than 17 years (as the 21st birthday will have passed within the 4 year period).

If your husband was injured in the car accident, a claim could have been made against the other driver who seems to me at fault for the collision – this claim would have had to have been commenced within 3 years of the accident date.

To see amounts of compensation whiplash injury claims are worth click whiplash neck injury claims how much

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