A woman recently contacted me for advice having been involved in a car accident which was not her fault….the problem was that her brother had caused the accident!

An innocent passenger who is injured in a road traffic accident is entitled to claim for their injury and other losses even if the driver of the car they were travelling in caused the accident…and even if that driver is a friend a or relative.

The brother had momentarily lost concentration and had thrust into the rear of the vehicle in front, causing his sister to lurch forwards suddenly.  She had suffered whiplash type injuries to her neck and back. She suffered pain and some bruising to her shoulder where the seatbelt she was wearing at the time of the accident had restrained her.  She had to take painkillers for several weeks and the pain affected her sleep, which resulted in her missing a week of work.

The woman was concerned about “causing trouble” for her brother.  This “crisis of conscious” is not uncommon.  Whilst the woman had suffered injuries and lost earnings, she did not want to  do anything that would result in her brother’s insurance premium increasing.

The legal position here is simple. As the brother had already caused damage to the vehicle in front, his insurer would already be liable for the cost of those repairs.  Therefore it is likely that the brother would have already lost any “no claims bonus” that his sister was trying to protect.  If the driver or any passengers in the front vehicle were injured, they could legally claim for their injuries and losses.  Therefore any claim from the woman would not make any difference to the “no claims bonus”, excess or future cost of her brother’s insurance.

Innocent passengers in these types of circumstances are legally entitled to be compensated. There should be no feeling of guilt or conflict even if claiming against a friend or family member.

Insurance premiums are calculated with the included risk of passenger claims against their own driver.  If an injured passenger does not claim because of misplaced guilt this only serves to profit the insurance company.

The Personal Injury Department at Ringrose Law have dealt with many claims like this over the years, and have been successful in recovering damages for innocent passengers.   If you are in a similar situation to the woman described above and are thinking about bringing a claim, contact one of our dedicated team members on 01522 561 020 or call in to one of our offices in Boston, Lincoln, Grantham, Sleaford Newark or Spalding.

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