Road Accident Victims Compensation
Nearly every one of us may potentially be injured in a car accident. What is considered a car accident or “road accident” by Israeli law? Who may be sued after an accident and what are the relevant criteria? What does the law say about road accident victims compensation?
In this article a tort lawyer will review the relevant laws and options open to a vehicle accident victim.
What is the legal definition of a “road accident”?
According to the Road Accident Victims Compensation Law, 1975, an incident in which a person is physically injured as a result of his or another person’s use of a vehicle for transportation purposes.
What is considered “use” of a vehicle by law?
Driving a vehicle, getting in or out of it, parking it, the vehicle rolling, towing or pushing the vehicle, the vehicle exploding or burning, parking a vehicle in a prohibited place and more.
What is the legal definition of a vehicle?
Section 1 of the Road Accidents Law specifies and enumerates the terms “vehicle” or “motor vehicle”:
“A vehicle that moves by mechanical force on the ground and its main purpose is to be used for land transportation”
The definition in the law includes, among other things: a train, a tractor, a “mobile machine” that is capable of moving on the road and a vehicle being towed or supported by a motor vehicle.
Who is considered “a person injured in vehicle accident”?
A person who was injured physically or financially in a car accident when the offender did not intend to injure him, whether it was a driver, passenger or pedestrian.
Important: In certain situations a person injured in a car accident will be considered as such even if they were partially to blame for the incident.
What counts as “damage”?
Apart from the obvious – physical injury, illness caused as a result of the accident or loss of life – damages may also be accrued mental or intellectual injury and even damage to a device used for the functioning of one of the body organs.
Who is responsible in case of injury?
In the case of an injury as defined according to the Road Accidents Law, the tort liability to compensate the injured party is on the offender. According to section 2 (a) of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Ordinance [new version], 1970, every car owner must insure their vehicle with compulsory insurance. This means that in the event of an injury, the offender’s insurer is the party to be sued.
Karnit Foundation for Road Accident Victims
When can’t the insurance company be sued? What can the victim do in such a case?
We’re talking about instances where the vehicle is not legally insured, or where the vehicle is used illegally, or in a situation where it is not known who the offending vehicle belonged to (“hit and run” accidents), and other cases listed in the law.
In order to take care of exactly these situations, in accordance with the provision of the law (section 10), a special fund was established, called: “Karnit”.
The purpose of the fund is to compensate the injured party in the situations listed above, when the insurance company of the offending driver cannot be sued. Moreover, there may be cases in which the injured party is not entitled to compensation due to one of the causes mentioned in the law, and the injured party’s dependents (usually their family members) will be entitled to claim compensation from the fund.
Important: In addition to the above, Karnit is responsible for compensating an Israeli or foreign tourist who has been harmed in areas under the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority. The amounts of compensation will be the same as the amount of compensation entitled to a person who was injured in an area of Israel to which their insurance policy is applicable (section 12 (d) of the Road Accidents Law).
To whom do the provisions of the Road Accidents not apply?
The provisions do not apply in certain cases, including: when a person intentionally caused an accident, a person who used the vehicle to commit a crime or aid in committing a crime, a person who used the vehicle without permission or without insurance or without a proper license (unless the license expired because they did not pay the associated fee) and more.
What to do in case of injury as a result of a car accident?
- The details of the offending driver and the insurance company with which they are insured must be taken.
(It is possible and recommended to photograph the injury, its location, and if possible obtain additional photographs.)
It is important to file a complaint with the police even if they were not present at the scene.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible – this should be done even if there is no external physical injury and even if there is no feeling of physical pain. The initial complaint must state the injury, its location and all the feelings that accompany it. Of course the cause must be noted and linked to the injury. Also, make sure that everything said is recorded and documented in the medical summary.
- If necessary, consult a psychologist or psychiatrist – in cases where the injury or incident resulted in anxiety, fears or traumatic flashbacks caused as a result of the accident.
- It is recommended to contact a lawyer who specializes in the field, in order to get the full picture of the proceedings, to receive proper guidance and if necessary to claim compensation from the body that will be found responsible for the damage caused by the injury.
- As in any tort case, every document, photocopy and receipt of a financial expense that resulted from the accident must be kept. Ensure documentation of any medical visit, police complaint or opinion relevant to the incident.
This article is not an alternative to legal or medical advice for the injury or damage caused as a result of a car accident.
Contact a lawyer who specializes in torts and cases
Our law firm assists victims of vehicle accidents and other incidents to receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us to schedule a consultation with a tort lawyer at our office in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem