How can a Personal Accident Policy help you after a road traffic collision?

A Personal Accident Policy (“PAP”) is often included as part of a policy of motor insurance, or purchased separately at the same time as an “add on” to that policy.

In some cases a person may have purchased a PAP completely separate to the car insurance policy and therefore enquiries of whether a PAP is elsewhere available should be made.

The PAP, if available, will typically cover a situation where the driver and/or occupants of a car suffer injury or death after a road traffic collision. The PAP if applicable will state a fixed amount that would be paid by the Personal Accident Insurer to the injured person for the injury sustained.

I recently received from one major insurance company the wording for one PAP that stated as follows:

We will pay:

You or any other person in your car who is accidentally injured while travelling in or getting into or out of your car, and this injury alone results within three calendar months in:

  1. Death; or

  2. Permanent and total loss of sight in one or both eyes; or

  3. Loss of, or permanent and total loss of use of, one or more limbs at or above the elbow or knee.

The most we will pay:

The most we will pay the injured person or their legal representatives is £5,000 in respect of death, loss of limbs or sight.

It therefore follows that if you are involved in a road traffic collision then your solicitor should explore with you whether at the incident time there was in place a PAP otherwise if one is available but not claimed then you would not receive the benefit payable under the policy.

The payment of a PAP is made separate to a claim for personal injury compensation (as per Parry -v- Cleaver). The PAP payment is often made quite soon after the accident and therefore can financially assist those injured – particularly so in cases where liability in the personal injury claim is denied.

I set out examples of two recent cases where I successfully recovered payments for my clients under a PAP in addition to the separate payments made in their successful personal injury claims:

Example 1

I was instructed on behalf of the family of a passenger who sadly died when two vehicles collided. There was a dispute as to responsibility for the collision between the two drivers and although the passenger was innocent both motor insurers refused to deal with the passengers claim. Whilst addressing the claim arising out of the car crash I asked the motor insurer if there was a PAP who confirmed that there was one available. I was provided with a copy of the policy wording that confirmed in the event of death of an occupant in the vehicle a payment of £25,000 would be made. I duly applied for the payment, providing a copy of the death certificate, and a payment of £25,000 was made to the Estate that assisted my client financially.

Example 2

I was instructed by two passengers in a vehicle that had left the road and collided with a tree causing serious injury to them that tragically resulted in both of their deaths. The driver had a Personal Accident Policy that covered the passengers that duly paid out £10,000 to the Estate of the passengers.

Instructing a specialist who is experienced in acting for clients who have suffered serious injury or have been tragically bereaved will allow for such issues as the Personal Accident Policy to be explored and considered for the benefit of the client.

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Matthew Claxson is a solicitor and partner at Moore Blatch specialising in compensation claims following serious injury and/or fatal incidents. Tel 023 8071 8039  E-mail:  Profile available on LinkedIn. Twitter: @matthewclaxson