Road accidents are not uncommon on Kenyan roads. According to the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA), 595 people died in road accidents between 1st January and 4th march 2020, a 9 percent increase compared to the same period last year. The figures by the NTSA may not give a true reflection of the road accident menace in Kenya, according to the world Health Organization (WHO).
For instance, in 2018, while the government reported 2, 965 death, WHO’s global road safety survey estimated the number of road accident deaths in Kenya to be 13, 463. Whichever figures are right, road accidents cause loss of life and disruption of life due to injuries. Under Kenyan law, you are entitled to compensation for injuries incurred in road accidents. Also, if someone dies in a road accident, their dependents are entitled to compensation.
The concept of negligence and liability in road accidents
Note that not all injured people are entitled to compensation; it all depends on negligence determination. Conventionally, the negligent party bears the liability for road accidents—they are required to compensate the people injured due to their negligence.
Negligence could arise from commission or omission—it is the failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances. The most used way of negligence determination is finding out who had contravened traffic rules. If it is proven that a road accident was caused by a driver’s violation of traffic rules, the fault falls on their side.
Sometimes, responsibility for accidents is shared among several parties— it is common to hear things like ‘party A was 70 percent negligent’ in road accident cases. Under Kenyan law, one’s liability for road accidents is directly proportional to their level of negligence.
Claiming compensation for road accident injuries
You should claim compensation for road accident injuries as soon as possible after the accident. The process starts with filing a compensation claim form and registering it with a court of law. Also, you have the option of settling the claim with the negligent party out of court.
If the negligent party had insured their vehicle against the damages arising from the accident, their insurer would pay your claim. But If you feel that the insurer is not awarding you what you deserve, or if you are unable to agree with the negligent party out of court, the only option remaining is to allow the claim case to proceed to full trial.
General and special damages
Besides compensation for injuries, you can claim compensation for general and special damages. These include pain and suffering, and loss of income. For instance, if the injuries you suffered in the accident render you unable to do your daily income-generation activities, you are entitled to compensation for such loss.
Courts consider many factors to determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to. The factors include your level of negligence, the extent of the injuries suffered, and whether you can prove the losses you are claiming compensation for.
This means it is essential to keep records of your medical expenses as well as your doctor’s recommendation on future treatment needs. More importantly, the magistrate will award compensation based on the facts raised by your lawyers, so it is imperative to have an experienced lawyer arguing out your case.