Personal Injury

What To Do If You Are In a Hit and Run Accident?

Being involved in a car accident is undoubtedly a stressful experience, and this stress can easily be exacerbated when you are unable to identify the vehicle and driver that caused the accident. Due to the vulnerable nature of hit and run victims, there are now schemes in place to ensure that these victims are still able to receive compensation for the injuries and damages caused by the hit and run accident, despite not knowing any details about the vehicle or driver that caused it. If you have been in such a situation, read on to find out more about what to do if you have been involved in a hit and run accident.

What Is A Hit And Run Accident?

A hit and run accident occurs when a car has been hit by another vehicle, who subsequently flees the scene of the accident. In the event of an accident, drivers are obligated to stop, offer assistance to the other parties, and exchange licence and insurance details – all of which does not occur in a hit and run accident.

Why Do Hit And Run Accidents Commonly Occur?

Hit and run accidents most commonly occur because of those who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, unlicensed driving, or drivers who fear of the legal and monetary consequences of the accident they have caused.

What to do if you are the victim of a hit and run accident

Being involved in a hit and run incident can be traumatic, especially since you are left alone to deal with the aftermath of the accident. Take the time to calm yourself down and assess whether you have any injuries that need medical attention. Take note of all details at the scene of the hit and run and take down the contact details of any witnesses.

Report the accident to the police immediately. The sooner you do so, the more accurate your memory will be in describing the defendant. If you do remember the details of the car that hit you, you need to tell the police immediately, especially if you know their registration number.

What Should I Do If I Know The Details Of The Vehicle That Hit Me?

If you were able to obtain the registration number of the vehicle that hit you, you should contact the State Insurance Regulatory Authority who can use this registration number to track down further details of the vehicle, including the driver’s name and their Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer.

If the State Insurance Regulatory Authority is successful in obtaining these details, you will be able to submit a car compensation claim directly to their CTP insurer for your injuries and damages, as the CTP scheme covers any drivers, passengers or pedestrians injured in a car accident.

What if the liable driver cannot be identified?

Fortunately, in most cases, there are enough witnesses and evidence for police to identify a hit and run driver. However, this is not always the case. Some hit and run victims do not have enough information to track down the driver which makes the process of making a personal injury claim much more difficult.

Hit and run victims still have the right to claim for personal injuries even if the identity of the liable driver is unknown. Claiming a hit and run is called a “Nominal Defendant claim” which is funded through a separate body which acts as a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurer to ensure that hit and run victims are still able to claim compensation for their injuries.

A Nominal Defendant claim is made directly to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, who will then allocate you a CTP insurer who will manage your claim and pay you compensation if your claim is successful. This claim should be made within 6 months from the date of the hit and run accident.

Am I Still Able To Make A Car Accident Claim If I Don’t Know Who Hit Me?

Victims of a hit and run accident will still be eligible to make a certain type of car accident claim, called a  “Nominal Defendant claim”. In New South Wales, CTP insurers are a part of, and contribute to, the Nominal Defendant fund whose purpose is to ensure that victims of hit and run accidents have access to adequate compensation.

A Nominal Defendant claim is made directly to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, who will then allocate you a CTP insurer who will manage your claim and pay you compensation if your claim is successful. This claim should be made within 6 months from the date of the hit and run accident.

What Do I Need To Do To Make A Nominal Defendant Claim?

To qualify for a Nominal Defendant claim, it must be established that the unidentified vehicle caused the accident. The victim of the hit and run accident, or their legal representative, must also undertake “due search and enquiry”, which essentially means they must have taken reasonable steps to identify the vehicle that caused the hit and run accident. Some reasonable steps may include:

  • Speaking to people in the area that may have been witnesses to the hit and run accident
  • Searching for any surveillance cameras in the area that might have captured the hit and run accident
  • Consulting and liaising with the police
  • Putting up public notices about the hit and run accident, which asks for witnesses to come forward

However, what is considered as reasonable steps may vary from case to case.

What Can I Receive Compensation For?

If your Nominal Defendant claim is successful, you can receive compensation for:

  • Medical, rehabilitation and hospital expenses (including any potential future expenses)
  • Loss of earnings or earning capacity (including any potential future loss of earning capacity)
  • Replacement or repair of damaged property
  • Home modification and attendant care expenses
  • Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life (if you have suffered a whole person impairment over the 10% threshold)

How long will it take to receive my compensation?

A Nominal Defendant claim can take up to 18 months from when the claim was first received to reach a settlement. A good personal injury lawyer should be able to give you a rough idea of how your claim is progressing and when you can expect to receive your compensation.

If you have recently been the victim of a hit and run incident and would like to maximise your personal injury claim, contact Schreuders for a free consultation today.

For more information about a motor vehicle personal injury claim, contact Schreuders today.

Who pays in a hit and run accident?

Hit and run accident compensation is paid out by the third party insurer of the at-fault vehicle. This means that regardless of the driver’s financial situation, you will be able to claim what you are owed.

Note: while third party insurance is mandatory for all Australian vehicles, insurers profit by avoiding or minimising payouts wherever possible. This is yet another reason to hire a specialist MVA lawyer who can fight on your behalf if the insurer disputes or delays your claim.

What is the hit and run compensation amount?

Like other motor vehicle accident claims, hit and run compensation amounts vary widely depending on the severity of your injuries and the amount of income you have lost as a result of those injuries.

Schreuders seeks the maximum amount of compensation possible for all claims. If you are uncertain about how much you’re owed, contact Schreuders to ensure you don’t miss out on the full extent of your entitlements.

For more information about a motor vehicle personal injury claim, contact Schreuders today.

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