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 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.
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)
For more information about a motor vehicle personal injury claim, contact Schreuder Partners today.