Road and Traffic Accidents

Have you Been Injured in a Car Accident?

Being involved and injured in a car accident is a traumatic experience. It can affect your physical health, mental health and your financial status. In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident, it is important to gather as much information as you can regarding the process from there onwards.

Consulting with a legal practitioner is essential, they will be able to evaluate the best way for you to receive the compensation you deserve. At Schreuders, we have put together a list of some important things to keep in mind if you are involved and injured in a car accident.

Keep Calm and Assess your Injuries

Although being injured in a car accident can be overwhelming and emotional, it is important you remain calm. What happens after the car accident may impact the amount of compensation you receive from your insurance provider, so you will need to address the following facts accordingly.

The safety of yourself, any passengers and the public should be the utmost of importance after a car accident. You should ensure that everyone around you is not seriously injured. Turn on your hazard lights and if possible, and move your vehicle out of the way of other motorists.

Collecting Information

First and foremost, call the police and report the car accident. This is very important to help you receive full reimbursement from the insurance company. Under NSW laws, it is recommended that you collect the following information when involved in a car accident:

  • The other parties personal contact details (Name, Address, Phone Number)
  • Driver’s license
  • Make and Model of their car
  • License plate number
  • Insurance details
  • Photos of the damage to BOTH cars
  • Photo of the other driver

When the police arrive, both drivers will need to fill out an accident report. This will have the full details of the lead-up to the crash. Ensure you receive a copy of this from the police to help with your insurance claim later.

If there were any witnesses to the incident, it is often valuable to collect their contact information. Many drivers have dash cams, so if there are any drivers lingering around that were present at the time of the accident, ask them if they have any video footage that can support your car accident claim.

Never Admit Fault or Guilt

While motor vehicle injuries are not so black and white, in order to ensure you do not jeopardise your insurance claim, it is important that you never admit that the accident was your fault.

Only state the facts and try to limit the discussion to details of what has occurred. It can be easy to be intimidated into making an incorrect decision. Be sure not to agree to any settlements until you have consulted with your insurance company and lawyer. How much compensation you may receive will depend upon whether you have any fault for the accident:

How much compensation you may receive will depend upon whether you have any fault for the accident:

The passenger was partly at fault

If the accident was partly your fault, you may still be eligible to receive compensation under both an accident notification claim and a personal injury claim. However, the compensation you may receive will be less than the amount you would receive if you were not at fault at all. The compensation is usually reduced by the percentage of which you contributed to the accident.

Being partly fault can include circumstances such as travelling in a car where you were aware the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or failing to wear a seatbelt.

Nobody was at fault for the accident (Blameless Accident)

An accident may occur through no fault of anyone, also known as a blameless accident. Examples of blameless accidents include accidents caused by unexplained mechanical failure, animals or falling trees. In these cases, you are still entitled to receive compensation under both the accident nomination claim and the personal injury claim.

The passenger was under the age of 16

If you were under the age of 16 and a resident of NSW at the time of the accident, you may claim compensation under both an accident nomination claim and personal injury claim, regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident or not.

Claiming Loss of Earnings

Unfortunately, a car accident can put you out of action for quite some time. Victims may suffer injuries that require them to take time off work, which can lead to some financial implications and potential loss of work income.

In such cases, file a personal injury claim so that you are not put at a significant disadvantage due to the negligence of another driver. Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer about how you can develop your case.

Often, you can easily prove loss of earnings if you are employed by a business. Gather payslips dating at least six months prior to the accident so that the court has a sufficient amount of information when calculating your net loss.

If you are self-employed, the process is more difficult but not impossible. You will have to notify your accountant that you will be unable to work and your business will be suffering a loss. Find documents such as work diaries, invoices and contracts that demonstrate that you are suffering a loss.

Compensation can be claimed for:

  • Medical, rehabilitation and hospital expenses, and any potential future expenses
  • Loss of earnings, including superannuation, and future loss of earning capacity
  • Compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, if the victim has suffered a whole person impairment over the 10% threshold
  • Home modification and attendant care expenses

What Types of Car Accident Claims Can I Make?

Accident notification claim

This claim must be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent driver within 28 days of the accident. For this claim, a passenger can receive up to $5000 in compensation for expenses incurred up to six months after the accident has occurred.

Personal injury claim

This claim must be also be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent driver, within six months of the accident. This claim is for when the passenger expects their expenses to amount to more than $5000, or that their recovery time will exceed six months.

Nominal defendant claims

In some circumstances, such as during a hit and run, it may not be possible to identify details of the other car involved in the accident. In this case, the passenger should consider filing a claim under the NSW’s Nominal Defendant scheme. This claim must be made within six months of the accident.

 

What Do I Need to Make a Claim?

Details of the parties involved

Obtain the registration number of the car that caused the accident and their CTP insurer. In circumstances where you are unable to find the registration number or insurance details of the car, you should ask the police or any witnesses for details. If the details are still unable to be obtained, such as during a hit and run, then a nominal defendant claim will be available to you.

Police event number

Passengers involved in a car accident should report the accident to the police as soon as possible. If there is a failure to report the accident within 28 days, there will need to be a justification of this delay when making any compensation claims. Passengers should ensure that once they have reported the accident, they have received an event number from the police.

Medical records

Any injuries sustained from an accident need to be assessed by a medical practitioner soon after the accident has occurred. Even if the passengers feel as though they have not suffered any injury, injuries can take time to appear and seeking medical attention immediately helps to determine if any future medical treatment or ongoing care is required. Evidence of medical records and receipts are required for most car accident claims.

Time Limit for Your Claim

Your loss of earnings will be filed as a personal injury claim. Personal injury claims cover a wide range of things, so consult with your attorney as to whether you are entitled to claim under any other criteria.

You must lodge your personal injury claim within six months of the car accident. If you miss the deadline, you can attempt to have the court grant you an extension. However, extensions are only given to individuals who can prove that they had special circumstance that delayed them from filing their claim earlier

If you have been injured in a car accident and are seeking a personal injury claim, contact Schreuders today. You will receive a fair entitlement via our “No Win No Fee”* policy, with the highest level of customer service possible.

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