Unfortunately, the number of accidents occurring on our roads continues to grow. Whether it relates to cars, motorcycles, bicycles or any other road vehicles, these accidents can result in serious injuries for the parties involved. Read on to find out more about what you should do if you are involved in a road accident, and what you are legally entitled to receive for any sustained injuries.
Gather evidence of the accident
Where a road accident has occurred, any evidence that an injured party can gather is helpful in establishing a claim for compensation. This includes:
- Details of the other party involved
Normally, parties should exchange their details after an accident occurs. The injured party should ensure they have obtained the registration number of the vehicle that caused the accident, and their insurer. In some circumstances, such as during a hit and run, it may not be possible to identify details of the other vehicle, and the injured party should consider filing a claim under the NSW’s Nominal Defendant scheme.
- Police event number
Parties involved 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 claim. Parties 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. Therefore any parties involved should seek medical attention soon after the accident occurs. This is not only for health reasons, but also because evidence of medical records and receipts are required should the injured party wish to claim compensation for them. Even if the parties involved feel as though they have not suffered any injury, injuries can take time to appear and seeking medical attention helps to determine if any future medical treatment or ongoing care is required, for compensation purposes.
Make a claim for road accident compensation
Any party injured in a road accident is eligible to claim road accident compensation. Under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme, all vehicle owners in Australia are required to have CTP insurance. Therefore compensation claims can be made against the insurer of the negligent party.
To make a road accident compensation claim:
- Lodge an accident notification claim. This claim must be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent party within 28 days of the accident. For this claim, an injured party can receive up to $5000 in compensation for expenses incurred up to 6 months after the accident occurred.
- Lodge a personal injury claim. This claim must be also be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent party, and within 6 months of the accident. This claim is for when the injured party expects their expenses to amount to more than $5000, or that their recovery time will exceed 6 months.
Compensation can be claimed for:
- Replacement or repair of damaged property
- Medical, rehabilitation and hospital expenses
- Home modification and attendant care expenses
- Loss of earnings or earning capacity
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life (if the injured party has suffered a whole person impairment over the 10% threshold)
Prevent future road accidents
Road accidents can be a traumatising experience for those involved. Therefore, all road users should aim to take the necessary precautions to minimise their chances of an accident occurring.
As cyclists are less visible on our roads, and have less protection against other road users, there is a greater chance of a cyclist sustaining an injury in a road accident. A cyclist should therefore ensure they have taken all the necessary precautions, such as wearing protective gear (e.g. helmet), wearing bright and fluorescent clothing and having lights fitted to the bicycle to enhance their visibility to other road users.
- Drivers of cars or other motor vehicles.
Drivers should take the necessary precautions such as ensure they are driving at a safe speed, wearing a seatbelt and that they are not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Failure to take such precautions can lead to serious injury or fatality.
Not only do these precautions help to secure the safety of road users, but should an accident occur, it helps to claim the largest compensation amount available. If a road user has not taken the necessary precautions, the other party may argue the defence of contributory negligence against any claims made. For example, a driver may claim that the other driver was under the influence of drug and therefore responsible for the accident. Where the injured party is deemed partially or fully at fault for the accident, the amount of compensation available will be smaller in value.
For more information about road accident compensation, contact Schreuder Partners today.