Car accidents are increasingly occurring on our roads, and can have serious consequences for all of the parties involved. If you were a passenger injured in a car accident, you are still entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Read on to find out more about when you can claim compensation for a car accident, and what you are legally entitled to.
Am I Eligible for Compensation?
If you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger, you are eligible to make a car accident claim.
Who Do I Make a Claim Against?
Under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme, all car owners in Australia are required to have CTP insurance. Car passengers are covered by the scheme, and therefore, car compensation claims can be made against the insurer of the negligent driver or car owner.
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.
Does my compensation depend on who caused the accident?
Yes, 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.
What Can I Receive Compensation For?
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
For more information about making a motor vehicle personal injury claim, contact Schreuder Partners today.