Road and Traffic Accidents

What Happens After a Car Accident?

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can certainly be an overwhelming experience. In the midst of dealing with any injuries suffered, vehicle damage and car accident claims, it can be difficult to know where to begin and what happens next.

Read on to find out more about what happens after a motor vehicle accident occurs, including reporting an accident to the police, in order to receive compensation for your injuries and damages.

At the accident scene

Immediately after a motor vehicle accident has occurred, you should stop your vehicle and offer assistance to anybody who has been injured. Where possible, you should safely move the vehicles involved to the side of the road to protect other road users. Once everybody has been assisted, you must then exchange contact details with the other people involved in the motor vehicle accident – including names, addresses, contact numbers and registration numbers.

Notifying police

You are required to notify the police of the motor vehicle accident if:

  • Someone is injured or killed
  • A driver fails to stop and exchange details
  • A driver is allegedly under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • There are hazards present, such as significant damage to structures
  • There is aggressive or criminal behaviour between those involved

If you have not made a report to the police at the scene of the motor vehicle accident, then a police report can be made any time afterwards by attending a police station or by calling the police assistance line on 131 444. It is best to make this report as soon as possible after the motor vehicle accident has occurred. In return, having made the report the police should provide you with a police event number.


Notifying your insurer

You should notify your insurer that you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and provide all the details of what happened and who else was involved. You and your insurer may then discuss making a motor vehicle accident compensation claim.

Making a motor vehicle accident compensation claim

A motor vehicle accident compensation claim is a means for those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident to receive compensation for their related injuries. Any party injured in a motor vehicle accident is eligible to make this claim – this includes drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme, all vehicle owners in Australia are required to have CTP insurance, which is included every year as part of your vehicle registration and covers any injuries that arise as a result of an accident with another vehicle. Thus, all motor vehicle accident compensation claims can be made against the insurer of the driver who was at fault for the motor vehicle accident.

You can lodge an accident notification claim with the CTP insurer of the other driver within 28 days of the accident. For this claim, a party can receive up to $5000 in compensation for expenses incurred for up to 6 months after the accident occurred. A personal injury claim can also be lodged within 6 months of the accident. This claim is for when expenses are expected to amount more than $5000 or that recovery time for any injuries will exceed 6 months.

If your motor vehicle accident compensation claim is successful, you can receive compensation for:

  • Medical, rehabilitation and hospital expenses
  • Replacement or repair of damaged property
  • 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)

Negotiation and going to Court

While only CTP insurance is legally required in Australia, it is highly recommended that drivers also pay for Comprehensive Insurance to cover themselves in light of property damage. CTP insurance will not cover any damage caused to your vehicle or anybody else’s vehicle or property, and therefore such property damage will have to be paid directly by the party at fault.

In such circumstances, the parties involved should negotiate and agree upon a settlement amount for the damages. If the parties cannot reach an agreed settlement, then they may need to proceed to court. As motor vehicle accident compensation claims involve a complex area of law, it is advisable that you obtain the help of a lawyer who is experienced in this area. An experienced lawyer can help to ensure your claim truly reflects the nature of your injuries and expenses, which is important as you will only be entitled to one compensation payout.

For assistance on making a motor vehicle accident compensation claim, get in touch with Schreuders today.

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