Being in a motor vehicle accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience for those involved. These accidents often leave parties in physical, emotional and financial distress. Although compensation can be available, there are many factors involved in submitting a motor vehicle accident claim, and many people remain unaware as to what is needed for a successful claim. Read on to find out more about what is involved in a motor vehicle accident claim.
Report to police
Report the accident to the police as soon as possible. If you have failed to report the accident to the police within 28 days of the accident, you will be required to explain this delay when making any future claims. You should ensure that once you have reported the accident, you receive an event number as this will also be required for claims later on.
Seek medical attention
It is important to ensure that any injuries sustained from the accident receive medical attention. Even if you feel as though you have not suffered any harm, some injuries may take time to appear and seeking medical attention will help determine if any future medical treatment or ongoing care is required. Evidence of medical records and receipts must be kept as they are required for future claims.
Obtain details of the other parties involved
Under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme, all vehicle owners in NSW are required to have CTP insurance. Therefore, you should obtain the details of the other vehicle’s CTP insurer. If the other party refuses to provide you with this information, record their number plate and vehicle registration number, so that the Motor Accidents Authority might obtain their details.
In some circumstances, such as during a hit and run, it may not be possible to obtain details of the other vehicle. Therefore, you should ask the police or any witnesses for details. If details can still not be obtained, your lawyer will consider filing a claim under the NSW’s Nominal Defendant scheme.
Accident notification claim
Lodge an accident notification claim with the CTP insurer of the other vehicle, within 28 days of the accident. For this claim, you can receive up to $5000 in compensation for expenses incurred for up to 6 months after the accident occurred.
Personal injury claim
Lodge a personal injury claim with the CTP insurer of the negligent driver, within 6 months of the accident. This claim is for when you expect your expenses to amount more than $5000, or that your recovery time will exceed 6 months.
Determine who is at fault for the accident
How much compensation you can receive will depend upon who is at fault for the accident. There are many different fault scenarios, such as:
- Not at fault
If another party was at fault for the accident, then you are eligible to receive compensation both under an accident notification claim and personal injury claim.
- Partly at fault
If the accident was partly your fault, you are still be eligible to receive compensation under both an accident notification claim and a personal injury claim. However, the compensation received will be less than the amount received if you were not at fault at all. The compensation is usually reduced by the percentage of which you contributed to the accident. Examples of being partly fault include driving at an unsafe speed or failing to wear a seatbelt.
- Fully at fault
If you were fully at fault for the accident, you are eligible for compensation under an accident notification claim. A personal injury claim is usually not available to those fully at fault.
- Nobody was at fault (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.
- You are 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.
Determining what you need compensation for
Compensation can be claimed for:
- 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)