Road and Traffic Accidents

When and Who How to Claim Compensation for a Car Accident?

Car accidents are increasingly occurring on our roads. If you have been involved in a car accident, read on to find out more about when, who and how you can claim compensation for a car accident, and what you are legally entitled to.  

Am I eligible for compensation?

Being involved in a car accident can adversely impact all of those involved. From drivers, to passengers and pedestrians, all parties may find themselves suffering physical, emotional and financial damages.
However, all injured parties are legally entitled to be financially compensated for their hardship. If you have been involved in a car accident and wish to receive compensation, read on to find out more about who can claim in a car accident, and what you are legally entitled to.

What is a Car Accident Claim?

A car accident claim is a means for those who have been injured in a car accident to receive compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured in a car accident as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist, you may be eligible to make a car accident claim.

Am I eligible for compensation?

  • Drivers: If you were the driver of a car involved in a car accident, then whether you are entitled to make a car accident claim will depend on who was at fault for causing the car accident.
    If you were not at fault for the accident, or nobody was at fault for this accident, then you are entitled to make a car accident claim. Accidents caused by animals or falling trees are usually deemed to be the blameless accidents, where the driver is not considered at fault.
    If you were at fault for the accident, you are usually only entitled to make an accident notification claim, with a maximum compensation payout of $5000. Being fully at fault for the accident can include circumstances such as failing to drive at a safe speed, failing to wear a seatbelt, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Passengers: If you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger, you are entitled to make a car accident claim. However, if as a passenger, you are partly at fault for your injuries, then the compensation you may receive will be less than the amount you would receive if you were not at fault at all. Being partly at fault can include circumstances such as failing to wear a seatbelt or travelling in a car where you were aware the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Pedestrians: If you are a pedestrian who has been hit by a car, then you are entitled to make a car accident claim. However, like a passenger, if you were partly at fault for your injuries, then the compensation you may receive will be less than the amount you would receive if you were not at fault at all. Being partly at fault can include circumstances such crossing a road unlawfully or without regard to approaching traffic.
  • Cyclists: If you are a cyclist who has been hit by a car, you are entitled to make a car accident claim. However, like passengers and pedestrians, if you were partly at fault for the accident, then the compensation you may receive will be less than the amount you would receive if you were not at fault at all. Being partly at fault can include failing to wear a helmet or other protective gear, or failing to have lights fitted to your bicycle to enhance your visibility to other road users at night.
  • Children: If a child is injured in a car accident and they were under the age of 16 and a NSW resident at the time of the accident, then a parent or guardian is entitled to make a car accident claim on behalf of their child.
  • Other family members: If a person has been involved in a fatal car accident and has not survived, their family members are entitled to make a claim on behalf. Family members that are eligible to make this claim include:
  1. The deceased’s spouse or de facto partner
  2. The deceased’s parents
  3. The deceased’s siblings (brothers, sisters, half-brothers, or half-sisters)
  4. The deceased’s children

Who pays out the compensation?

Under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme, all car owners in New South Wales are required to have CTP insurance. Victims of car accidents are therefore covered by the scheme, and compensation claims can be made against the insurer of the negligent driver or car owner.

What are the steps for making a car accident compensation claim?

  1. Seek medical attention. It is important to ensure that any injuries receive medical treatment. Even if you feel as though you have not suffered any harm, sometimes injuries take time to appear. Keep any medical records and receipts, as these are required for any future claims.
  2. 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 you are still able to lodge a claim regardless.
  3. Report the car accident to the police as soon as possible. If you have failed to report the accident within 28 days, you will be required to justify this delay when making a claims. Ensure that once you have reported the accident, you receive an event number as this will be required for future claims.
  4. Lodge an 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, you can receive up to $5000 in compensation for expenses incurred up to 6 months after the accident occurred.
  5. Lodge a personal injury claim. This claim must be also be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent driver, and within 6 months of the accident. This claim is for when the victim expects their expenses to amount more than $5000, or that their recovery time will exceed 6 months.

car-accident

Does my compensation depend on who caused the accident?

Yes, how much compensation you may receive will depend upon who the negligent party is.There are many different fault scenarios, such as:

You were not at fault for the accident

If another party was at fault for the accident, you are eligible to receive compensation, both under an accident notification claim and personal injury claim.

You were partly at fault for the accident

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:

  • Driving at an unsafe speed
  • Failing to wear a seat belt
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Travelling in a car where you were aware the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs

You were fully at fault for the accident

Where the injured party was fully at fault for the accident, the only compensation you may be eligible for is under an accident notification claim. A personal injury claim is usually not available to those fully at fault.

You were or were not at fault, and 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 caused the accident or not.

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
    • Accidents caused by animals
    • Accidents caused by falling trees

In these cases, you are still entitled to receive compensation under both the accident nomination claim and the personal injury claim.

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

Contact Schreuders Today

For more information or assistance on motor vehicle accident compensation, contact Schreuder Partners today.

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