Road and Traffic Accidents

When can you 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 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 driver, passenger or pedestrian, you are eligible to claim car accident compensation.

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

For more information about motor vehicle accident compensation, contact Schreuder Partners today.

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