Road accidents are one of the leading causes of injury in Australia. But did you know if you’ve been injured as a passenger, you’ve got the right to claim compensation? Here’s some info on what you need to know, and what kind of compensation you may be eligible for.
Who’s claiming against who?
Every registered vehicle in Australia is required to have compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. This has been put in place to protect anyone injured due to negligent driving or an accident. Passengers are covered under this scheme, so your action will be bought against the driver of the ‘at fault’ vehicle and their CTP insurer. The CTP insurance scheme means the driver of the ‘at fault’ vehicle won’t be personally out-of-pocket if a claim is brought, which is good news if they’re a mate, family or someone you work with.
What do I do after a crash?
If you’re injured as a passenger, it’s important you make the right kind of claim. Here’s the steps you need to follow to ensure you’re on track:
1. Get the details of the people involved
Get the registration number(s) of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident. This information is required in order for your lawyer and CTP provider to start the claim.
2. Talk to the cops
Report the claim to the police right away. This is a legal requirement and must be done before a CTP claim can proceed. If you’ve been a passenger in a crash and you’re not sure if it’s been reported, you can complete a traffic incident report form, or report it to the police station nearest to the crash site. After you’ve reported the accident, you’ll get an event number which is proof of the incident.
3. Get yourself to a doctor
Your injuries should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you’re feeling alright, some injuries can take time to appear. By getting medical advice quickly, you’ll be able to work out if you need further treatment. If bringing a claim, you must undergo a medico-legal examination with a specialist selected from a panel provided by the CTP Insurer. The costs of the medical examination and travel to and from are to be funded by the insurer.
How long do I have to make a claim?
There are strict time limits around seeking injury compensation, so it’s best to get legal advice as soon as possible after a crash. Generally, you have three years from the date of an accident to issue proceedings in Court.
To get the ball rolling, a ‘Notice of Accident Claim Form’ must be given to the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault within nine months of the accident, or one month of taking on a solicitor.
What if I don’t know the other vehicles’ details?
If you’re the victim of a hit and run, or the other vehicle is unregistered or unidentified, you may not be able to identify the person responsible. You’re not without protection though, and you may be able to claim under the nominal defendant scheme instead. This is a government body that takes the place of the CTP insurer in circumstances where the ‘at fault’ vehicle isn’t identifiable.
Time limits are very strict in these circumstances, and a notice must be given to the Nominal Defendant within three months of the accident.
As you can see, time limits around claims can be complex and can even jeopardise your claim completely if not properly complied with. If you’ve been in a crash, it’s best not to delay legal advice so that you stand the best chance at being properly compensated for your injuries.
If you’ve got any questions about this topic, call us today on 1800 700 125 for a confidential and obligation-free chat.