We handle claims for car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, motorbike accidents, coach accidents and bus accidents. We act for passengers and drivers.

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THE CLAIM PROCESS

 

What should I do after a car or vehicle accident?

Car accidents, no matter how minor, can be traumatic experiences. Immediately following the accident, there a number of things you should keep in mind:

  • Ensure the safety of yourself and any people in the vicinity
  • Contact emergency services if necessary
  • Exchange contact details with any other parties involved in the incident, or with any witnesses who attended
  • Write down your own notes on what happened
  • Keep a record of the report number if the accident is attended by or registered with the police.

The other important thing to do after an accident is take photographs. If the accident is serious and the police are involved, they will generally gather necessary evidence. Even if they do, consider getting some images for your own records, ensuring to capture the road, surrounding environment, and any signage that might be relevant when proving who was at fault.

Following any sort of accident, it’s essential you get assessed by a medical professional. Even if you feel fine, you may have pain that is being dulled by the adrenaline of the situation. It’s also possible for injuries like whiplash to present in the days or weeks following an accident, and a doctor can tell you what to look out for in case symptoms develop over time. Keep records of all appointments with medical practitioners.

When should I see a lawyer?

If you’re considering making a claim for the accident you were involved in, it can be useful to seek a help from a qualified legal professional. It’s important to note that if you want to make a claim, once you speak to a legal professional, a one (1) month time limit comes into effect to send a claim to the relevant insurer.

When speaking to a legal professional, you will likely be asked some standard questions about the cause of your accident, who might potentially be at fault, the extent of your injury contributory conduct, your employment status and your medical history.

From there, another meeting may be arranged, which is when you can expect to complete the claim notice. Your lawyer should also answer any questions you have about the claim process, and explain how compensation is calculated and take you through examples of what the compensation outcome could be for you.

Some cases may be eligible for a no-win, no-fee arrangement. Your lawyer should let you know if you’re eligible for a no-win, no-fee car accident claim.

THE COMPENSATION PROCESS

TIME LIMITS FOR MAKING A CLAIM AFTER AN ACCIDENT

A Notice of Accident Claim (NOAC) must be sent to the insurer of the at-fault party within one (1) month of the date of first consultation with your lawyer (which probably includes the date of your first telephone discussion) and no later than:

a. in the case of an unidentified vehicle being at fault – within three (3) months of the date of accident; or
b. for any other vehicles which are identified, within nine (9) months of the date of accident.

There is provision for extending the 3 month period in (a) to no later than 9 months and the nine month period in (b) to no later than 3 years if there is a reasonable excuse for a delay submitted at the time the NOAC is lodged. The NOAC is a 20-page document, which is generally best to be completed by a professional during a consultation.

What happens next?

Your legal professional should collect all documentation relating to your income and medical history. This helps them to formulate the components of your ‘damages’.
The should also arrange specialist medical assessments of your injuries with leading doctors who have experience in preparing forensic medical reports. Because compensation relates to permanent impairment, medical reports are usually arranged at least 9 months post-injury.

Do I have to go to court?

A mandatory conciliation process applies before any matter can go to court. This will occur after your claim has been thoroughly investigated, your injuries are fully stabilised and all medicals – including one arranged by the at-fault party’s insurer – are complete.

OTHER TIME LIMITS

As well as the three month and nine month time limits for Notices (see above), for most claims there is an absolute cut-off of three (3) years from the date of accident.
Different time limit rules apply to children and persons under a legal incapacity (e.g. unsound mind).

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN MY CLAIM

General damages

General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have endured and will endure in the future as a result of your injuries, as well as any permanent disability you are likely to suffer and the consequences it will have.

Sadly, general damages awarded in Queensland are in most cases trivial in comparison to reasonable expectations. The most serious injuries such as quadriplegia are awarded around $150,000 and some reasonably serious back injuries only $10,000.

Special damages

These include:-

  • Expenses paid or incurred by you, including medical and pharmaceutical.
  • Expenses paid by others. Some of these amounts are required to be collected from the at-fault party and paid back to Medicare, Comcare, WorkCover, DVA, public hospitals and private health funds (See: Refunds and preclusions ↓)

Past income loss

You are entitled to claim for the lost income from a job. Or, if you were not currently working and the injuries prevented you from looking for work or caused you to turn down job opportunities, you may also be able to claim for those situations.

Future income loss

You are entitled to be compensated for any future economic loss you may incur as a consequence of your injuries.

If your injuries have resulted in some permanent disability – even to a small extent – you may be at risk of loss of wages in the future.

People who continue to work full-time can still recover for future income loss on the basis that they are at risk on the labour market when compared to able-bodied job applicants.

Domestic assistance (paid and unpaid)

Domestic assistance you receive from friends, family members or care professionals following an accident is, in many cases, compensable – even if you do not pay for it. It’s important to keep detailed records of any assistance you get from other people.

What type of accidents are covered under CTP insurance?

Someone who is injured in a motor accident as a result of the fault or negligence of another person may be able to claim damages (to the extent of their injury) from the third party insurer of the vehicle/s at fault.

All vehicles  registered in Queensland carry a policy of insurance to cover personal injury caused by, through, or in connection with the vehicle. This is called “third party insurance” or “CTP insurance”. The companies in Queensland that insure vehicles against such claims include Allianz, RACQ, QBE and Suncorp. Third party insurance does not cover property damage to a vehicle (i.e. smash repairs). It is only coverage in respect of personal injury.

In all other states and territories of Australia, motor vehicles are covered by policies of CTP insurance. If an accident occurs in another state, the laws and procedures of that state’s motor accident compensation scheme will usually apply.

An accident in which you sustain an injury must be reported to the police. A claim cannot be commenced until the accident has been reported and the police give you a Traffic Incident Number (TIN).

If a vehicle at fault was unregistered, CTP cover does not apply unless the accident happened on a road or in a public place. Public places include locations like some beaches on which vehicles are commonly driven.

Sometimes “fault” (or negligence) is attributed to more than one person, for example, between two drivers or a driver and a pedestrian. If fault is attributed in some way to the person injured, this is referred to as “contributory negligence”.

Other vehicles

There are certain types of vehicles in Queensland which are not covered by CTP insurance unless the accident happens on a road. These include backhoes, bulldozers, front-end loaders, forklifts, cranes, agricultural equipment and amphibious vehicles.

For injuries caused by trailers, special rules apply. In some cases, the CTP insurer is the towing vehicles insurer unless the trailer is separately registered. In other cases, the insurer is taken to be the Nominal Defendant.

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Unidentified and Unregistered Vehicles

You are entitled to make a claim even if you are unable to identify the vehicle that caused the accident or it was unregistered. The claim is made against a government body called the Nominal Defendant, who acts as CTP insurer.

You must take steps to try to identify the vehicle. This includes reporting the accident to the police and seeking witnesses to the accident. You might do this by placing an advertisement in a local newspaper or by interviewing residents who live near the accident scene.

Different time limits apply for a Notice of Claim involving an unidentified vehicle (see above).

For What Type of Injuries is Compensation Available?

Claims can be conducted for a range of injuries such as fractures, soft tissue injury, disc injury, burns, amputations, paralysis, quadriplegia, emotional trauma, psychiatric disability, bruising, eye injuries, hearing loss, toxic exposure, back injuries, wrist injury, head injuries, knee injuries, neck injuries and shoulder injuries, broken bones, breaks and dislocations.

Claims can be made for the injured person, family members, bystanders (for nervous shock) and for surviving family members in the case of a death.

For more information on your rights after a motor vehicle accident, contact Carter Capner Law by making an online enquiry or by calling us on 1300 529 529.

Make an online enquiry

 

 

Recent Accidents

See also: Accident Archive