Can I claim compensation for a hit-and-run car accident?

Published 04 Jan 2018

The usual process for making a car accident compensation claim isn't always possible if you are involved in a hit-and-run incident.

Normally, the parties involved in a crash will swap insurance details and contact information, enabling you to pursue damages from the relevant CTP insurer if you sustain serious injuries.

But what can claimants do when a driver flees the scene or is otherwise difficult to track down? In these circumstances, the liable insurer can't be identified, so where does that leave victims?

The Nominal Defendant

Fortunately, people who are injured in hit-and-run accidents can still make a compensation claim even when another road user or insurer is untraceable.

This is where the Nominal Defendant steps in and takes the place of a missing defendant. The Nominal Defendant is a statutory body that is funded through compulsory third-party (CTP) insurers, as well as state and federal governments.

These funds are used to compensate car accident victims who are unable to find the road user responsible for their injuries. The Nominal Defendant is also used when a driver is identifiable, but they do not have CTP insurance.

During 2015-16, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) received 850 Nominal Defendant claims, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year. These cases comprise approximately 4.1 per cent of the total motor vehicle accident claims each year.

Will my claim proceed to court?

The Nominal Defendant will still defend claims, so you may need to pursue your case all the way to a court hearing.

As such, hit-and-run victims should enlist the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure they have the best possible chance of winning a claim.

If successful, you could receive compensation for:

  • Hospital and rehabilitation bills;
  • Lost income and superannuation - both past and future;
  • Non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering;
  • Legal costs; and
  • Permanent impairments.

The average payout for a motor vehicle accident in NSW is $141,000, according to SIRA. The authority confirmed more than $1.26 billion in benefits was paid out in 2015-16, although this was largely for claims made in previous years.

Would you like to discuss your hit-and-run accident with an experienced no-win, no-fee lawyer? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.

We can help you search for the parties responsible, gather evidence to support your claim and fight your corner in court if the time comes.