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Do you know what to do if injured in a car accident?

Getting into a car accident is never on anyone’s to-do list

Suffering a car accident injury? Even less so.

You need a plan if this ever happens to you. Here, we’ll go over what your chances are for getting injured in an accident, what to do if it happens to you or a loved one and how to get compensation from an insurer.

Chance of being injured in a motor vehicle crash

We all get into our cars with the intention of driving safely and defensively to avoid getting into a crash. Try as we may, however, there may come a day where you or someone you know gets injured in an accident. This probability is trending downward by close to 4% compared to 2019, 2018 and 2017 according to Greenslips, but you still need to be prepared for the facts of an accident. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be each time you get into a car.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) 2021 Injury in Australia survey found that head and neck injuries were among the most common types sustained in an accident, followed by damage to the shoulder and upper limb and then spine, abdomen and pelvis areas. AIHW’s National Hospital Morbidity Database found that a fracture was the most common hospitalisation injury for men and women. 

Common causes for injuries on the road

DingGo found that while non-fatal road accidents occur less frequently than fatal ones, injuries still accounted for 40% of the cost of road crashes in 2020.

The most common causes for an accident injury to occur are completely preventable and include speeding, alcohol consumption, fatigue and distraction. In the same article, DingGo found that speeding influences around 30% of all accidents while driving 100km/h or over is the reason for 45% of fatal crashes. 

Australia has one of the highest drink driving-related crashes in the world and for that, alcohol consumption closely follows speeding as a leading cause of car accidents.  

Greenslips conducted a study around injuries and deaths that occurred by type of road users, genders and age in 2021. It found that the types of road users injured, from most frequently to least, are:

  • Drivers
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cyclists
  • Passengers
  • Pedestrians

This is to say that just because you are not the driver of the vehicle, you are still vulnerable to a road accident. 

Between 2019 and 2021, Greenslips found, however, that motorcyclists were the only group to see an increase (+7% since 2019) in injuries, while passengers saw the biggest drop. 

Australia’s National Road Safety Strategy hopes to educate more on the dangers of these causes to lessen road injuries and fatalities and reduce serious injuries per capita by 30% by 2030.

Most vulnerable demographics

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications found that accident injuries resulting in hospitalisation in the survey year 2018-2019 added up to nearly 40,000. Of that group, injuries were more likely for men and people ages 40 to 59. Men accounted for 25,257 injuries and women accounted for 14,196. The second most likely age group to get an injury in an accident was drivers ages26 to 39. However, The World Health Organisation found that, globally, regardless of age, road accidents are the eighth leading cause of death for all age groups. 

One of the age groups that are most focused on in terms of education and accident prevention in adolescents. Because they are younger and newer to the roads, they received more exposure to prevention education. The adolescent age group falls between 17 to 25 years old. 

The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety of Queensland postulated that, because of this group’s stage in brain development, they are more likely to get into a crash. Their prefrontal cortex, used to control impulses and strong emotions, is still in development, giving this group less ability to make safe decisions while driving 

What to do if you are in a motor vehicle accident

Check for injuries

If you’re involved in an accident, stop the vehicle immediately and switch on your hazard lights. Check in with yourself and those around you for any initial injuries. Next, wait until it is safe to examine the other people involved in the crash to see if anyone has been injured. If medical involvement is necessary, call 000 and wait at the scene until they arrive. 

Move out of the way of traffic

From here, you’ll want to move your vehicle or mode of transportation out of the road if it is in the way of traffic.

Collect information

Once the crash scene is safe, you will need to gather several details from the other party. 

Find out if the other party has insurance and collect their name, address, contact information and insurance information. Compulsory Third Party (CTP) is legally required for all drivers, but not everyone has insurance. Take as many pictures as possible of the damage to all of the vehicles involved in the accident. You may want to take a picture of the driver’s licence of the other drivers if possible.

It’s best to record as much information as possible at the time of the accident while the event is still fresh in your mind and before the other party can make a claim that is not accurate or skewed against you. 

Stay calm

You’ll need to remain as calm as possible, avoid blaming anyone — including yourself — for the accident. These claims could be used against you.

Seeking medical attention after a car accident injury

Even if you feel like you have a minor injury, it’s advisable to seek medical attention immediately after being involved in a major car accident. It’s typical for accident injuries to take a while to manifest in the body, if the injuries are not immediately obvious, but that doesn’t mean that you have not experienced a brain injury, soft tissue injury or spinal cord injury.

Dealing with insurance after a road accident

Insurance companies will need to see the medical history of your injuries to dole out proper compensation. It’s important to seek help immediately or soon after an accident has occurred to help ensure you will be compensated for medical bills, loss of job or trauma. 

Calling your insurance soon after the event happened can help you on the road to getting your life back in line. A representative can walk you through the step of filing the claim, getting your vehicle fixed or replaced  if you had one in the accident and talking with the other party’s insurance company to get you compensated. 

If you or the other party do not have insurance, then you will need to find out with a lawyer who was at fault and how much the damage is worth. The next step is to decide whether or not you can sue. Several situations determine full or partial fault:

  • Drunk driving.
  • Ignoring traffic signals or signs.
  • Speeding.
  • Improper signalling.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Improper care of a vehicle. 

Understanding who is at fault will determine who is responsible for addressing the cost of the accident, including repair, lost wages and hire-car costs.

Making a compensation claim for an accident injury

Once an insurer determines who is at fault, you can begin filing for personal injury damages. In an ideal situation where both parties are insured and you are not at fault, the at-fault’s insurance provider will pay the bills. 

However, if they are not insured, or their insurer denies you compensation for whatever reason, getting the payout you deserve can become a more difficult legal battle. A CTP insurer may even try to quote you compensation much lower than the actual amount you need to cover your injuries. To which, you will need to find a personal injury lawyer. 

The first step is to send a letter of demand to the insurer or the driver. The letter will detail how much compensation you expect, the damages incurred and a timeline of when you anticipate to receive the payment. 

In the face of a difficult injury claim situation, a car accident lawyer can be your best option to help you follow through with your injury claim following a road accident. Generally, you have about three years to claim from the time of the accident. 

How much you can receive in compensation will depend on the insurer’s limit and how much you require based on details like the severity of the injury which will be determined by the CL Act

A lawyer can help you in several ways to get the settlement you require. They can reach out to the insurer directly and build your case based on the paper trail your insurance and medical history started. Ideally, the other party’s CTP insurer and personal injury lawyer can come to a settlement agreement to avoid any more legal fees and time waiting to get you the compensation you need. 

Gerard Malouf & Partners professionals are prepared to cover you in the event of a car accident injury. You can contact us for no-obligation legal advice about your claim and make your path towards getting compensation that much clearer. Give us a call today if you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and is looking for a personal injury lawyer to help with their claim.

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 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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