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How to file injury from car accident claims

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation if you have been injured. Compensation for a car accident injury isn’t necessarily dependent on the other party being at fault; even if you are partly or wholly at fault, you may still be able to get compensation to cover treatment for your injuries.

In any case, it’s wise to enlist the services of a car accident injury lawyer to help you navigate the claims process. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we have a strong track record of winning compensation for an injury from car accident claims.

What to do if you are in a motor vehicle accident

If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash (including a pedestrian, motorcycle or bike accident), follow these steps to ensure you are complying with the law and behaving ethically.

Stop, assess, render aid, report

Immediately stop and assist anyone who may have been injured. If no one has been injured, proceed to an exchange of information. If someone was injured, notify the police immediately. If the other driver doesn’t provide you with their information, notify the nearest police station within 24 hours or as soon as possible.

Exchange information

Exchange your details (including name, address, vehicle registration and description, and CTP insurer data) with the drivers/owners of the vehicles involved or any other person who has suffered property damage due to the accident.

Look for the driver’s registration number first thing in case they try to leave without sharing their details. If the other person’s car isn’t registered, they may try to cut and run rather than face the consequences.

Remove traffic hazards

If the vehicles aren’t obstructing traffic, leave them until police arrive. If traffic is blocked, agree on the point of impact, mark the road and move vehicles to the side of the road. Clear away the glass, detached bumpers or tires, or any other materials that could cause a road hazard.

Be aware that tow trucks may show up unasked for, and that you are not obligated to have them tow your vehicle. They require a signed tow authority or specific direction from police to move your car without your permission, no matter what they may try to tell you.

Confirm time and location

The time and location of the accident should be agreed on between parties. Do not discuss who is or is not at fault. Any admission or even expression of apology could have insurance implications.

If you have a personal injury, you’ll want to file a police report about the car accident as soon as possible. If you have vehicle damage, it’s still a good idea to file a report just so you have a case number when the insurer asks for one (and they will.)

How fault is assigned in a vehicle accident

Determining fault in a motor vehicle accident can be difficult, especially if both drivers claim it was the other person at fault, or the damage or accident was caused by something other than two drivers. Here are some basic guidelines for who is assumed to be at fault in specific situations.

Rear-end collisions

In most circumstances, the car that hit from behind is liable in two car accidents. For pile-ups involving three or more cars, an investigation may be conducted to determine if the middle car could have stopped in time if not shoved into the front car by the back car. If so, the rear car is at fault. If not, the fault may be shared. If a car rolls back into another car, the front car is liable.

Hitting an illegally parked car

You may be liable for a traffic infringement notice and fine, and/or damages to the vehicle you hit, even if it was illegally parked. It is generally assumed that you should have seen the car and exercised caution to avoid an accident. An exception would be a car left in the middle of the roadway with no hazards on, especially if it is dark or you top a hill to be faced with a car in the roadway.

Animals on the road

If you hit a dog that is running in the street unrestrained, you may be able to file a claim against its owner for allowing their animal to be a hazard. If you hit a farm or other domestic animal and live in an area that recognises Common Law, the animal may have had the right of way and you could have to pay damages.

Shopping centre accidents

When both cars are reversing and hit one another, liability is shared. If one car stops and the other continues, the moving car is at fault. If a reversing car hits a stationary vehicle, the moving car is at fault. If you hit a car and cannot find the driver, you must report to the police and provide them with your details.

Filing a claim for a car accident injury

If you are not at fault you can file a no-fault accident compensation claim. This can be a claim against the other driver, or against a scheme in your state or territory.

If you are at fault, you may still be able to file a claim for compensation for personal injury against a scheme. The funds are typically capped at $5,000 to defray medical costs and potentially some lost wages. In contrast, filing against another driver in Magistrate’s Court could have a much higher limit, such as $150,000.

If you have comprehensive insurance at the time of the incident, you can make a claim and have your insurer handle the process. If you were not at fault and can prove it, your claim should be settled fairly easily, if who was at fault is in dispute, an investigation will be conducted.

A motor vehicle accident in which two parties share the blame will reduce the amount of personal injury compensation you may qualify for, although you can still make a claim. Claimants can include drivers of a vehicle, passengers in a car, motorcyclists or pillion passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Basically, anyone injured in a road accident has grounds for a claim.

If you are deemed partly at fault, the compensation you receive will be reduced. By how much depends on how fault is apportioned. The higher your level of irresponsibility, the lower your compensation. Examples of poor driving contributing to a vehicle accident include:

  • Failing to wear a seatbelt.
  • Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Travelling in a vehicle with a driver who you know is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving at an unsafe speed
  • Not wearing a helmet on a two- or three-wheeled mode of transportation.

Making a CTP insurance claim is a fairly straightforward process. To lodge the CTP claim, you will have to fill out a claim form with the at-fault vehicle’s CTP Insurer. You will need the number plate of the at-fault vehicle to find out who the CTP Insurer is.

If the motor vehicle responsible for the accident was unknown or unregistered or the at-fault driver did not stop to provide you with their details, you can make a claim under the Nominal Defendant Scheme.

Lodge your claim as early as you can, meaning as soon as it becomes apparent that the at-fault vehicle cannot be identified or is unregistered. The Regulator will allocate your claim to a CTP Insurer, who will ask you to fill out an additional injury claim form.

To file a personal injury compensation claim, you have three years from the date of the accident. You’ll need a car accident compensation lawyer to help you make your case. We usually strive to settle with an insurer without going to Court but are prepared to take it all the way if necessary.

How much you can get from a car accident compensation claim

In most cases, the compensation from a motor accident claim that is handled through a scheme is small and intended to help defray medical costs. You could receive just a few thousand dollars in benefits. For larger claims in front of the Magistrate’s court, you could receive up to $150,000.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate lodging a motor vehicle accident injury claim is a wise choice. We know the ins and outs of the compensation systems, and can help you lodge claims and push through to achieve the settlement you deserve.

If the accident caused significant pain and suffering, like the loss of a limb, burns or disfigurement, you may qualify for additional lump sum compensation. We will address any such developments as part of your car accident claim.

We are one of the largest firms in the area of car accident compensation in Australia, winning in excess of $4 billion for our clients. Contact us for no-obligation legal advice about your claim

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 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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