A motor vehicle accident can happen not only between two cars crashing, but with a pedestrian, a motorcycle, a bicycle, a bus or a train. The injured victim includes not only the drivers, but could be the passengers, innocent passersby and any property damaged as well. Knowing your rights as an injured party involved in a car accident can help earn you compensation. Here is some helpful insight into how car accident claims work and what proactive actions you can take toward recovery.
What to do if you’re in a car accident
There are two types of people in an accident: those at fault and those not at fault. Determining where you land between these two binary categories will play a part in how much compensation you will receive.
New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (VIC) are both no-fault states where responsibility is not necessary to determine compensation. However, to some degree, every state is a no-fault state and insurers will compensate you at least a percentage of the maximum payout if you can prove you were partially not responsible for the accident. This is true everywhere except for Queensland and Western Australia (known as at-fault states) where you do need to prove that you were completely devoid of responsibility for the accident to receive any compensation.
If you were not at fault, this is what you can do after being injured in a car accident:
- Remain at the scene of the accident.
- Collect the contact information of the other party or parties involved in the accident (if possible).
- Take pictures of the accident.
- Write down as much information as you can about what led to the accident.
- Call the police to file a report about the accident.
- Hold onto the report number they give you.
- Contact your car insurer to file a claim and give them the police report number.
- Go to the hospital for a medical evaluation of your injuries.
- Complete the state-specific steps to filing a claim including forms and letters.
- Report their recommendation of care to your workplace and insurer.
- Send the insurer information about how much work you will miss so they can file that as part of your compensation package.
- Follow up on any medical recommendations your medical professional has offered.
Determining fault is a challenge left up to the car insurers. Even if you feel responsible, do not admit fault to your car insurance company. However, you can negotiate an at-fault insurance claim if this has been determined by the necessary authorities.
If you are at fault for the accident:
- Follow the no-fault steps first.
- Contact a car hire company, especially if your insurance covers it, and report the expense.
- Check to see if you’re covered for at-fault car accident claims through third-party insurance.
- You will need to cover both your own expenses and that of the other party if the accident is determined to be your fault.
Contact your motor vehicle accident lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners if you have been wrongly blamed for the car accident. Disputing the claim can potentially save you thousands of dollars out of your pocket.
It’s important to file a claim with your insurer as soon as possible because each state has its own deadlines for eligibility.
Eligibility level to file a claim
You are eligible to make a compensation claim if you were injured in an accident. Most injuries across the country are minor and you can recover from them quickly with a small payout. However, if you’ve experienced a non-minor motor vehicle accident injury like damage to your spine or a lost limb, then you will receive more compensation.
Support can cover:
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Past and future loss of income.
- Physical and psychological therapy.
- Ongoing in-home care.
With comprehensive insurance, you could get your car and other property damage covered as well. Third-party property coverage will cover damages done to another car. These types of insurance options will cover you no matter how much or how little fault for the accident you own.
Compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance is necessary for all states and comes along with registering your vehicle. The only exception is in NSW, where you need to purchase coverage before registration; here, CTP is known as Green Slip.
How to file a claim
The process of filing a claim will look similar in all states in terms of what happens directly after an accident, but there are some important differences to be aware of. Find out more about the steps to file a claim in your state below.
Filing a claim in Queensland
Queensland holds some particular requirements that you must follow to remain eligible for compensation. The first is that, to start a claim, you must fill out a Report of Traffic Incident to Police Form and send it to the local police officers. Choose between a fatal or non-fatal form depending on what occurred at the accident. This will follow directly after leaving the hospital for your medical exam.
Then, you’ll need to add several different documents if you choose to work with a law professional for your claim. These documents include a medical certificate, a claimant certificate, proof of identity and a law practice certificate. All of these must be sent to your insurer where you should hear back within 14 days after the letter has been received.
Filing a claim in Victoria
In Victoria, you will need to file a separate claim with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in addition to your CTP claim. This will cover your medical expenses, and economic and non-economic losses in the form of a lump sum. This is only necessary if someone — including yourself — has been injured in the accident. Additionally, if you did not call the police at the accident, you must do so before contacting TAC.
Filing a claim in New South Wales
If you’ve been injured in an accident in NSW, you have three options for filing a claim:
- File directly with the CTP insurer of the at-fault party.
- Apply with the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) through their online portal.
- Fill out an Application for Personal Injury Benefits form and submit it over email or by mail.
CTP will handle your injuries and SIRA manages the overall claims process.
Personal injury claim vs. public liability
You may encounter a choice between filing a personal injury claim or a public liability claim after an accident. The differences depend on where the accident happened.
Personal injury law pertains to a compensation claim you’ll lodge if you were in a car-on-car accident. This will follow the normal steps listed above to help cover your economic and non-economic losses.
A public liability claim is filed if you were injured in an accident because of something outside of your or anyone else on the road’s control. It’s a situation that was overlooked or neglected that posed an obvious risk. This would be something like a large pothole in the ground that caused you to lose control of your vehicle or debris that fell on the road that damaged you and your car. For this, you would file against the state to get motor vehicle accident compensation coverage.
To file a public liability claim, you should seek legal advice from an injury lawyer about your options and follow the necessary steps for eligibility.
Time limits to keep in mind
It’s important to start filing a claim as soon as possible. Even though your insurer will handle the details of determining fault and offering you compensation, legal advice from a car accident lawyer could help you earn more benefits. Starting this process directly following the accident can put you on the right track for filing the proper paperwork and advocating for your injuries.
However, each state has its statutes of limitations regardless of whether your injuries have been fully realised or not. If you file and get approved for compensation, yet the injuries worsen, you can always file again for further payouts if necessary.
State-specific car accident claims time limits include:
- In NSW you have up to three months to lodge your statutory benefits claim and three years to claim common law damages.
- In Victoria, you can file within 12 months from the date of injury and you can file a common law claim within six months.
- In the ACT, you have 13 weeks from the date of the incident to apply for defined benefits. A claim for lump sum quality of life benefits cannot be made before 26 weeks from the date of a motor vehicle accident, or after four years and six months from the date of a motor vehicle accident.
- In Queensland, a Notice of Accident Claim Form is to be lodged within three months for Nominal Defendant claims and nine months for all other claims (but within one month of the first consultation with a solicitor).
Gerard Malouf & Partners offer no-obligation consultations with our lawyers to go over the details of your injuries and accidents. If we accept your case, we’re confident in our ability to help you succeed, and we start by giving the best possible advice from day one
Why you should file a claim with the help of GMP
Our law offices employ the best lawyers in the industry and have years of experience handling car accident claims. We are the leading law firm in the country for insurance claims and can help you maximise your compensation. Your best option is always to work with a lawyer if you’ve been injured so that we can handle the legal and technical parts of filing your claim in a time-sensitive manner.