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Traffic accident claims: Car accident compensation

A road traffic accident can happen to just about anyone. But knowing how to gain car accident compensation for not only your vehicle, but any subsequent injuries is a vital part of what happens after the crash. 

If you have a personal injury due to a road accident and need to make a motor vehicle accident claim, here is a guide filled with the legal advice you can use now and into the future.

Traffic accident basics

A car accident can be jarring. There are a lot of details to juggle that you may not have the psychological or physical capacity to handle. However, if you are suffering at any level, then you may be eligible for accident compensation. 

Compensation will depend on your level of injury and is meant to help cover your medical expenses, lost pay at work and recovery.

What to do after an accident

Knowing the state-specific laws surrounding these regulations can help you not only recover more quickly, but also file a claim if it’s necessary to do so. 

The first step is checking yourself and the rest of your party for injuries. If you are able and it’s safe to do so, get out of the car and confirm that the other party in the accident is okay as well. Put your car in park, apply the hand brake and turn your car’s hazard lights on. This will notify the other cars on the road that you just experienced an accident. 

Next, call the police and notify them of your location and that a road accident has taken place. You must call on emergency services by dialling 000 if anyone in the crash has been injured. If injuries have occurred, you should stay on the scene until the authorities arrive. 

You should always file a police report after a motor vehicle crash. The police officer will give you a copy of the report that you can use to identify your accident to your insurer. Filing a report is especially essential when the accident amounts to damages of $3,000 or more and a personal injury has occurred. While the step of filing a police report is not required in the state of WA, it’s still smart to do so. 

While on the scene, you’ll need to collect additional information as well:

  • The other party’s name, address and phone number.
  • Photos of the damages done and of the scene in general.
  • The other party’s license information and vehicle description.
  • The other party’s insurance information.
  • Time, date and location of the crash.
  • Road and traffic details such as road alignment or weather.


If the other party is unable to give their personal information due to injury, note this in your report.

Time limits

Each state has its own limitations as to when you should file an injury compensation claim to remain eligible. NSW has the shortest window of three months after the accident, and up to three years for common law damages. Victoria gives the victim 12 months to file from the date of injury or up to six months for a common law injury. Queensland offers nine months to file a claim after the date of the accident, and only one month after speaking with a lawyer. If you make a Nominal Defendant claim, you have up to three months to file. 

If your injuries are not fully realised when the deadline is approaching, it may be prudent to file a claim just in case. This way, you have more time to consult a medical professional about anything that may be bothering you and you can start the compensation process. You can always file again later on if you need further coverage because your injuries have worsened.

Filing a claim based on your state

When you’ve been in an accident, the first thing on your mind might be who caused the crash. Despite this, you should never admit fault (even if you think you may be the cause). The other party involved may have played a part you were unaware of. Admitting fault on record could render you ineligible for compensation in some states. Instead, leave the accident evaluation to your insurer and your personal injury lawyer.

Making a claim in Victoria

In Victoria, you will have to file a Transport Accident Commission (TAC) claim after an accident. TAC covers your medical expenses, return to work support, a lump sum payout, economic loss and non-economic loss. If you live in Victoria and have insurance, you have already signed up for TAC coverage. If you’re unsure what types of coverage you have, contact your insurer for further information.

Making a claim in Queensland

In Queensland (QLD), it’s mandatory for drivers to ensure their vehicle is registered and covered by insurance. The state works with Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance to handle all medical needs, and you’ll need third-party coverage for damages to your vehicle. 

When you lodge a claim with CTP, there are a few state-specific requirements:

  1. Call the police no matter if there is an injury or not. 
  2. Fill out a Report of Traffic Incident to Police form to send to your nearest station. 
  3. Acquire the registration number of the other party’s vehicle. This can help CTP identify the car in their system. If the vehicle is not registered, the CTP regulator will step in and you’ll file against the Nominal Defendant.
  4. Complete car accident claims forms. There are forms for fatal and non-fatal accidents. In the form, you will depict in detail what happened in the accident from your point of view including the weather, the street and other specifics of the event. Be as accurate as possible because any deviation or missed points could end in a denied application.
  5. Provide supporting evidence such as a medical certificate, a claimant certificate, proof of identity and a law practice certificate if you’ve contacted a law professional for support.
  6. Send your form over to the correct insurance office on time and complete it in full. 


You should hear back about a decision within 14 days. The decision will include if your application was accepted or rejected and how much compensation you’ve been awarded.

How does fault play a role in compensation?

When determining fault, there are some states that will still offer you compensation even if you were the primary cause of the accident. 

New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria are considered no-fault states where there is no need to establish legal blame. In all other states and territories, the opposite is true. In at-fault states, the insurers will look at the evidence presented by both parties to determine how much or how little compensation will be paid. 

If you were injured in an accident you may have played a part in, states like South Australia could award you compensation to help cover your medical expenses. However, if you are entirely at fault, such as in a drunk driving accident, CTP insurance will not cover you in at-fault states and you will need to cover all of the expenses out of pocket. 

How much you pay depends on your insurance coverage:

  • Comprehensive car insurance covers the damages to your car, regardless of fault in any state.
  • Third-party property damage insurance may cover the expenses of the damage done to the other person’s car and belongings, but may not cover yours if you are at fault. 


There are situations where it is not clear which party was at fault, such as a multi-car accident (called contributory negligence). If the insurers cannot determine who should take the blame for the crash, then the costs of the damage will be split among the drivers. 

If you feel that you should not hold any responsibility for the accident, you can file a claim against your insurer.

CTP vs. TAC vs. Super insurance

Let’s go over the differences between CTP, TAC and Superannuation insurance options so you know exactly what you’ll need when the time comes.

CTP insurance is used across Australia to provide compensation to crash victims for personal injury. It covers passengers, pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and anyone else involved in a road accident. CTP does not cover you for damages to your vehicle or the other party’s property.

TAC is only used in Victoria and is a no-fault insurance scheme. It covers medical expenses, treatment and income loss. On top of paying for registration, drivers must pay for a TAC charge as well.

Superannuation insurance may already be included in your super fund. It usually helps to cover total or permanent disability payments, or as an income protection payment plan. This type of insurance is meant to support you if you cannot return to work and is paid out based on your level of injury.

Finally, comprehensive insurance is available to cover your vehicle or the other party’s property if damaged in an accident, flood, fire, theft or storm.

How much compensation can you claim for a road traffic accident?

Every car accident is unique and will require a specific monetary amount to cover your injuries and all other expenses related to the accident. Figuring out how much compensation to claim should take into consideration several factors:

  • Length of recovery.
  • Level of fault.
  • Expected level of ongoing treatment.
  • Medical evidence of your injuries.
  • Severity of your diagnosis and treatment.
  • Type and level of permanent impairment.
  • Recommendations by physicians regarding future prognosis. 
  • How much pain and suffering you’re dealing with. 
  • Extent of your injuries.
  • Lifestyle pre-injury.
  • Age.
  • Employment status.
  • Accident details.
  • Experience level of your lawyer.


Lifestyle and age play a role because it affects your level of pain and suffering. Pain and suffering payouts acknowledge the psychological trauma you may be dealing with if you are unable to return to your everyday activity. For example, you may develop a fear of driving, or you could be unable to take part in a hobby you regularly did prior to the accident, like playing a sport. 

Insurance companies will base your injury compensation on one of two classifications: minor or non-minor. A minor injury could be something regarding whiplash or a sore back — soft tissue injuries. Injuries regarding bodily harm that may require surgery such as a broken arm, brain or spinal damage would qualify for non-minor injury compensation. 

Once your doctor gives you a recommendation, you will receive your compensation based on injury level including:

  • Total body impairment: Includes income support, home care expenses, medical care expense coverage and a lump sum payout for all economic and non-economic loss.
  • Non-minor injury: You collect total body impairment compensation without non-economic loss payouts.
  • Minor injury: You will receive support for up to six months to cover your economic loss such as income, medical and home care expenses. 


In QLD, the average non-minor, catastrophic injury payout around $648,300, and minor injuries amount to about $62,400. However, in NSW, your max payout could be as high as $595,000 and a settlement for a minor injury could be less than $90,000. 

A pain and suffering settlement could add $120,000 to your payout so you can recover from the psychological damages of the accident.

You’ll receive compensation in either a weekly payment, a lump sum or both depending on how long you need coverage.

Initiating legal support for your claim

When you contact Gerard Malouf & Partners about your claim, we will get started right away in assessing the evidence and giving you an understanding of your options. We offer a no-obligation consultation upon your first visit, and if we believe you have a chance of winning compensation, we will move forward with your claim on a no-win no-fee basis.

Check out our complete guide to car accident compensation and accident claims for more guidance on initiating a claim. 

About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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