In 2022, approximately 1200 people in Australia lost their lives in fatal motor vehicle accidents. The number of yearly motor accident injuries far surpasses that figure. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you should know what to do and how to get car accident compensation.
Accident injury compensation is available for victims of car crashes, but what injuries can you claim for? We’ve compiled a list of common car accident injuries that we come across. This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, so please get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer from Gerard Malouf & Partners to discuss your claim.
Motor vehicle injury types
The human body is no match for the velocity of a road accident, even with the safety features modern cars have. Your spine, neck and head are particularly vulnerable in a motor vehicle accident. Some of the most common motor vehicle injuries include:
While whiplash is often considered a fairly minor injury, sufferers may still experience serious symptoms that can affect their ability to perform daily tasks for a number of days or even weeks.
The condition is characterised by neck pain and stiffness, difficulty moving your head and headaches. Less common symptoms may include nausea, dizziness and memory loss.
Whiplash is the most common type of motor vehicle accident injury and accounts for approximately half of accident claims lodged across Australia.
Brain and head injuries
Vehicle rollovers and rear-end collisions are more likely to be responsible for these injuries than any other type of car accident, and if the driver or passenger is not wearing a restraint, the likelihood of traumatic brain injury increases significantly.
Damage to the head and brain are among the most serious outcomes of a crash, potentially resulting in long-term or permanent disabilities and death. In NSW, the Lifetime Care and Support Scheme (LCSS) provides redress for the treatment, rehabilitation and care costs associated with serious injuries from motor accidents, including brain damage.
Spinal cord injuries
Rear-end crashes are the most common form of collision between vehicles in Australia, and they regularly cause injuries to the chest, head, neck and spine. People sitting in the front and back centre seats of a vehicle are most at risk of spine injuries.
Severe spinal injuries may result in partial or total paralysis, as well as chronic pain and other symptoms. As with brain damage, car accident injuries involving severe spinal damage are also covered under the LCSS.
Not all car accident injuries are physical. The emotional and psychological trauma of a crash can lead to mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. This is even more likely if the accident caused a fatality as survivors may struggle with guilt or wonder why they were spared.
Some victims of car accidents may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or develop phobias of travelling in vehicles. A 2016 study in BMJ revealed 20-40% of people who are involved in a crash develop PTSD.
If you are in a car accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel uninjured. Adrenalin and relief at being alive can mask symptoms, and you could be injured and not know it.
Burns are generally associated with car crashes of a more serious nature, resulting in both immediate and prolonged psychological and physical harm. Burns have the potential to impact all parties involved, and — alongside fire induced upon impact — can result from contact with hot surfaces, such as the engine or exhaust, or exposure to certain chemicals.
In some cases, the airbag deployment can also cause friction burns or chemical irritation; a risk particularly prevalent among children.
Lacerations refer to cuts or tears in the skin — generally affecting deep tissue — caused by objects during a collision.
While minor cuts are generally straightforward to resolve and heal from, severe accidents place all involved parties at risk of ‘degloving,’ referring to the exposure of underlying tissue due to a severe cut. Such injuries often involve surgery and ongoing therapeutic interventions.
Among hand and wrist injuries arising from car accidents, broken bones are the most common — generally occurring in high-speed, serious crashes. Yet car accident-induced fractures aren’t exclusive to the hands and wrists; car accidents can result in various forms of fractures, commonly affecting the hips, spine, neck and clavicles, among others.
The medical intervention required for fractures can range from short-term immobilisation with a cast to surgical interventions, depending on the severity. As such, recovery times can also vary, and physical therapy may be used to regain proper functionality.
Car accidents are a common cause of internal bleeding. The severity of internal bleeding is increased due to its vague symptoms, oftentimes not presenting any visible signs of its occurrence until its risk is significantly heightened.
Internal bleeding generally occurs due to high-impact crashes, and can be of significant, life-threatening concern. Internal bleeding can occur in numerous ways affecting any one or more of our internal organs — particularly the liver, spleen and kidneys.
What to do after a motor vehicle accident
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Legally, you are required to stop, check on everyone in case of injury and render aid if needed. Under no circumstances should you simply drive away. You’ll also be expected to provide details at the scene about your vehicle, registration and CTP insurer. If you’ve run into an unattended structure, property or car, you’ll be required to find out who it belongs to and provide your insurance details.
If someone is hurt, you must call the police. If someone isn’t hurt, and damage is estimated at less than $3000, you don’t legally have to report, but most insurers will ask for a police report. Your insurer will want to know if you have admitted any fault to the police or anyone else and will be very unhappy if you have.
If the crash involved serious, reckless, dangerous or menacing driving, a crime may have been committed and you should file a police report after seeking medical attention.
What to know about car accident injury compensation
Your lawyer will work with you to ensure you’re maximally compensated; to that end, here are a handful of compensation-related factors to consider:
How much car accident injury compensation can you claim?
In most cases, a reasonable personal injury claim will include medical costs, payment for economic losses due to time off of work and any missed super contributions, and potentially additional compensation if you suffer lasting physical or psychological injury from the accident, which can bring pain and suffering compensation into play.
Insurance factors are also important to consider: The standard third-party insurance, which is obligatory for drivers, usually provides coverage for injuries suffered by victims. However, in cases where the responsible driver lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage, alternative insurance options — whether personal car insurance or government compensation schemes — may be necessary. The extent of compensation may also be impacted by the limits specified within either party’s insurance policy.
The process of lodging a claim
Sooner is better than later when it comes to filing a claim, although you want to know the full extent of your injury before you lodge. You may have anywhere from six months to three years from the date of the accident to lodge your claim, and you’ll need a qualified car accident solicitor to help walk you through the process.
Who will pay the motor vehicle accident compensation depends on whose fault the accident was, what kind of insurance coverage is available and the extent of the injuries. At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we’re here to make sure you get all of the car accident compensation to which you’re entitled.
We will review the details of your accident and tell you if we believe you have grounds to lodge a car accident compensation claim. We can help you set expectations about how much compensation you may stand to receive.
You can pursue a claim in complete confidence considering we won’t charge you any legal fees (due to our no-win, no-fee agreement) unless we secure your personal injury compensation. Being injured in a car crash can negatively impact your life and ability to work, temporarily or permanently, and you should be compensated for the interruption to your life.
The road accident compensation process
If you have been hurt in a car accident in Australia, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your medical bills, lost earnings and a range of other expenses associated with the crash. A car accident lawyer can help you get the money you are owed for your injuries.
In most cases, we can get the appropriate parties to offer a suitable settlement to avoid going to court. Typically we don’t advise accepting the initial offer, as it will be low and there will be pressure to accept it before you even know the full extent of your motor vehicle accident injury.
While most claims will be settled with the assistance of a qualified car accident lawyer, if you need to go to court, we have the resources to support you and will be by your side the entire way. We are committed to ensuring that you receive the car accident compensation you deserve.
We are one of the largest compensation claims specialists in Australia, winning over $4 billion for our clients. Contact Gerard Malouf & Partners today for no-obligation legal advice about your claim.