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What to do if you’re involved in a car accident without insurance: At fault

On the road without proper auto insurance? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. According to Finder, as many as 1 in 5 cars in Australia weren’t properly insured in 2016, or about 4 million cars total. That means chances are good that either you or another driver won’t have insurance the next time you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident. This situation can be especially stressful if you may be fully or partially at fault for another driver’s injuries.

The impact of uninsured drivers

It should go without saying that driving without insurance is illegal in Australia. Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP) is a requirement for registering a car, and may even be included as a part of your registration cost, according to Canstar. While the penalty for driving an uninsured or unregistered car varies from state to state, you can expect a significant fine wherever you are. In New South Wales, for example, the penalty will typically come out to nearly $700 but can be as much as $1,472 and four license demerit points for vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes.

In addition to the personal risks, the high number of uninsured vehicles in Australia has real consequences for all motorists. According to a report from the Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) insured motorists in Australia are paying an extra $1.3 billion total, averaging out to around $45 per person.

It’s also worth noting that just because you have insurance does not mean you’re necessarily covered for all potential damages. While motor vehicle insurance will cover any personal injury payouts that may arise, you still could find yourself on the hook for the cost of repairs. To get coverage for these kinds of issues, you’ll need to pay into a separate Third Party Property insurance or a Comprehensive car insurance policy.

What to do following a motor accident

Regardless of your insurance status, there are several steps you should take following a motor accident in which you’re at fault. These include:

  • Making sure no-one is injured, and calling 000 for emergency services if necessary
  • Finding out if the other party has insurance and collecting their insurance information if they do
  • Writing down as much information as you can about the driver, their car and any damage to either vehicle.
  • Noting the speed at which you were driving, diagramming the scene of the accident and detailing any traffic lights or signs
  • Photographing as many details as possible, including the other driver’s license.

Ultimately, the more details you can collect, the better the case you can make for yourself if need be. If you are unable to gather information at the scene of an accident because of injuries, a personal injury solicitor can assist you later.

In the minutes following a motor accident, it’s also important that you remain calm and neither admit fault nor accuse the other party of being at fault – even if you find out they are uninsured.

Accidents where you’re uninsured

If you’re found to be at fault for an accident and are uninsured, it could wind up costing you. Legally, at-fault drivers are liable to pay all of the injured party’s damages. The purpose of an insurer is to foot the bill if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. However, if you don’t have proper insurance, you’ll be left to pay out of pocket.

Depending on the specifics of the accident, what you owe could add up fast. As with most personal injury cases, the potential damages an injured driver can seek include:

  • The cost of treating the immediate physical or psychological injury
  • Ongoing medical costs, such as domestic care to recuperate from long-term injuries
  • Non-economic damages, also called “pain and suffering” damages, for psychological or emotional distress
  • Loss of earnings or superannuation if the incident leaves you unable to work

Accidents where another involved driver is uninsured

Accidents where you are at fault but the injured driver is uninsured also present their own unique challenges. One of the responsibilities of an insurer is to look at the evidence both parties collect and allocate fault. In situations where it’s not entirely clear who was at fault, the lack of an insurer could make to get properly compensated.

Seeking legal reprieve

If you suffer personal injury as a result of a car crash, seeking legal advice can help increase your chances of adequate compensation. An expert personal injury solicitor can help you counter a claim made against you if you feel you are being charged too much or are not fully at fault for an accident. A lawyer can also help you obtain a proper payout if the other person involved is uninsured and unable to or refusing to pay the damages they are responsible for.

Whatever the specifics of your accident, the legal experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners can help. GMP is not a giant, publicly listed law company, but one of the largest private, highly specialised and focused law firms in the area of personal injury Australia-wide. For free over-the-phone advice or to take advantage of our free face-to-face consultation call our expert legal team today on 1800 004 878.

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 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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