Being involved in a car accident can be an incredibly traumatic and terrifying experience.
It is common for people who have been involved in a car accident to be unsure about the appropriate course of action to take.
All drivers in Queensland must have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance. This insurance is paid for as part of your motor vehicle registration.
TRAPPED OR INJURED
If anyone involved in the car accident has been trapped or injured, then triple zero (000) should be contacted immediately to ensure the appropriate emergency services attend the scene.
You should not move anyone who has been seriously injured unless it is absolutely necessary as this can cause further injury. Wait for emergency services to arrive.
MOVE TO A SAFE LOCATION
If you have not been seriously injured, then it is important that you move to a safe location and away from moving traffic.
If you are unable to move your car, then you should turn the car off, activate your hazard lights and move yourself to a safe location before dealing with anyone else involved in the accident.
REPORT THE ACCIDENT
It is important that police are contacted if:-
1. anyone involved in the accident has sustained an injury;
2. police involvement is required to direct traffic or deal with hazards;
3. any of the drivers appear to be affected by alcohol or drugs;
4. any of the drivers fail or refuse to exchange details.
It is a requirement to report an accident to police if anyone has been injured. This is also required if you intend to make a claim under Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance for any injuries sustained in the accident.
If you have sustained an injury in the accident but have already left the accident scene, you should report the accident to the police as soon as possible.
You can report the accident by contacting Police link online, via the smartphone app, calling 131 444 or attending your local police station. You will be provided with a report number to assist with any insurance claim for property damage or personal injury.
TOWING YOUR VEHICLE
If your vehicle needs to be towed then you should contact your insurer or a towing company of your choice to arrange for your vehicle to be towed.
If your vehicle is towed, you are also required to notify the police of the accident within 24 hours of leaving the accident scene.
OBTAIN IMPORTANT DETAILS
If you can safely do so, you should obtain important details regarding the car accident. These details can include:-
• contact details of the drivers involved in the accident;
• contact details of any witnesses to the accident;
• details of any vehicles involved in the accident;
• time and date of the accident; and
• location of the accident.
It is possible that the car accident was captured by CCTV footage or dash cam footage. If you can safely do so, look to see if there are any CCTV cameras nearby and check whether anyone involved in the accident has dash cam footage.
It is also important to take photos of the accident scene and any vehicles involved in the accident.
Given the understandable shock involved with a car accident, it can take some time for people to notice the appearance of symptoms or injuries following an accident.
You should seek immediate medical attention if any symptoms or injuries become apparent so that you can receive appropriate medical treatment and rehabilitation to assist with your recovery.
It is also a requirement that a CTP Medical Certificate is completed by your medical provider if you intend to make a claim under CTP Insurance for injuries sustained in the accident. This document can be obtained from your treating medical provider or online from the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (https://maic.qld.gov.au).
If you have been injured as a result of a car accident due to the fault or negligence of someone else, you are entitled to receive assistance and compensation from the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault for some or all the following:-
• Pain and Suffering;
• Medical Expenses;
• Pharmaceutical Expenses;
• Travel Expenses;
• Rehabilitation including physiotherapy and medical treatment [including surgery] fully funded by the CTP insurer;
• Loss of Income/Wages;
• Future Loss of Income/Wages;
• Loss of Superannuation Benefits;
• Domestic Care and Assistance provided by family members and friends;
• Future Domestic Care and Assistance by family members and friends;
• Paid Domestic Care and Assistance from service providers;
• Future Medical Treatment; and
• Retaining Costs.
If you wish to pursue compensation for injury, loss and damage you have suffered due to a motor vehicle accident, it is important to obtain legal advice regarding your rights and options as strict time limits apply under the provisions of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994.
If the vehicle of the driver at fault is registered and covered by CTP Insurance then the time limits for notifying the CTP Insurer of the claim is the earlier of:-
• nine (9) months of the accident or first appearance symptoms; or
• within one (1) month of consulting a solicitor about the possibility of making a claim.
However, if the vehicle of the driver at fault is not registered and not covered by a CTP Insurer, then any claim will need to be lodged against the Nominal Defendant within three (3) months of the motor vehicle accident.
It is possible that a motor vehicle accident claim can be lodged after the time limits outlined above, but a reasonable excuse for delay must be provided.
It is also important to note that any potential claim will be statute barred (your compensation rights will be lost) if a claim is not commenced:-
• where the at fault vehicle is registered – within three (3) years against the CTP insurer; or
• where the at fault vehicle is not registered – within nine (9) months against the Nominal Defendant.