Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common accidents that occur in Australia today. Thousands of people are involved in car accidents every year, with many of these cases not being dealt with timeously or in the right way.
Many Australians are unaware of the correct procedure to follow when putting in a car accident injury claim. This makes it that much more important to know exactly what to do following one, to ensure you limit any repercussions on future income or hospital bills.
Whether it’s a major collision or a simple rear-ender, it will likely result in some sort of damages incurred. There are many variables that should be taken into consideration after having a car accident, ranging from seeking medical attention to making a car claim. This guide will take you through the necessary steps to ensure you are covered in all scenarios.
Immediately After An Accident
While there may not be any visible injuries at the time of the accident, it is possible to suffer from delayed injuries such as whiplash. It is therefore imperative that you follow these four basic steps immediately after being involved in an accident:
- Immediately check the safety of yourself and any other passengers or individuals involved. If anyone is injured call an ambulance and the police immediately.
- Injuries can occur in the simplest of accidents. It is therefore important that any pain or visible injuries are documented thoroughly by a medical professional.
- Irrespective of any assumed or apparent injuries, ensure a member of the police is present to record the accident. Having a police report of the accident is important in order to assess which driver was at fault.
- Be absolutely sure to take down the drivers name, address, phone number, email, driver’s license, the cars registration and the driver’s insurance information. Any additional information you get can be useful in the future. It is also important to take down the details of any witnesses in the vicinity.
Photographs, Videos and Notes Can Assist in Your Accident Claim
Photographs and videos can be very useful in these situations. This is because they will capture the accident site, and can be used later on in your car accident injury claim.
It is also recommended that you take as many pictures as possible of all the vehicles involved in the accident. This includes the location of traffic lights and other evidence such as road markings, debris or skid marks.
You can also take notes or pictures of the road and weather conditions at the time of the accident. We recommend you take statements from witnesses in the area, provided they are not supporting the other driver, as these could potentially be used against you in the future.
After being involved in an accident, it is important to seek medical treatment even if your injuries seem minor. Inform the doctor that you were involved in an accident and follow through on any medication or treatment prescribed.
Failing to report or seek medical assistance immediately can result in problems when seeking compensation for whiplash etc. It is therefore imperative you report this as early as possible.
Car Accident Personal Injury Claim
A car accident personal injury claim is a suit for compensation of any injuries incurred by one party as a result of negligent actions of another. Insurance that covers personal injuries sustained due to an accident is called Compulsory Third Party Insurance or CTP insurance.
Under the CTP insurance policy, all motor vehicle owners in Australia are legally required to have CTP insurance, covering any drivers, passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident. This makes them all eligible to make a car compensation claim.
Before contacting a personal injury lawyer to represent you, it is important to know the different types of injury claims as well as the grounds for making a claim and lastly, the implications involved.
What Can I Claim For?
Personal injury damage awards are based on your circumstances as well as the type of claim. In most cases, there is a cash value that is placed on the difference between your projected life path prior to the accident, and your present life path, post-accident. Compensation may include the following:
- Material Damages
- Funeral Costs
- Non-Monetary Damages
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of Earnings or Earning Capacity
Compensation is generally limited to the financial situation of the party at fault. In cases where you are completely blameless but failed to take reasonable responsibility, the court can decide that your negligence intensified your injuries, which could result in a reduction of your damages award.
Replacement Costs and Dealing With Insurers
Property damage to your car itself is a separate claim that needs to be made. Insurance that covers property damage or car repairs is known as comprehensive insurance”. If you want to claim from either yours or the other vehicles comprehensive car insurance, you will need to contact the insurance company immediately after the accident.
You will need to give them a detailed account of the accident, which will allow them to assign you a claim number and an adjuster to handle all facets of your car accident personal injury claim.
The insurer will require as much information as possible; this is where all the photos, videos and notes will come in handy. You can also provide information from supportive witnesses or give a recorded statement of your recollection of the accident.
The insurance company will then allocate someone to assess and evaluate the damage to your car. In some cases, you will be expected to get quotations on damage repair costs, on your own.
Depending on your insurance policy, the company may offer you a rental car, or you may be able to seek reimbursement from the other involved party at a later time.
What if I Don’t Have Comprehensive Insurance?
If you do not have comprehensive insurance to cover the costs to repair your car, you will need to make a payment arrangement with the other party involved or their comprehensive insurer. If your car is beyond repair and needs to be written off, you will need to arrange payment for the replacement of your vehicle.
Car Accident Claim Time Limit
As suggested above, it is important to notify your insurer of your accident as soon as possible. In some cases you may not have all the facts at hand, it is still recommended that you inform your insurer and they can advise you of any information you may require or steps to take in the interim. They will also be able to tell you what you will and will not be covered for.
Can I Make a Claim After The Time Limit?
There are time limits around a car accident injury claim or general damage claim. In order to make a successful accident compensation claim, it is important to obtain the following:
Police Event Number
If you are involved in any motor vehicle accident, it is important that you report it as soon as possible, within 28 days of the accident itself, or you could be penalized. Once you have submitted a report, you must ensure that you receive an event number for the accident.
If you do not file this report and receive an event number for the accident, you will need to justify why you were unable to submit a police report when making your claim.
If you have incurred any injuries due to a car accident, a medical professional must assess you as soon as possible after the accident has occurred. In order to claim compensation for injuries sustained, you will need medical reports and receipts.
Without this proof of medical assessment, you will not be able to claim back costs and your car accident personal injury claim will be unsuccessful.
Bear in mind that some injuries do not reflect immediately and may take time to appear.
If for some reason, you were unable to make a car accident injury claim or general compensation claim in time, there is still a possibility of an extension being granted by the court. This will require special circumstances that can arise after an accident or serious injuries. When looking at your case, the court will consider various things such as:
- The length of the delay
- The reason for the delay
- The injuries sustained during the accident
The court will use its discretion to decide whether you will be awarded the requested extension. It is important to be aware that extensions are not commonly handed out, so it is best not to rely on this and to make your claim within the provided time limits.
At Motorlegal our aim is to offer you a one-stop shop for all our clients, on any motor vehicle matter, following an accident. Having worked closely with both claimants and insurers, we know exactly what you are entitled to! For more information, contact us and help us help you!