Being in a car accident can be a stressful situation. If you ever find yourself in one, the first thing you should do is to make sure everyone is OK and to call 000 if emergency assistance is required, such as the police, ambulance or fire services.
Collect the other party’s details
It’s very important to remember to collect the other party’s details after a motor vehicle accident, this will help the police if they need to investigate, help you claim on your car insurance or if you need to make a claim with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).
Details you should collect after an accident:
- The other driver’s name
- The other driver’s address
- The other driver’s phone number
- The other vehicle’s registration details (licence plate number)
- The make and model of the other vehicle
- The date and time of the accident
- The location of the accident
What if the other party has left or refuses to provide their details?
It’s required by law to exchange relevant contact and insurance details in the event of a road accident. However, if the driver of the other car involved in the accident has fled the scene without leaving their details or they simply refuse to, the accident now involves what is called an ‘unidentified driver’. It’s important in these circumstances to take reasonable steps to try and determine their identity, and to report the accident to the Police and provide them with as many details as possible to try and assist them in identifying the other party (car make and model, colour, any other revealing traits etc...). This can become an important step if you’ve suffered a serious and permanent injury because of the accident and want to pursue a common law claim with the TAC down the track.
You may still claim for compensation
If you don’t have the insurance details of the other party that caused the accident, or even if you caused the accident yourself, you may still be entitled to make a claim for compensation with the TAC. There are no-fault benefits you may claim, which are designed to provide support to anybody that’s been injured on the roads. There are three main no-fault benefits available:
Medical and like expenses:
If you are injured in a car accident you may be able to claim all reasonable medical and like expenses from the TAC. Medical expenses include a wide range of things such as hospital, surgery/injections, doctor appointments, physio and chiro treatments, radiology/scans, medication, travel expenses incurred in obtaining treatment, child care, and home help expenses.
For the first 90 days after an accident, you can get treatment for most medical services without pre-approval from the TAC.
However, after 90 days it’s important to seek the pre-approval of the TAC to continue your treatments without incurring out of pocket costs.
If you are out of pocket or if any of your medical expenses have been denied or refused by the TAC, you should speak to a lawyer to see if the decision can be reviewed and overturned. There are strict time limits which apply to reviewing a TAC decision so speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Loss of earnings:
In addition to your medical expenses you may also claim for loss of earnings if you’re unable to work your normal hours because of the injuries you suffered in the accident.
If you’ve suffered a permanent injury in the car accident you may be entitled to lump sum compensation, in the form of an impairment benefit. Whether you qualify for an impairment benefit and how much you may be entitled to, will depend on your assessed impairment.
An 11% impairment entitles you to $8,040. The compensation amount increases by each percentage point. For example, someone with a 20% impairment is entitled to $21,840 and someone with a 25% impairment is entitled to $32,690. The amounts are indexed annually.
It’s also important to know that if the accident was caused by another party, even if it involves an unidentified vehicle, and you’ve been left with a serious and permanent injury, you should obtain legal advice about pursuing a common law claim for pain and suffering and financial loss from the TAC.
Strict time limits apply with TAC claims so we suggest you get legal advice and support as soon as you can after your accident to make sure your rights are protected.
The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.