What do I do if I'm injured in a car accident?

February 8, 2014

Unfortunately accidents can happen and sometimes people get injured. These injuries may require medical treatment and may also lead to disability and a reduced enjoyment of life.


Many people do not know what they should do if they are injured in a car accident in Queensland.


Compulsory Third Party insurance

If you own and register a vehicle in Queensland, you will know you pay a premium for Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP) each renewal period. Many people confuse CTP insurance with Comprehensive Motor Insurance or Third Party Property Damage insurance.


CTP insurance covers the registered vehicle owner’s personal liabilities for injuries (not vehicle damage) caused by the operation of their motor vehicle whereas Comprehensive Motor Insurance or Third Party Property Damage insurance typically covers the damage sustained to vehicles.


Typical motor vehicle accidents where injuries might be claimable under the CTP scheme include the following:


  • collisions between two or more vehicles

  • Injuries sustained to a passenger in a vehicle where that driver of the vehicle may have caused or contributed to the accident

  • Pedestrian hit by a vehicle

  • Single vehicle collision where driver swerved to avoid accident

  • “Hit and run” incidents (e.g. where you can’t identify the other vehicle)

  • In certain single vehicle accidents caused by vehicle defects


What to do if you are injured?

If you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident occurring in Queensland you should:


  1. where possible, obtain details of the “at fault” driver and vehicle involved in the accident, including their full name, address, phone number/s, vehicle registration number, owner of the vehicle they were driving; and

  2. obtain details of any potential witnesses, including their names, addresses and telephone contact numbers; and

  3. report the accident to Queensland Police immediately (usually within 28 days of an accident) if they did not attend the scene of the accident; and

  4. take photos of the accident scene and/or any vehicle damage, where possible; and

  5. take photos of any obvious injuries, such as seatbelt or airbag bruising, cuts, abrasions, etc; and

  6. obtain legal advice as soon as possible, even if you think your injuries may resolve, as there are strict time limits that apply and you cannot be certain that your injuries will resolve.


Time Limits 

Ideally, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident.


For accidents where the “at fault” vehicle can be identified, your claim should be lodged:


  • within 9 months of the accident; or

  • within 1 month after speaking to a lawyer; and

  • no later than 3 years following the accident.


Where the accident involves a vehicle that cannot be identified you will need to lodge a claim against the Nominal Defendant:


  • within 3 months of the accident; or

  • within 1 month after speaking to a lawyer; and

  • no later than 9 months of the accident.


In addition to the above time limits, you must commence formal proceedings in a court seeking damages for your injuries within 3 years from the date of your accident (or in the case of minors, from their 18th birthday).


Furthermore, most claims under the CTP scheme will resolve or settle without ever needing to commence court proceedings.


Finally, if you have not already lodged a Notice of Accident Claim Form against the relevant CTP insurer and the 3 year time limit is approaching, you should seek immediate legal advice.


How can we help?

We have an experienced team of lawyers who can provide you with an initial obligation free advice on your rights and entitlements. Rees R & Sydney Jones take on many injury cases on a “no win, no fee” basis.

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