Hit and Run - who to sue?

October 26, 2016

Imagine this scenario…

You’re out for a leisurely ride on your bicycle when some idiot comes screaming around the corner in a car. You are clipped by the side mirror and the the car roars off, never to be seen again.


Thankfully, you live to tell the tale. But your dislocated shoulder is another story. It will require surgery and take several months to heal. Adding insult to injury, you also have to postpone your long awaited family holiday. You find yourself the victim of a hit and run accident and are unable to locate the driver.


Hit and run

In Queensland, special rules relate to claims where the person who caused the accident is unable to be identified. These same rules also apply where the vehicle is later identified but is not properly registered.


Such claims are made against the Nominal Defendant. The Nominal Defendant, is a government body that takes the place of a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer where the “at fault” vehicle is either unregistered or unidentified.


The Nominal Defendant is funded out of the compulsory third party system. The levy was $11.50 per registered vehicle in the 2015. In the same year, the Nominal Defendant paid out about $25 million in claims.


How are claims against the Nominal Defendant different?

It is very important to note that the time limits for making a claim against the Nominal Defendant are different to ordinary claims.


In an ordinary motor vehicle claim, an injured person has 9 months from the date of the accident to notify the driver’s CTP insurer of the claim (or 1 month from their first consultation with a lawyer). However, claims against the Nominal Defendant must be notified within 3 months from the date of the accident. This period can be extended to 9 months if there is a reasonable excuse for the delay. However, any claim lodged after 9 months from the accident will be barred.


What should I do?

In the case of unidentified vehicles, a claimant must also establish that they have undertaken “proper inquiry and search” to identify the vehicle. In my experience, this requirement includes notifying the police as soon as possible, searching for possible witnesses and accessing potential CCTV footage of the accident scene.


If you have been injured by an unidentified vehicle or a vehicle that is uninsured, it is critical you seek legal advice as soon as possible after the accident.


accident, , compensation, compensation claim, Compulsory third party insurance, CTP, george cowan, hit and run, nominal defendant


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