Car Accident or Public Place Accident: When Vehicles Crash into Houses

All too often we hear about vehicles crashing into houses and injuring, or nearly injuring, people in their homes. Just last year in November a Rocklea resident was lucky to escape injury when a prime mover drove through her front yard and into her patio, stopping just meters from where she was sleeping, causing substantial damage to her property.

In Western Australia in 2012 the most common crash type was a single vehicle running off the road and rolling or colliding with an object.

So if you are injured in your home by a vehicle crashing through your property is this classed as a public place accident or a motor vehicle accident?

In this article we take a look at the legislation to determine which law will be applicable. Firstly, we look to how one would claim for a personal injury, sustained in Queensland. A claim for personal injury in Queensland can be brought under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (PIPA). Section 6(1) of this Act states:

  • This Act applies in relation to all personal injury arising out of an incident whether happening before, on or after 18 June 2002.

However section 6(2) of the Act states that, this Act does not apply to-

  • Personal injury within the meaning of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 and in relation to which that Act applies; or
  • Accidental bodily injury caused by, through, or in connection with a motor vehicle, within the meaning of the Motor Vehicles Insurance Act 1936, and in relation to which that Act applies.

Given the circumstances of the accident’s in question, this act is therefore unlikely to apply. As we are looking at personal injuries caused by a motor vehicle, the application of Section 6(2) of the PIPA is likely prevent the claim from being brought under this Act.

One then, must turn their attention to the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (MAIA). This act applies to personal injury caused by, through or in connection with a motor vehicle if, and only if, the injury is a result of –

  • The driving of the motor vehicle; or
  • A collision, or action taken to avoid a collision, with the motor vehicle; or
  • The motor vehicle running out of control; or
  • A defect in the motor vehicle causing loss of control of the vehicle while it is being driven; AND
  • Is caused wholly or partly by a wrongful act or omission in respect of the motor vehicle by a person, other than the injured person.

As the injured person has sustained personal injury as a result of the driving of the motor vehicle by someone other than themselves then the MAIA will apply. Damages under this Act are calculated in the same way as those claims brought under the PIPA.

For the damage caused to the injured person’s property as a result of the vehicle being driven through or onto their property a claim can be made against the driver/vehicle’s comprehensive insurer.

If the driver/vehicle does not hold a comprehensive insurance policy, or their insurer refuses to pay, then a claim for property damage can be made against the driver through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). QCAT hears property damage disputes which are valued up to and including $25,000. Disputes valued over this amount are dealt with by the Courts.

Given the damage and injury that accidents like this can cause, and the various avenues to pursue (depending on your circumstances) it is best to discuss what happened with one of our lawyers. We act on a No Win, No Fee, No Problems guarantee for all claims we take on, and provide a Free Case Review, so that you can get free, experienced advice on what to do.

If you would like to learn more about these and other types of motor vehicle accidents, you can find everything you need here on our Car Accident page.

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