Been in a motor vehicle accident where the at-fault driver fled the scene? Yikes. You could be in for a bit of a fight.
If you’ve suffered an injury or damage to your property and don’t know who’s responsible, here’s how you could be able to make a claim for compensation, so you’re not left out of pocket.
What’s a hit and run accident?
Legally, if you’re involved in a traffic accident, you must stop and give your name and address to the other person involved regardless of who’s at fault (and vice versa). Therefore, a hit and run accident covers any kind of situation where one driver or operator of a vehicle leaves the scene without providing their personal details or checking the wellbeing of any other road users involved. A road user can be a pedestrian, cyclist, or other motor vehicle (truck, motorbike, car, utility, bus, tram etc).
How car insurance works with a hit and run accident
It’s sure hard to make a claim for compensation when you don’t know who you’re claiming against! But all is not entirely lost.
If you can’t track down the driver of the at-fault vehicle and you have comprehensive insurance cover for your car, then it’s possible you can make a claim on your cover and pay any applicable excess. If you notify the police and they’re able to identify the driver, then it’s possible you can still make a claim through your comprehensive cover and not be required to pay the excess. This can depend on your insurance provider.
How you can make a personal injury claim after a hit and run
Generally, when you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you can make a claim for compensation through the at-fault driver’s Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP). Not so when it’s a hit and run.
The reassuring news is that if you’re injured in a car accident in Queensland and unable to track down the at-fault driver, then you’re still able to make a compensation claim for your personal injuries through what’s known as the Nominal Defendant.
The Nominal Defendant is a statutory body established under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (MAI Act) for the purpose of compensating people who are injured as a result of the negligent driving of unidentified and/or uninsured (no CTP insurance) motor vehicles.
While the process is similar to making a claim through a CTP insurer, as always, it’s advisable you first speak to a personal injury lawyer to ensure you are receiving reasonable compensation and not missing out on money that you’re entitled to.
How to protect yourself in future
Any incidents where there is damage to property or people should be reported to police within 24 hours (or immediately when injuries are serious). Some insurance companies won’t accept a claim when police haven’t been informed.
You’ll also want to remember as many details as possible. While a car accident will likely rattle you, try to remember the registration number because even if the other driver doesn’t stop to provide their details, you can find a vehicle’s CTP insurer with just a rego number. Additionally, any other bits of useful information, such as the colour, make and model of the car, a description of the driver, and if safe to do so, pictures of the scene of the accident and any damage to your car can help police track down the driver and support your claim.
At Gouldson, we specialise in personal injury compensation claims
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident and you’re unsure how to proceed, you can get in touch with our team for a free case review.