No matter how good of a driver you are, accidents happen. On Queensland roads, you have certain legal obligations if you’re involved in an accident and a few smart steps to take to protect yourself. Below is a quick overview of minor car accident procedure in Queensland.
1. Check for injuries
The first step is always to check everyone is okay. Drivers are legally obliged to stop immediately and assist anyone injured in a car accident. If someone involved in the accident needs medical attention, help where you can and call 000 if it is serious. Do not drive if you have sustained an injury or feel like you may be in shock—call a friend or family member to pick you up.
2. Don’t admit fault
While it’s important to make sure everyone is okay and be sympathetic, it’s also important not to admit fault before you have spoken to your insurance provider. This could put you in breach of your insurance contract or make it more difficult if it turns out you weren’t in the wrong and you try to submit a compensation claim later. If the other driver is trying to get you to take the blame, focus on exchanging details and following the process below.
3. Exchange details with the other drivers
Once it’s determined that everyone is okay, you will need to exchange details. If the other driver doesn’t stop, try to get their registration number. Drivers involved in a car accident must provide their:
- Phone number
- Registration number
- Insurance details
4. Collect contact details from witnesses
Collect contact details of witnesses if possible, particularly if someone has sustained injuries. You should do this whether it’s you or the other driver as it can help if you decide to pursue a claim and can be useful if the other driver tries to take unfair legal action against you.
5. Record the damage
Take photos or videos of the damage on both cars. This will help confirm your story if required later.
6. Contact the police if necessary
If the combined property damage of the vehicles involved exceeds $2,500 or if anyone is seriously injured, you will need to report the accident to the police. If there are no police present at the accident, it needs to be reported to the police station closest to the scene within 24 hours.
What happens during a motor vehicle claim process?
Sometimes minor car accidents can still cause injuries such as whiplash. If you’re injured in a car accident in Queensland, you’re only eligible for compensation if you can prove that someone else is at fault. You can find more about lodging a claim under Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance here. So, what does the claims process usually look like?
We complete investigations
Before we can start your claim, we will take a comprehensive statement from you, investigate who to lodge a claim against, obtain doctors’ reports, and sometimes investigate the scene of the accident. We may also get an expert’s opinion and interview witnesses.
We lodge Notice of Accident Claim form
We will then lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form with the CTP insurance company of the vehicle that caused the accident within one month of meeting with you. An Additional Information Form could be lodged later depending on your injuries.
While preparing these forms, we may request medical records from the hospitals or doctors who are treating you to use as evidence. In some cases, the insurer will obtain these records themselves.
We try to settle the claim outside of court
Once we have lodged the claim form with the insurance company, we have six months to obtain the liability response. Once all evidence supporting your claim is received, we will negotiate with the insurance company in a compulsory conference (you will need to attend) to try and settle your claim outside of court. If your claim is not settled, we will then have the option to start court proceedings within 60 days of the conference.
If you’ve been in a car accident and have questions about filing a claim, get in touch with an experienced Gouldson lawyer for an obligation-free chat.