The top 15 car accident FAQs

According to the Department of Transport and Main Roads, there were 4,190 crashes over a nine-month period in 2019. That means every day, nearly 15 crashes happen on Queensland roads that result in someone being hospitalised.  

Car accidents have the potential to be a traumatic experience for anyone. They are, however, a reality of modern life and everybody is bound to be involved in a car accident in one way or another. 

Understandably, people have a lot of questions when it comes to car accidents.  

1. What are the 3 most common things to cause a car accident? 

According to the Queensland Government’s summary of road crashes in Queensland in 2018, the three major contributing factors to fatal accidents are: 

  1. Drivers/riders disobeying road rules (59.6%) 
  2. Drugs/alcohol (48.2%) 
  3. Senior adult drivers/riders (30.2%) 

2. What are the 5 most common car accidents? 

Another summary by the Queensland Government, this time on road incidents over the 2018-19 Christmas/New Year period, outlines the five most common types of crashes leading to hospitalisations: 

  1.  Hit object 
  2. Angle 
  3. Read-end 
  4. Head-on 
  5. Hit pedestrian 

3. Is the behind driver always at fault? 

As a general rule, the vehicle that crashes into the back of another will be at fault.  

There are, however, certain situations that this may not be the case. For example: 

  • If the vehicle in front rolls back into a stationary car.  
  • The behind vehicle comes to a stop in time but another vehicle crashes into their back, in turn making the car rear-end the vehicle in front.  
  • The vehicle in front broke road rules or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
  • The person in the vehicle behind has a medical emergency while driving and crashes into the vehicle in front.  
  • The other vehicle has broken road rules. 

4. Who is at fault in a multi car accident? 

The vehicle behind has a responsibility to come to a stop before colliding with the vehicle in front. If there is a car accident involving more than two cars, fault can be harder to determine.  

If a vehicle in the middle of a multi car pile-up comes to a complete stop but then is pushed into the back of another car by the vehicle behind, they are not liable for damages. If, however, they are not pushed by the vehicle behind, they may still be considered liable.  

For more information, check out our article on determining fault in a multi vehicle accident. 

5. What do I do if I have a minor car accident? 

If you are involved in a car accident, you should follow the same procedures, even if you feel it to be minor.  

If you have a minor car accident, you should still: 

  • Get out of the vehicle (if safe) and make sure all passengers are okay 
  • Get the details of the other drivers involved in the accident, including insurance details 
  • Record the details of any witnesses to the crash 
  • Take photos of damages to any property 
  • Report the accident to the police 
  • Attend upon your doctor if you have any symptoms whatsoever.

6. What information should you get after a car accident? 

Try to get as much information and details on the car accident. In particular, try to get the following: 

  • Name and address of the other drivers 
  • Vehicle registration number 
  • Details on the insurer 
  • Details on the crash (time of day, conditions of the road etc.) 
  • Photos of any damages to vehicle and property.

7. Do you have to call the police after a minor car accident? 

According to the Queensland Police Service, you must call Policelink on 131 444 if any of the ‘police attendance criteria’ are met: 

  1. You suspect the involvement of any drugs or alcohol 
  2. Another driver is refusing to provide the required details 
  3. A driver with an impairment or disability requires police assistance. 

8. Do you legally have to give your details if you crash into a car?

Yes – you are legally required to provide certain details to any other drivers involved in the car accident, any injured parties or the owners of any property damaged in the accident.  

The details you are required to provide are: 

  • Name and address 
  • The name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle 
  • The vehicle registration number 
  • Any other information required for identifying your vehicle.  

Failing to provide required details is considered to be one of the police attendance criteria. You may be charged for failing to provide details.  

9. What should you do immediately after a car accident? 

The first steps immediately after a car accident should always be: 

  • Confirm all the passengers in your car are okay 
  • If safe to do so, get out of the vehicle to check on the other driver(s) and passengers 
  • If safe to do so, move vehicle out of the path of traffic 
  • Swap details with other driver(s) 
  • Call the police if any police attendance criteria are met 
  • Attend upon your doctor if you’re suffering from any injury symptoms at all. 

Read our article on the top 10 things you should do after a car accident for more information. 

10. Will the police tow my car away? 

The police will not tow your car away. It is your responsibility to arrange to have your vehicle safely removed from the crash site.  

The only situation where the police may arrange to have your vehicle removed is if you are incapacitated and your vehicle is considered a risk for other road users.

11. What do I do if the other driver gave me false details?

Call Policelink on 131 444 if you believe you have been given false details or you feel there is other suspicious or untoward behaviour happening. Police will ask you questions to gauge whether they need to attend. 

If, however, you have already left the crash site, simply head to your closest police station to report the matter. Police will do their best to make further enquiries. 

12. What is a CTP claim?

CTP claim is compensation claim made against the compulsory third party (CTP) insurer of the at-fault vehicle.  

CTP insurance is compulsory in Queensland and is included in the cost of registering your vehicle. Queensland’s CTP insurance scheme is designed to protect Queenslanders; covering the compensation claims if someone is injured or killed on Queensland’s roads. 

13. Who pays in a CTP claim?

The CTP insurer of the at-fault driver will pay damages. In other words, the at-fault driver does not pay damages out of their own pocket. 

14. What happens if the other driver flees the scene or is unregistered?

You may still be able to claim if you are unable to identify the at-fault vehicle. This could be either through the at-fault vehicle fleeing the scene or being hit by an unregistered vehicle.  

In these situations, you can commence a compensation claim against the Nominal Defendant 

The Nominal Defendant acts as the CTP insurer for unidentified or uninsured vehicles. This protects Queenslanders who are injured in car accidents, allowing them to access compensation. 

15. Do most car accident cases settle? 

We cannot speak to the outcomes of any past car accident claims. What we can say, however, is that we’ll listen to your case for free and offer you the next best steps forward. 

The vast majority of injury compensation claims under the CTP insurance scheme settle out of Court.  

If we feel that filing a compensation claim is not in your best interests, we will let you know. If making a claim is potentially in your best interests, we’ll explain your options to you.   

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