Written by Kerry Ward
If you are injured in a car accident but are unable to identify the driver or the vehicle at fault, you can make a claim against the Nominal Defendant. However, strict time limits apply.
At the scene of the accident
- If anyone is injured, you should call 000 and call for an ambulance;
- If anyone is seriously injured you should call 000 and ask for an ambulance and police. If no-one is seriously injured, then you should report the accident to police as soon as possible and preferably within 24 hours;
- You should write or record as much information as you can about the vehicle at fault whilst it is fresh in your mind – make, model, body type (eg sedan, SUV), registration number, colour of the vehicle, whether the vehicle has sign-writing or any identifying features, the nature of the damage to the vehicle;
- A description of the driver and passengers;
- Take a photo of the vehicle at fault if you are able to do so. You should not chase after the vehicle;
- Ask any witnesses as to whether they can identify the driver/vehicle at fault and ask for their description and contact details.
After the accident
- You should seek medical treatment from a doctor or hospital if you have any pain or discomfort and you should report all of your injuries/symptoms to your treating doctor, no matter how minor the symptoms;
- You should seek medical treatment at the earliest opportunity as delay can cause difficulties with establishing that your injuries were sustained as a result of the accident;
- Seek early advice from a lawyer about making a claim and seeking assistance to arrange insurer funded treatment and rehabilitation.
- If the vehicle at fault cannot be identified, then a Notice of Accident Claim Form must be given within 3 months after the motor vehicle accident;
- If a Notice of Accident Claim Form is not given within this time period, then the obligation to give the notice continues and a reasonable excuse for the delay must be given to the Nominal Defendant;
- If a motor vehicle cannot be identified and the notice is not given to the Nominal Defendant within 9 months after the motor vehicle accident, the claim against the Nominal Defendant is statute barred from proceeding;
- If you comply with the above time limits, then court proceedings must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the accident. Prior to commencing court proceedings, you must comply with the pre-court steps under the Motor Accident Insurance Act.
To request information about our available legal services, or to discuss your personal circumstances with one of our experienced car accident lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact Turner Freeman Lawyers on 13 43 63. Our Queensland offices are in Brisbane, Logan, North Lakes, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns.