In Queensland, the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance scheme enables injured drivers, passengers or pedestrians from a motor vehicle accident (MVA, which includes a car accident) to claim compensation from the insurer of the driver who is at fault. It also enables dependants of a person who died in an MVA to claim for their funeral expenses and the loss of financial support.
How to claim for MVA-related injuries
In order to succeed in your claim for damages, you must prove that the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries. You will also need specific expert evidence to prove your injuries. For this reason, most people seek professional legal assistance from a lawyer.
In the majority of cases, settlement is reached after a reasonable amount of evidence has been exchanged, but before the parties have to go to court. This minimises the time and cost associated with the litigation process.
There are various “heads of damages” or categories of expenses which the court will use to calculate the total amount of money you are entitled to.
These categories include:
- Medical, hospital and rehabilitation costs.
- Income lost as a result of not being able to work.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Compensation for your loss of enjoyment of life.
- Paid or unpaid home care.
For categories not associated with liquidated amounts, the court will determine what is appropriate and fair having regard to your age, the extent of your injuries, and the effect of those injuries on your lifestyle.
What to do after a Motor Vehicle Accident?
After an accident occurs, it is vital that evidence is recorded and preserved so that it is easier to establish your case down the track.
- If possible, write down details of where the accident occurred including the specific stretch of road, corner, roundabout or intersection.
- Always get details from the other driver and their vehicle and ask to see their drivers licence.
- Take contact details from any witnesses, so that the police can obtain their statement.
- Ensure that the police are informed of the accident within 2 business days.
- Keep notes of any physical or emotional injuries or symptoms following the accident.
What if I was at fault?
In circumstances where you are injured in an accident that was caused or partially caused by your negligence, you probably won’t be able to claim compensation for your injuries. Your only recourse in this situation would be to make a claim under your full comprehensive car insurance cover (if you have it).
Time limits for compensation claims
The statutory limit for instituting legal proceedings for personal injuries is 3 years, meaning your claim may be statute barred if it is brought outside of this time.
In Queensland, the statutory pre-litigation framework for personal injuries requires that claims be lodged within 9 months from the date of the accident. Your claim can only be lodged after this time if you have a good excuse for the delay.