Car Accident in Queensland
Thankfully, the majority of road accidents that occur are minor. Some of these result in no damage at all, while others may simply require minor repairs. However, sometimes more serious accidents occur. These may result in injuries which have an impact on your ability to work or enjoy life with your family.
When an accident is the fault of another person (be it the driver of another vehicle or the one you were in) you can make a claim against the Compulsory third party insurer of that person. Unfortunately the insurer won’t automatically offer to pay you all of your compensation entitlements. In these cases, you will want to retain the services of a skilled accident claim lawyer like those at Zaparas Lawyers. We will ensure that you receive fair compensation taking into account injuries, damages, lost wages and more.
Part of the reason it is important to acquire the services of a knowledgeable accident lawyer is that there are so many processes and deadlines involved when making an at-fault car accident insurance claim. What’s more, these rules vary from state to state. Your traffic accident lawyers will help you navigate the legal requirements of the process. However, to give you a basic understanding, here are some of the most important things to consider after a car accident in Queensland.
Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme for Personal Injury
Queensland has provided protection for parties injured in road accidents through their compulsory third party scheme. The CTP scheme is a common law ‘fault’ based one, where injured parties have access to a policy each driver must carry. This policy covers the driver’s unlimited liability for personal injury and related costs they may incur when they are found at fault for an accident.
By law, when registering a vehicle a driver must acquire CTP insurance. This is good news if you are indeed injured in an accident. Those who do not have this type of insurance will be charged. This works in a complainant’s favour when they use legal means to receive compensation. Remember that you do not have to be the driver or occupant of a vehicle – pedestrians and cyclists can also make claims under the CTP scheme.
In cases where you are unable to identify the at-fault party or when the at-fault party is uninsured and doesn't have the means to pay out a legal settlement, you can still have your personal injury costs paid for. By naming the at-fault party as an unnamed ‘nominal defendant’, you will be able to access a special pool that compensates victims in these circumstances.
There are important things to note about this type of insurance, however. Firstly, you must show that the driver in question was indeed at fault. If they are charged with a driving infraction, this will certainly help your case. However, a driver that broke no laws may still be at fault (e.g. a rear-end situation). By carefully documenting the scene, obtaining witness contacts, and with the help of your motor vehicle insurance lawyer, you can successfully prove that the other driver was at fault and therefore receive compensation for your injuries.
It is extremely important to note that personal injury claims falling under the Motor Accident Insurance (MAI) Act (such as CTP claims) are held to a specific statute of limitations. While accidents occurring at work have a 3-year statute of limitations, CTP claims must be filed by the date of whichever of the following occurs sooner:
• 9 months from the date of injury
• one month after a lawyer is consulted about making a claim
Another important fact to note is that compulsory third party insurance only covers personal injury. No matter how egregious the damage to your vehicle may be, CTP does not cover this. If the at-fault party carries comprehensive or third party property insurance, their insurance will cover damages to others’ vehicles. However, these types of insurance are not compulsory and many choose not to carry these plans. If the at-fault party is not willing to reimburse you for damages out of their own pocket, your Queensland compensation lawyer at Zaparas Lawyers will begin legal proceedings in order to ensure you receive the appropriate remuneration.
Damage Claims Process
First, you’ll need to ensure you have the identity of the offending party. If this was not obtained at the scene, you can perform a search of the vehicle’s registration number through the Department of Transport and Main Roads or request the information from the police accident report.
Your next step will be to assess the cost of repairs to your vehicle. Ensure you use a reputable, recognised repair shop and that their quote outlines both parts and labour costs. Obtaining multiple quotes and making a claim for the lowest one can help your case as it shows you are acting in good faith.
The next step is to send a letter of demand that outlines the specifics of the accident, the lowest quote, and the fact that the recipient of the letter is the at-fault party. You can also claim for associated costs (e.g. towing). If the car is a write-off, you can claim for what the car would have been valued at just before the accident minus any salvage payment you might receive for the wreck. Include a time period in which a reply agreeing to payment is expected (2 weeks – a month is reasonable).
A copy should be sent to the at-fault party’s insurance company as well, and another copy kept for you. Offer to make your vehicle available to the insurance company for inspection, should they so desire. Even if you have sent your letter of demand electronically, it is recommended that physical copies, which must be signed for on receipt, are also sent.
If no reply is received in the allotted time, your lawyer can then send a formal letter informing them that legal proceedings will begin on a set date unless an affirmative reply is received. If the at-fault party or the insurance company refuses payment, a letter saying legal proceedings are imminent can be sent out.
The statute of limitations for property damage is considerably longer – 6 years. However, it is always advisable to make your claim as soon as possible. Old claims are not looked upon as favourably by the courts, and both witnesses and evidence may not be as strong as time passes. If you have recently been in an accident and are thinking of making any motor accident claim, you should seek advice from an injury and accident lawyer immediately.
Queensland’s Best Compensation Lawyers
The compensation law experts at Zaparas Lawyers are Queensland’s best. With over 40 years of experience in compensation and insurance law, they have the knowledge and skill to get you the compensation you deserve; whether for personal injury, property damage, or lost wages. We understand that legal costs can be a hurdle, so our ‘no win, no charge’ policy ensures there is no financial risk on your part. Visit us at one of our offices in Gold Coast or Brisbane, or contact us today.