Compensation for Hit And Run Accidents

Hit and run accident compensation

We all use due care when driving or riding on our roads to avoid an accident. But from time to time, an accident will happen where a vehicle will hit a pedestrian, a cyclist, or another vehicle and will leave the scene without exchanging details or without stopping. This is known as a hit and run accident. The driver may have left the scene because they did not realise they had hit anyone, or they might have left the scene deliberately.

If you have been involved in a hit and run incident you might be feeling confused and a bit lost as to what type of compensation you might be able to receive. If you are injured as well, this can add to the concerns you might have. You might be wondering how you can locate the other driver, or how you can start the process of getting your vehicle repaired.

We have combined some of the key information you need about how to seek compensation for hit and run accidents.

A ‘hit and run’ accident is where a motor vehicle accident occurs, but one of the drivers simply drives away from the accident without stopping to see if you are okay or to provide their name and registration details.

What is considered a 'hit and run' accident?

A hit and run accident covers basically any scenario in which the driver or rider of a vehicle hits another road user and does not stop. This can include:

  • A pedestrian being hit by a vehicle that fails to stop
  • A cyclist being hit by a vehicle that fails to stop
  • A car accident where the at-fault driver does not exchange details
  • A vehicle hitting an unattended parked car and failing to leave details
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What do you do if you are injured in a hit and run accident and can’t identify the other party?

If you are injured in a ‘hit and run’ accident, you have the right to make a compensation claim for your personal injuries through the Nominal Defendant in Queensland. The same claims process is followed as if you were making a claim against a compulsory third-party insurer.

  • You have an avenue to seek compensation even if you cannot identify the other driver
  • It is important to seek legal advice if you are injured in a hit and run accident
  • Early lodgement is important to ensure you have access to appropriate treatment and rehabilitation
The Nominal Defendant is a statutory body established under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (MAI Act) for the purpose of compensating people who are injured as a result of the negligent driving of unidentified and/or uninsured (no Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance) motor vehicles. The Nominal Defendant Fund was first introduced in 1961. 

You do need to take all reasonable steps possible to identify the person who is at fault before seeking compensation from the Nominal Defendant. This might include calling the police to let them know about the accident and seeking their help, and/or putting a newspaper advertisement out calling for witnesses.

Do I need to call the police if I have been in a hit and run accident?

It’s likely that you will need to involve the police. And, if you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault and you cannot identify the other party it is important that you seek legal advice. A lawyer can help you to navigate the process of approaching the Nominal Defendant for compensation.

Example - Linda was driving home from work after a late shift at the hospital when she was sideswiped by another driver trying to overtake her. She was badly shaken but didn’t seem to be injured. When she slowed down to pull over the other driver sped off into the night. Linda didn’t get the other drivers’ licence plate because it all happened so quickly. A week later, her neck has started to ache.
Linda would need to contact the police and report the accident with a description of the other car involved. She’d also need to call businesses in the area who might have CCTV footage of the incident. A medical assessment would need to be completed to confirm whether her injuries were linked to her accident. She’s need to identify her insurance provider, and if the other driver could not be identified, Linda would likely seek compensation from the Nominal Defendant. 

What can I be compensated for in a hit and run injury claim?

If you have been injured, and/or if your car, motorbike, bicycle or vehicle has been damaged, you can seek a range of compensation. This may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Compensation for lost or reduced income
  • Any home modifications required for you following your injury
  • Costs of care
  • Pain and suffering

A lawyer can provide you with a fair estimate of the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive.

What information do I need to gather?

If you’ve been hit by another driver, don’t try to chase after them if you did not get their details. If you can, try to get the other party’s registration details. If not, you may need to get the police involved. They will be able to investigate the accident and may be able to get local security camera footage to identify the other party.

  • Record a description of the other party in as much detail as possible
  • Phone the police and get an incident report number
  • Take photos of the damage to your vehicle
  • Seek medical treatment if you are injured – and even if you feel well, it is advised to see your regular doctor for a check-up as soon as possible
  • Contact any businesses or homes nearby and find out if they have CCTV footage at the time of the incident
  • Contact your insurance provider to let them know you have been in an accident that was not your fault

Remember, it is against the law to refuse to provide your details after an accident. So if someone has refused to pass over their details following an incident, take note of their license plate if possible and call the police.

What is the timeframe for lodging a hit and run claim?

You have a limit on the timeframe in which to lodge your claim. This must be given within three months for a claim to the Nominal Defendant when the other party cannot be identified. In any other cases you have the following limits:

  • After a crash – nine months
  • If you have a solicitor managing your claim – one month after your first consultation with the solicitor
  • If you have injuries that later arise as a result of your crash – nine months after the first symptoms appear

It is vital that you lodge as soon as possible, not only for your compensation but also for access to treatment and rehabilitation where required. If you are under 18 at the time of the accident, different limits apply. Also, it’s important to be aware that your claim could be rejected if you lodge outside the timeframes.

Next steps - get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

Last update on:
May 29, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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