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