Knowledge base

What to Do if Injured in a Car Accident in Queensland

Broken bones due to car injury

Car accidents are stressful and difficult at the best of times. If you are injured in a car or road accident in Queensland then it is important to understand what to do immediately after the accident as well as your legal rights.

Follow this list of what to do if you have been involved in a traffic accident.

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At the scene

There will be a lot going on. Your first step is to stop your car, stop the engine and only get out of your vehicle if it is safe to do so. You may be in a crash on the highway where cars are going past. If so you might need to get out on the other side of the car. You want to prevent any further accidents taking place, so if possible make sure you park in a place where you are safely off the road.

Any action will depend on the extent of your injuries. The number priority should be seeking medical attention and preventing any further injuries.

Where possible though you should:

1. Seek medical attention

  • If yourself and / or anyone else on the scene requires medical attention then ensure an ambulance has been called on 000.
  • Don't move seriously injured people from their vehicles unless there is risk of fire or explosion. Moving an injured person may cause further injuries.
  • If a motorcyclist is involved, don't remove their helmet unless it is critical to do so, this could cause further injury. Wait for the emergency services to do this.
  • If injuries are more minor then apply first aid where possible.

2. Reduce risks of further accidents

Risk of further car accidents

You should seek to reduce the risks of further accidents or injuries at the scene.

  • Use hazard lights on car
  • Check all car engines are turned off
  • Ensure no-one is smoking
  • Move those who are not seriously injured to a safe place. For example, if you breakdown on a freeway such as the Pacific Motorway then try to have people wait across the safety barriers, away from the road.

3. Report accident to the police

Not only are you required to do this by law, it is also necessary to report the accident if you are wanting to make a claim under a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance policy for any personal injuries you sustain in the accident.

Queensland Police Service provide the following advice for police involvement in the road accident.

Call 000 (triple zero) from the scene & request police (as well as other required emergency services) when:

  • medical attention required if an injury or death has occurred.
  • a hazardous environment or threat to public safety exists, including traffic congestion (e.g. fuel spill, power lines down).

You must call Policelink on 131 444 from scene if any of the following 'police attendance criteria' are met

Call the police to report a car accident
  • suspicion of drugs and/or alcohol contributing to accident,
  • a driver fails or refuses to provide required details such as drivers licence, contact info & insurance information,
  • a driver with an impairment or disability requires police assistance.

If a vehicle requires / required towing then you need to report to attending officer or at local police station (to location of accident).

In other circumstance then accidents then police can be notified by:

  • online at
  • using the Policelink Application for smart phones and tablets (via the My crash function). Available on Google Play for Android and App store for iOS devices.
  • phoning Policelink 131 444, or
  • attending your local police station.

4. Gather detailed Information

To help lodge an insurance claim and any future compensation for injuries it is important to have detailed information from the scene when possible. Only do this if you are in a position to do so.

Note down key details of the incident such as:

Gathering information after a car accident
  • time and date of accident
  • location - screenshot of your location on smartphone map could be helpful
  • weather conditions e.g. sunny, dusk, misty, heavy rain and so on.
  • traffic conditions e.g. quite / busy, roadworks and so on.
  • details of all vehicles involved including make, model, registration number, condition, direction of travel and so on.
  • contact details for everyone involved including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, witnesses. Try to get licence numbers, names, address, phone numbers, email details.
  • photo or video evidence of incident. Check if any photo or video evidence showing the accident or it's cause was captured. Look for CCTV cameras that may have captured the evidence, check if anyone had a dash-cam or if a witness captured anything on their smartphone.

5. Take photos

If possible you should take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and to the other car. Note any tyre marks on the road and get the contact details of any witnesses to the accident. Witnessed can be helpful when corroborating your version of events in making an application for insurance compensation, or personal injury compensation. Be sure to take pictures from a range of angles, making sure you get all of the damage to your vehicle in the photos. 

If you are able to do so, take photos of the scene using your smartphone or camera including:

  • photos of all vehicles involved from multiple angles.
  • close ups showing damage to vehicles.
  • broader shots showing the overall scene.
  • photos that show the number plates of vehicles involved.
  • take photos of ID such as drivers licence for other parties if possible.
Gathering driver's license and IDs

If the other driver refuses to provide their details and you have their registration you can report this accident to the police, no matter how much damage you have sustained to your vehicle.

After the accident 

1. Notify your insurer

You should also report the accident to your insurer, even if you don’t plan to make a claim. There are two reasons for this: firstly, the other person may make a claim against you, and, secondly, most insurance policies place a duty on you to disclose any accidents and a breach of that duty could invalidate your insurance.

Claims for personal injuries (as opposed to damage to your car) must be lodged with the CTP insurer of the driver responsible for the accident. Find more information about what you can and can’t claim for in our 'Injured in a car accident, what are my rights?' knowledge base article.

Hopefully you will have obtained the details of the other driver, including their name, vehicle registration and insurance details, at the time of the accident. If they are uninsured or can’t be identified, your claim will be lodged with the Nominal Defendant.

Note – if you were solely responsible for the accident, you won’t be able to make a CTP claim.

2. See a doctor & monitor injuries

Seeking medical attention

Some injuries and shock take a while to kick in. Be sure to look out for any symptoms of injury and seek treatment and rehabilitation to aid your recovery.

If an ambulance wasn’t called to the accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Injuries are not always apparent and therefore even if you don’t appear hurt, you may still need treatment. In addition, if you want to seek compensation for any injuries you suffered as a result of the accident, you will need to submit a medical certificate as part of your claim. If initially you are given the all clear and symptoms then develop at a later date, see a doctor as soon as possible after that.

3. Seek expert legal advice

In the state of Queensland, all drivers must have CTP (Compulsory Third Party) insurance, this is attached to the cars registration. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Queensland, and you were not the at-fault driver, you may be able to make a claim against the CTP insurance of the at-fault driver.

Strict time limits apply - seek legal advice ASAP - In most circumstances, the time limit to start a compensation claim is 3 years from the date of incident. Some processes need to be started much sooner. Seek expert legal advice ASAP. Call us on 1800 266 801 or start a live chat.

Get advice on your rights if insured in car accident

Time to lodge a car accident claim

There are strict time limits for lodging a notice of claim for compensation for personal injury. It’s therefore important you don’t delay in taking the necessary steps, otherwise you run the risk of your claim being rejected. The deadlines for lodging your notice are as follows:

  • within three months if the notice is being given to the Nominal Defendant; or
  • in any other case, whichever of the following dates is earlier:
  • within nine months of the accident or, if symptoms of the injury are not immediately apparent, within nine months of the first appearance of symptoms;
  • if you have instructed a solicitor to handle your claim, within one month of the first consultation with the solicitor.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Queensland then you may choose to seek risk-free legal advice at any stage of the claims process.

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Last update on:
June 1, 2021
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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