Injured in a Hit and Run Car Accident? – Why you need to take action as soon as possible!

Injured in a Hit and Run Car Accident? – Why you need to take action as soon as possible!

Published on 3 February 2023
Last updated on 2 February 2024

1. Introduction

Hit-and-run accidents are a common occurrence in Queensland, and the impact can be devastating. What’s more, the law does not always favour victims of hit-and-run incidents. Victims must act quickly in order to receive compensation for their injuries.

For all hit and run injury claims, you can make a claim against the compulsory third-party (CTP) insurer of the at-fault vehicle. If the at-fault vehicle that fled the scene cannot be identified, the claim must be lodged against the Nominal Defendant.

 

Injured in a Hit and Run Car Accident? – Why you need to take action as soon as possible!

 

2. Who/What is the Nominal Defendant?

The Nominal Defendant, created by the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, is designed to compensate victims of accidents caused by unidentified or uninsured vehicles. The Nominal Defendant is effectively to be treated as the CTP insurer for the at-fault driver.

In cases when the at-fault driver can be identified but their vehicle was unregistered and therefore uninsured, the claim must be made against the Nominal Defendant.

The Nominal Defendant is funded by a levy that can be found when everyone pays for their registration, also known as “rego”.

For most cases of hit and runs, the Nominal Defendant will generally be the responsible CTP insurer especially in situations where the at-fault vehicle was stolen or cannot be identified. However, the claimant must undertake reasonable and proper investigations to determine the identity of at-fault driver or at-fault vehicle.

 

3. Urgent Action Required

When the Nominal Defendant is an insurer, there are strict timeframes that must be followed in order to make a claim.

  • 3 months from the date of accident: A notice of claim must be filed. If this deadline is missed, a reasonable excuse must be provided.
  • 9 months from the date of accident: No claim can be made, even if reasonable excuse can be provided.

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, and more than 3 months but less than 9 months has passed, contact Ascent Lawyers as soon as possible for urgent assistance in submitting your claim.

 

4. If the at-fault vehicle can be identified

In some cases, with the help of the police or a witness, the escaped vehicle can be identified. Once the vehicle is identified, you can make a claim directly against the CTP insurer of the vehicle. For cases like this, the relevant time limit is different, and follows standard process and time limitations for Queensland CTP claims.

 

5. Stolen Vehicles

When a stolen vehicle is involved in a car accident, it often makes the claim more complicated.

Sometimes, even if you are able to find the registration for the at-fault vehicle, the vehicle might have been using false plates or even have been reported stolen. This means that you will need to lodge your claim against the Nominal defendant.

There are two sections of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2010 that are very relevant to this situation:

  • Section 54(1)(b): enables a vehicle’s registered owner to cancel its registration if the vehicle has been stolen
  • Section 59(4): cancellation occurs on the day it is reported as stolen to police.

When a vehicle is stolen, reporting the theft to police is as easy as making a telephone call. Because of this ease of reporting, it is likely that a stolen registered vehicle has been reported and its registration has been cancelled as soon the report is made. If this is the case, then a claim must be made against the Nominal Defendant, meaning strict timelines apply.

 

6. Important Statistics about car accident Claims in Queensland

In 2022, about 60,540 claims were made, where the majority of the injury were minor:

Severity Claims %
1 Minor 45441 75.1
2 Moderate 7721 12.8
3 Serious 2965 4.9
4 Severe 371 0.6
5 Critical 158 0.3

 

  • More than half of all car accident Claims were made in Brisbane.
  • More than 66% of all injuries were related to the spine.
  • About 9.4% of all injuries were related to the lower extremities.

For more information about statistics related to car accident claims in Queensland, we have prepared an infographic for your review.

 

7. Conclusion

For most if not all hit and run car accidents, if you want to make a personal injury claim, you need to take immediate action. This is because in most cases, the at-fault vehicle is unidentified or was unregistered. This means you will have to lodge a claim with the Nominal Defendant, as such strict timelines do apply!

If you have any further questions about your rights to make a claim from a hit and run car accident, please refer to our FAQ. Alternatively, please give us a call today, we can begin work on a No Win No Fee basis.

Disclaimer: Ascent Lawyers owns all copyright in the text. This article is of a general nature and should not be regarded as legal advice or relied on for assistance in any particular circumstance or emergency situation. To obtain legal advice in relation to your own circumstances, please contact us for consultation.

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