Why At-Fault Drivers Can’t Be Personally Sued Even If They Say ‘Sorry’
When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is only natural to seek compensation for your injuries. However, in Queensland, it’s important to understand that whether the at-fault driver admits fault or says “sorry” to you, they cannot be sued personally. Instead, the claim must be made against their compulsory third party (CTP) insurer. In this article, we will delve into the relevant laws and regulations to shed light on this matter and explain why the at-fault driver is not personally liable.
2. The relevant law
In Queensland, the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld) (referred to as “the Act”) governs the process of making a CTP claim by an injured person and outlines how the at-fault driver and their CTP insurer must respond. Under the Act, an at-fault driver or rider is insured by a CTP insurer as long as their vehicle was validly registered at the time of the accident.
2.1 Who are the relevant parties to my claim?
Section 52 of the Act stipulates that if legal action is taken in court for damages arising from personal injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident, the action must be brought against the insured person (the alleged at-fault driver/rider) and their CTP insurer as joint defendants. However, it’s essential to note that if a judgment is given in favor of the injured person and damages are ordered, the judgment can only be directed towards the CTP insurer and not the at-fault person, except in specific unusual circumstances.
2.2 What are the legal consequences of an apology?
Even if the insured at-fault driver admits liability or says “sorry” to the injured person or their solicitor, Section 43 of the Act explicitly states that the CTP insurer is prohibited from seeking damages from the at-fault driver for accepting liability. This means that regardless of any apologies or admissions made, the at-fault insured driver or rider is not personally obligated to pay damages to the injured person.
Furthermore, under the Civil Liability Act 2003, which applies to motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury claims, an expression of sympathy, regret, or compassion following an accident cannot be used as evidence in court proceedings. This provision ensures that genuine human interactions, such as apologizing, do not negatively impact the at-fault driver legally
Thus, an apology generally has no real consequence in a CTP claim.
2.3 If not the at-fault driver person is not liable, then who is responsible?
Section 44 of the Act states that if a CTP claim is made against both the at-fault insured driver and the CTP insurer, the CTP insurer must undertake the conduct and control of negotiations and legal proceedings related to the claim. As the at-fault driver is not personally liable, they are not required to take any action beyond cooperating with the CTP insurer, answering questions, or providing their account of the events to the police or court.
3. Making a CTP Claim
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Queensland and are considering making a CTP claim for personal injuries, it’s wise to seek legal advice. At Ascent Lawyers, our team of expert personal injury lawyers can guide you through the process. We offer a free claim check to help you understand what you may be owed. Plus, our services operate on a No Win No Fee basis, ensuring you have access to justice without any financial risks.