Motor Vehicle

Hit the Ground Running – Steps you need to take after a “hit and run” car accident in Queensland

Although drivers are required by law to stop, assist each other and exchange information following a car accident, hit and run car accidents – where drivers leave the scene of an accident – continue to occur on Queensland’s roads.

What to do after a hit and run

If the at-fault driver cannot be identified because they have fled the scene of the car accident, then any claim for compensation must be made against a Queensland Government body called the Nominal Defendant. The Nominal Defendant is the CTP insurer for cars that cannot be identified or are unregistered at the time of a car accident.

It’s important not to unnecessarily delay deciding whether or not you want to make a claim for compensation as strict time limits apply to making a personal injury claim against the Nominal Defendant:

  • A Notice of Accident Claim form must be given to the Nominal Defendant within 3 months after the date of the motor vehicle accident.
  • Between 3 months and 9 months from the date of the motor vehicle accident, you can give Notice to the Nominal Defendant, however, you must have a “reasonable excuse for delay”.
  • Notices of Claim submitted after 9 months will not be accepted by the Nominal Defendant, and the law prevents you from making a claim.

“Proper Search and Inquiry”

A further requirement of making claims against the Nominal Defendant is that you must be able to show on the balance of probabilities that you have conducted “proper search and inquiry”.

In Ford v Nominal Defendant [2022] QSC 179, a Queensland Court recently found that because a motorcyclist injured by a piece of timber that had slipped off the back of a ute and caused him personal injury, had had at least 20 seconds in which to position himself so that he could record the registration number of the unidentified vehicle, that he had failed to conduct “proper search and inquiry”. The court reiterated the words of McColl JA in Workers Comepnsation Nominal Insurer v Nominal Defendant (2013) 64 MVR 542 that the period of inquiry should be made “before the scent was cold”.

Implications for you

Based on the court’s decision, if you fail to take advantage of an opportunity to record the registration number of an unidentified vehicle at the time of a car accident or motor vehicle accident, you may be held to have not conducted proper search and inquiry, and may not be able to claim compensation in relation to your injuries.

Personal Injury Claims

At Claimwise our mission is to help you save money on your legal fees. By starting your CTP claim with a traditional ‘No Win, No Fee’ law firm your legal fees can end up being $10,000 or more higher than by using us.

If you or someone you know have been injured on the road in Queensland and want to keep your legal costs down, feel free to get in touch with us.

Be smart, claim wise.

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