If you’ve been involved in a road or car accident and have been injured through the fault of another motorist or another person then you will likely be able to access compensation for lost income, medical and other costs.
Our team of specialist road and car accident compensation lawyers can help guide you through the process and understand what’s involved.
Strict time limits apply so it’s important to act quickly. Contact us now and one of our expert personal injury lawyers will review your case for free and let you know if it’s worthwhile pursuing a claim.
Check your rights now to road and car accident compensation now with free expert advice
The second most common cause of car accidents are intersection accidents (about 20% of all crashes) and next are vehicles travelling in opposite directions such as head-on impacts and so on (13% of all accidents).
Despite what many of us might expect, only 1.2% of accidents involve an overtaking manoeuvre.
How long does a car accident compensation claim take?
This depends on the complexity of the case but in our own experience, most cases are resolved within about 12-18 months.
The biggest factor determining how long a claim takes is the length of time it takes the person’s injuries to settle down to a level where you can reliably predict the future. The nature of the injuries suffered in the accident naturally impacts on that.
Usually though, it will take anywhere between 6 to 12 months for that to occur. The more severe or complicated the injuries then the longer it generally takes.
Once the symptoms have plateaued, appropriate medical evidence can be obtained. You will then typically commence settlement negotiations with the insurer (culminating in a formal settlement conference if required) within a few months of that occurring.
The data lodged by CTP insurers with the Motor Accident Insurance Commission reveals that the average duration for a claim is approximately 17 months. Those average take on board the shorter and longer claims.
What does a car accident injury claim compensation for?
People injured in a motor vehicle accident are entitled to common law damages. What that means is that you’re able to claim compensation for any loss that is directly related to your injuries.
The most common categories of compensation are:
lost earnings (in the past and into the future)
an amount for pain and suffering
medical expenses (fees from hospitals and doctors, x-ray centres and so on)
rehabilitation and therapy costs (physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and so on)
future medical costs (such as ongoing therapy or surgery)
cleaning, gardening and maintenance costs
care and assistance from others.
In some instances, you can also recover a component of your own legal costs
Government statistics indicate that in car accident compensation claims the proportion of damages awarded in each claim on average is:
Loss of Earnings - 57%
Pain and Suffering - 29%
Medical and care - 14%
Again, the key here is that you are able to recover any expense or loss that has been incurred or will be incurred in the future that has arisen because of your injuries.
Every person has their own individual needs and consequences. So care needs to be taken to ensure that appropriate evidence is obtained to identify the true costs which arise from a motor vehicle accident.
A blanket or generalised approach will result in a person missing out on appropriate levels of compensation.
Remember, strict time limits apply too. So seeking early advice about your legal options is highly recommended.
How much will my road or car accident claim be worth?
The value of an injury claim is very much tailored to the individual and their own circumstances.
That is one of the key benefits of the common law system which applies to car accident claims in Queensland (rather than an artificial lump sum allowance some other insurance schemes provide).
After all, two people can suffer the same injury and have very different outcomes. A highly trained surgeon might lose a finger in an accident and have their career completely destroyed because of that. But an office worker with the same injury might lose very little income.
The nature of the individualised assessment process involved in claiming compensation makes it more difficult to provide other than generalised information because of that.
The data recorded by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission over a decade tells us that the average payments made in claims (according to their injury categorisation) are:
Minor injuries = $62,800
Moderate Injuries = $146,400
Serious Injuries = $357,600
Severe Injuries = $928,500
Critical = $2,378,100
The best way to determine what the likely value of your claim will be is to speak with an appropriately qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer.
Critical time limits are in place that could impact on your right to make a claim. Speaking with a personal injury law specialist at an early stage is an important first step in protecting your rights.
What is CTP insurance?
CTP insurance stands for compulsory third party insurance and forms part of the vehicle registration requirements and costs in Queensland.
CTP insurance covers personal injury claims against the at-fault driver in an accident. Everything is handled between the motor vehicle injury law firm acting for the injured party and the CTP insurer. The at-fault driver is not left out of pocket.
Note: CTP does not cover third party damage to other vehicles or property.
Check your rights to car accident compensation now
Motor accident claims proceed against the CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle. In essence, when you are claiming compensation you are simply only making an insurance claim.
The driver of the at-fault vehicle is involved only to the extent they need to tell their insurer their version of events about how the accident happened. All dealings and negotiations take place with CTP insurer (the insurance company). You can carry out an online search to determine who the CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle is: click here.
What to Do After a Car Accident?
After you have been involved in a car accident your first priority is naturally to your health and safety and of those around you, which might include the need to remove any obvious dangers (where possible) that may be obstructing other road users.
If anyone is seriously injured or is in imminent danger then you should immediately contact Triple Zero, 000.
If anyone has been injured you are legally obliged to exchange your name, address, registration and ownership details with the other driver and/or owner and/or other injured party.
The police should also be notified of the accident if:
any person is injured or is killed in the accident; or
appropriate details were not exchanged by any person; or
any car involved in the accident is towed away.
If there were no injuries involved then the Queensland Police appear to be content with you notifying them of accidents via an on-line form, provided that:
there was no damage to public infrastructure (eg bridges, boomgates etc);
there is no suspected drugs or alcohol involved.
there are no hazards such as oil spill involved.
the drivers all exchanged appropriate details.
there are no drivers involved who have impairments or disabilities requiring police assistance.
It is a good idea to take photographs of the positions of the vehicles (to avoid later dispute about that issue) and also any damage to any of the vehicles or any other property.
If your vehicle requires towing, you should contact your own insurance company and a reputable towing company (your insurer may be able to assist) while at the scene.
It is usually best not to make any admissions of fault or liability at the accident scene (that can sometimes invalidate your insurance).
Once these more urgent steps are taken, it is advisable to seek immediate medical advice if you suffered any injury.
If it becomes evident your injuries will be long-lasting it is also worthwhile contacting a reputable personal injury lawyer to consider the merits of bringing a motor vehicle accident claim. Time limits apply so early contact is very much recommended.
What about passengers of the at-fault driver?
Passengers involved in a car accident can bring claims too (it’s not restricted only to drivers).
The CTP insurance of the at-fault vehicle covers the driver for any claim made by any affected party. That includes passengers in their own vehicle. Making such a claim won't have any cost or adverse affects on the at-fault driver. That is a common concern when the driver is a partner, family member or friend.
Any injured person can make a claim. It is then lodged with the CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle (regardless of which vehicle you are in).
Do I have to report a car accident to the police?
You do not have to report every car accident to the police.
any person is injured or is killed in the accident; or
you do not give your details (your name, address, registration and owner’s details) to the other driver/owner involved and to any person injured in the accident; or
any car involved in the accident is towed away.
It is a criminal offence not to contact the police in those circumstances.
How to get a Police report for a car accident?
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a car accident and you have engaged a law firm to represent you it is very likely they will be able to gain access to the police reporting system through software made available to them. Simply ask your lawyer to obtain a copy (we can assist you as part of your claim). Naturally enough, this assumes the police have been notified of the accident.
Any individual can access the police report themselves (even if there is no insurance claim).
You need to apply to CITEC Confirm.
Contact CITEC Comfirm by phone: 1800 773 773 for more information.
What if I was driving for work?
This could be a situation where you have two insurance options available.
If you were driving to, from or for work and you were an employee then you will likely have a workers’ compensation claim available to you.
Assuming another person was at-fault you will also be able to bring an injury claim against the CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle.
It is often (but not always) possible to pursue both claims at the same time.
Injury claims against the CTP insurer typically result in greater levels of compensation whereas the workers’ compensation scheme provides the ability to recover lost income and other medical benefits at an early stage.
Speaking with a personal injury law specialist is an important first step in ascertaining which path in claiming compensation is best for you. Remember, strict time limits apply – so seek out the advice at an early stage.
Does health insurance cover car accident injuries?
Yes. Your private health insurance still applies if you suffered a car accident injury.
It is likely your health insurance policy will require you to reimburse them if a car accident claim is made against the CTP insurance company though. If so, your motor vehicle accident claim will include a claim for the amount of the refund – so you will not be out of pocket.
Does Medicare cover car accident injuries?
Yes. You are still entitled to all the usual Medicare benefits even if you are claiming compensation.
If an injury claim is made you will be required to reimburse Medicare for any of the medical expenses they have paid for you. As part of your injury claim you will claim that refund amount and it will form part of your damages payout.
So effectively the CTP insurer is paying back any Medicare benefits made to you or on your behalf.
Do I need a lawyer for a car accident injury claim?
In theory you can apply for compensation directly without the need for a lawyer. In Queensland then the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (often called MAIC for short) provides a claim form for CTP claims.
However, there are a number of major drawbacks to running your own claim and avoiding legal fees is unlikely to mean more money in your hand.
Some key drawbacks to running your own claim include:
Lack of detailed knowledge of legislation and claims process dramatically reduces the chance of a claim being successful. This means there are much greater odds of receiving no money.
All the work and negotiation must be done yourself.
Inability to follow through on a claim request by taking the insurer to court. While most claims we run don’t end up in court, insurers negotiate because they know we can take them to court if they don’t reach an acceptable settlement with us.
The following is an example of the type of outcomes seen when comparing self managed cases with those run by an expert injury lawyer.
David is injured after being rear ended in a car accident.There is clear evidence of what happened and no dispute that the driver who went into the back of him was at fault.
David shops around some lawyers and believes his claim may be worth $100,000 plus so decides to request this directly without the use of a lawyer.
After much back and forth the best offer he can get from the insurer is $20,000.
In this scenario, David gets 100% of the $20,000.
In another scenario, David could have run his claim through a car accident injury lawyer. With the ability to build a strong case and negotiate hard the insurers decide to avoid court and offer a settlement of $130,000. The fees come to $40,000 and David walks away with $90,000 in his pocket.
Scenario A - No lawyer:
Time and effort = high
In hand payout = $20,000
Scenario B: Injury lawyer:
Time and effort = low
In hand payout = $90,000
This is just an example but illustrates the common scenario of an expert injury lawyer being able to achieve a much higher ‘in-hand’ amount then those choosing to represent themselves.
Our experts can assess your case and will advise you on your options if making a claim using a lawyer isn’t feasible for any reason.
What if I live outside of Queensland?
It doesn’t matter where you live only where the accident happened. If you suffered an injury when a car accident occurred whilst travelling in Queensland then the Queensland compulsory third party insurance accident scheme applies to you.
Claiming compensation in car accident claims is the same no matter where you live.
We have assisted a great many clients over the years who live in other States of Australia and also overseas who have suffered a car accident injury while visiting Queensland.
With modern technology (including video-conferencing) widely available the process is very simple irrespective of where you live.
What if I was partly at fault (e.g. Not wearing a seatbelt)
To succeed in a car accident you only need to prove some other person was at fault (even if only partly). Once you do then the court considers whether you were at fault too. If so, then a finding of contributory negligence can be made. A court weighs up who was most at fault. A percentage apportionment of overall fault is made.
If contributory negligence is found against you, your compensation award is reduced by the level which you are found to be at fault.
Here is an example:
Graham was driving his car and approaching an intersection. Paul was driving in the opposite direction on the same road. Paul then decides to turn in front of Graham. Graham had the right of way but continued to speed towards Paul without slowing down at all. Graham had also forgotten to put on his seatbelt.
Graham suffers an injury as a result of the accident. Graham then brings a motor vehicle accident claim against Paul’s compulsory third party insurance.
The court finds that Paul was responsible (at fault) for failing to give way but also finds that Graham was partly at fault for his injury for not wearing a seatbelt and for not slowing down when he could have.
The court apportions liability (fault) 70% to Paul and 30% to Graham.
This means that Graham’s compensation is reduced by 30%.
The at-fault driver has been charged by police: Does that mean I’ll win?
On a strict technical sense, a police or court prosecution for criminal charges arising from the motor vehicle accident has no impact on the success of the car accident claim.
That is because the car accident claim is a ‘civil’ claim and the police charges are for a ‘criminal’ proceeding. They are approached differently. One has no formal bearing on the other.
But, from a practical perspective though, if an at-fault party is found guilty of an offence then an insurer will usually give that some weight when thinking about their ability to successfully defend the claim.
Do you help with vehicle property damage?
Yes. We do help clients with claims involving damage to their vehicles and with their dealings with their insurer or another party.
We offer this service to any injured client who we represent.
If there is no injury claim we may still be able to assist but the commercial viability of the costs of engaging a lawyer needs to be weighed up against the sum being claimed.
Our specialist personal injury lawyers are happy to discuss the best options available for you.
I was injured by a drunk driver, can I claim?
Yes, in road and car accident claims in Queensland, a person who is injured through the negligence or fault of someone who is drunk or intoxicated can still bring a valid claim against the CTP insurer.
That insurer then deals with the claim in the usual way with the injured party and makes payment to them when the claim is resolved.
However, the CTP insurer may have a right of recovery (an ability to claim back that money) from the person who was drunk or intoxicated. But that is only a matter between those parties.
The injured person’s claim is not impacted by that at all. A valid and viable claim still exists even if the at-fault driver was drunk or intoxicated.
Complications can arise if the injured person knew the driver was intoxicated and still chose to travel with them (usually this just reduces the level of compensation though rather than mean none can be claimed).
Seeking early advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor is a good way to determine what options you have.
Key road and car accident statistics for Queensland
What are the most common road accident locations in Queensland?
Their statistics reveal that the most common injuries are:
spine and neck injuries – which are involved in about 80% of accident claims; and
hand, arm and shoulder injuries – which occur in about 40% of claims.
Injuries involving the thorax (the chest area) and the head occur less frequently but tend to be far more serious.
Most common type of motor vehicles involved in crashes
The vast majority of car accidents in Queensland involve sedans and station wagons (about 2/3rds of all accidents).
Most common accidents resulting in hospitalisation:
Research conducted for the Queensland state hospital system found that the most common causes of car accidents leading to the need for hospital treatment were (in order of frequency):
motorcycle riders having accidents (with no other vehicles involved);
passengers of cars being involved in a collision with other vehicles;
cyclists having accidents (with no other vehicles involved).
When do most car accidents occur?
The statistics kept by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission indicate that the vast majority of motor vehicle accidents (resulting in a claim) take place during the afternoon peak hour (between 3pm to 5pm) on weekdays:
Data provided by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission: CTP Scheme Insights Q4 2020
How serious are injuries in car accidents?
The type of injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident claim are overwhelmingly categorised as ‘minor’ (with almost 75% such claims in that category).
Only 2% of accident claims are identified by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission as being severe, critical or worse (‘maximum’).
Injuries requiring hospitalisation
A long-term study, carried out for the Queensland hospital system, found that the most common injuries involved when a person was admitted to hospital for treatment after a car accident were (in order of occurrence):
fractures of the lower leg
fractures of the chest and mid-back fractures,
fractures of the arm and shoulder.
Are parents liable for children’s car accidents?
Ordinarily a parent is not responsible for the wrongful actions of their children. So, a parent would not normally be liable for an accident caused by their child.
That position could be different though if, for example:
the child was driving a vehicle at the specific direction of the parent (who knew the child was too young to be driving).
the child was acting as the parent’s agent (e.g. carrying out a task set by the parent).
the parent actively put the child in a position of danger and failed to then supervise the child properly.
The legal responsibility of a parent for a child’s actions can be a somewhat complex issue taking into account the child’s age and the relevant circumstances. We recommend you contact a solicitor for advice about your individual circumstances.