Start your free &
no obligation claim check

Main Murphy's Law Website Form Enquiry

"*" indicates required fields

1800 094 603

Table of contents

Icon for hit and run car accident

‘Hit and run’ is a well-known term used to describe a motor vehicle accident where someone has been injured by a driver who leaves the accident scene without providing their details. 

This can occur in several different scenarios, including accidents where:

A driver who has caused a car crash may flee the scene of the accident because they:

  • are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • are driving a vehicle that is stolen
  • know they don’t have the required vehicle registration and insurance
  • have outstanding warrants or are wanted by the police for other crimes
  • are simply shocked or afraid that they have seriously hurt or killed another person

Statistics show that the type of road users who most commonly seek compensation after being injured in hit and run car crashes are other vehicle drivers (42%), followed by motorcyclists (18%), pedestrians (15%), and passengers (13.5%).

Statistics of hit and run injury claims

If you have been injured in a ‘hit and run’ motor vehicle incident you may be entitled to compensation, even if the details of the ‘at fault driver’ are not known. However, strict time limits apply for making a claim. Our car and road accident expert solicitors can provide free initial advice and explain our no win, no fee promise which comes with no upfront costs.

Icon for hit and run car accident

Time limits for hit and runs are very short: Check your rights with our experts for free now.

Free & no obligation claims check

What to do after a hit and run incident

The first and most important steps to take after being involved in, or witnessing, a hit and run incident are to:

  • arrange emergency medical attention if required
  • make the area of the crash safe, if this can be done without risk of further injury

After this, there are some legal requirements for those involved in the accident. For a hit and run accident, the police will always need to be notified, as the law says that if a driver leaves the scene without providing their details, the accident meets the ‘police attendance criteria’.

To contact the police, you will need to:

  • call 000 and ask for the police if:
    • there is a death or an injury requiring medical attention, or
    • the crash has caused a hazard or threat to public safety
  • call Policelink 131 444 if:
    • you suspect drugs or alcohol are involved,
    • someone with an impairment or disability requires assistance, or
    • the crash damaged a vehicle to the point that it was undriveable and had to be towed away

In a hit and run, it won’t be possible to get some of the information and evidence you’d usually want to gather after an accident. However, there are other steps you can take to assist with a compensation claim: 

  • Get the driver’s number plate and car details if possible. Information such as registration number, make and model of the car and colour can all be helpful.
  • Note your location and the direction of travel of the at–fault vehicle. If you’ve got your phone on you, take a screenshot of your exact map location, and save it as follows:

In Google maps

  • tap on the blue dot showing your location
  • screenshot the address info
  • scroll down to ‘Plus Code’ section
  • tap ‘Copy code’ button
  • save in a Notes app

In Apple maps

  • tap on the blue dot showing your location
  • my location info will be displayed
  • scroll to see exact address and coordinates
  • screenshot these details and/or save to notes app
  • Note the time of the incident – use your notes app or write down the exact time the accident occurred
  • Take photos – even if the other car has fled, take photos showing the scene, including any damage to your own vehicle, bicycle, and other structures e.g., light posts or fences
  • If there are any witnesses try your best to get their details, including any relevant information on what they saw. Ask if other drivers have dashcam footage which may be helpful
  • If you are not required to notify the police immediately after the crash, report the accident using the form provided by the Motor Accidents Insurance Commission (MAIC) on their website, or to Policelink online. Get the reference number – called a ‘QP number’– to include on your compensation claim form. 

Can I claim if the driver at fault can’t be identified?

In many cases there is an avenue to seek compensation even if the driver at fault can’t be identified from any evidence you or the police have managed to gather.

In an ordinary car crash scenario, injury compensation would be paid by the at fault driver’s compulsory third party (CTP) insurer. Under the Queensland CTP insurance scheme, you can make a claim directly to that insurance company. 

In some cases, you may have the registration of the at fault vehicle, for example, if you or a witness have managed to note it down or photograph it while the vehicle was still at the accident scene. If you do, you can find the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer details here and lodge a claim against them.

However, it is often a feature of hit and run accidents that the driver can’t be identified, so a different process applies. A legal body called the ‘nominal defendant’ has been created to deal with these situations. The nominal defendant acts as a CTP insurer where:

  • the actual insurer can’t be found because the driver is not known; or
  • the accident involves a driver who is uninsured or driving an unregistered vehicle.

Claims to the nominal defendant have very strict, and short, time limits. If you are involved in a hit and run accident it pays to get legal advice as soon as possible.

Further, in legal proceedings against the Nominal Defendant you need to establish that a “proper inquiry and search” have been made and have failed to establish the identity of the motor vehicle at fault. If you fail to do so, your claim against the Nominal Defendant will likely fail.

It’s also important to gather and keep as much evidence as you can to substantiate your claim. A quick review of the claim form can give you an idea of the information required

What does hit and run compensation cover?

Notepad with pencil and tick icons

The amount of compensation you are awarded in a motor vehicle accident claim will depend on several factors, including:

  • the seriousness of the injury you have suffered
  • your prognosis - that is, whether you are likely to recover fully or suffer ongoing issues
  • future treatment or therapies you may need
  • your personal circumstances before and after the injury
  • whether you were partially at fault for the accident

Compensation awards in cases involving motor vehicle accidents are generally based on:

  • medical expenses already incurred
  • likely future medical and rehabilitation costs, including surgery, physiotherapy, and regular visits to the GP
  • past and future cost of medication
  • aids and appliances, like a wheelchair or walking frame
  • prostheses
  • lost wages or earnings if you are unable to work temporarily or permanently
  • lost superannuation for any period you are unable to work
  • pain and suffering

The amount of damages for pain and suffering is called ‘general damages’ and is set by law. It relates to the seriousness of the injury in terms of its ongoing effect on the injured person.

You can also usually claim a contribution towards your legal costs if negligence is proven.

Time limits for hit and run claims

Clock with alert symbol to show concussion compensation time limits

If you are injured in a car accident and want to lodge a claim, time limits are short and missing the deadline can mean your claim will be rejected. 

You should seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident to avoid missing deadlines and to ensure the best chance of gathering evidence.

The limits set by the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (QLD)

A Notice of Claim can be lodged against the CTP insurer if you can determine who they are.  

The Notice must be given to the CTP insurer within the period ending on the earlier of the following dates:

  • 9 months after the motor vehicle accident or, if symptoms of the injury are not immediately apparent, the first appearance of symptoms of the injury;
  • 1 month after the claimant first consults a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim.

If the Notice is not given within the above timeframes, the obligation to give the Notice continues and a “reasonable excuse for the delay” must be given in the Notice or by separate notice to the CTP insurer when the form is served.

However, where the motor vehicle cannot be identified, the Notice must be given to the Nominal Defendant within 3 months. A Claimant can still serve a Notice upon the Nominal Defendant up until 9 months after the accident, however a “reasonable excuse for the delay” must be provided.

Crucially, if the Nominal Defendant is not served with a Notice within 9 months following the accident, the claim is barred (i.e. out of time), which would mean that the injured person has lost their rights to pursue their personal injury claim against the Nominal Defendant.

Restrictions due to Limitations of Actions Act 1974 (Qld)

The Limitations of Actions Act 1974 places a restriction on how long a person is able to make a claim.  

For people over the age of 18, if you do not commence legal proceedings (by filing appropriate documents with the court) within three (3) years of the date you were injured then you will lose all rights to pursue a claim (irrespective of whether or not you otherwise have a viable claim). 

For minors who are injured (i.e. under the age of 18), the 3 year time limit does not commence until their 18th birthday. In other words, they are required to commence legal proceedings by their 21st birthday.

Appropriate steps can be taken to protect your interests by either:

  • filing legal proceedings (court documents); or
  • seeking a court order which gives you an extension of time; or
  • making a suitable agreement with the relevant insurer/Respondent.

Those steps need to be put in place before the three (3) year limitation period expires. Those steps need to be taken in respect of each and every respondent potentially liable.

Overall, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as you can after any car crash, including a hit and run. A personal injury lawyer will be able to discuss your claims and can handle the preliminary steps to preserve your rights.

See our time limit page for more detailed information.

Posted by Kirk Watterston Principal (Non-Director)

How helpful was this article

Not at all
Sort of
Not Sure
It helped
Very Much

Thank you for your feedback!

Disclaimer: Please note, this content is designed as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. While we make every effort to fact check and keep items up to date, legislation may change from time to time. For advice on your specific situation then please contact us.
hello world!
envelopemap-markercrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram