"*" indicates required fields
‘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:
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%).
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.
The first and most important steps to take after being involved in, or witnessing, a hit and run incident are to:
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:
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:
In Google maps
In Apple maps
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:
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
The amount of compensation you are awarded in a motor vehicle accident claim will depend on several factors, including:
Compensation awards in cases involving motor vehicle accidents are generally based on:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.