Your Rights as a Passenger after an Accident
In Queensland, any person injured in a motor vehicle accident that was due to the fault of a driver is eligible to claim compensation.
Queensland operates on a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme. The scheme provides owners, drivers, and passengers with unlimited liability coverage for personal injury caused by traffic accidents.
This grants passengers a right to seek monetary compensation from the person ‘at fault’ for the personal injury and other related losses. This is true regardless of whether it’s a friend, family, commercial drivers such as a taxi or Uber driver, or any other driver.
I Was a Passenger Injured in an Accident – What Now?
Generally speaking, the drivers will be responsible for reporting a crash to the police. However, all drivers, riders, owners, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians involved in a traffic crash are able to report a crash if needed. You must generally report a crash within 24 hours of the accident.
Once a crash has been reported, a CTP claim can be lodged to the ‘at fault’ driver’s insurer. If you are injured in a ‘hit and run’ accident, you still have the right to compensation and are able to make a claim through the Nominal Defendant in Queensland. The same process is followed as if you were making a claim against an identified driver.
As the CTP scheme is fault based, you will need to prove that the ‘at fault’ driver was negligent and caused your injuries. Generally, the crash report and investigations by the insurer will clarify this, but it’s still a good idea to get a legal opinion. This will ensure that your injuries are adequately identified and compensated.
If you are lodging a claim with a CTP insurer you have 9 months from the date of the incident (or from the date when the injuries first appear if they weren’t evident at time the incident occurred).
However, if you are lodging your claim for an unidentified or unregistered ‘at fault’ vehicle, then you only have 3 months.
How will My Clam Affect the Driver?
Often the ‘at fault’ driver is a friend or family member of the injured passenger. As the passenger, you may feel hesitant about making a claim because you don’t want to burden a friend or family member, dragging them through court proceedings.
Luckily, CTP claims are made against the insurer, not the driver themselves. CTP is designed so everyone has the chance to seek compensation from injury, avoiding legal battles between friends and family. Besides, the insurer and its legal team will do its own investigation and determine who is at fault no matter what you do.
This means the claims process, legal costs, and any compensation paid to you are all covered by the CTP insurance. The ‘at fault’ driver will not be financially burdened or drawn into a claims process.
Should I Get Legal Advice?
While the CTP system seeks to protect both drivers and passengers from court hearings, as part of the claim process you will need to be able to make clear that the CTP insurer’s driver is liable for your injuries.
Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that CTP insurers have their own lawyers advising them of how to limit their liability and, like any profit-driven business, reduce the amount they have to pay out.
It is strongly recommended that injured persons seek their own professional legal advice early in the claims process. Brisbane Injury Lawyers can help you ensure that your compensation is not diminished.
For more information, get in contact with one of our personal injury law experts at [email protected] or via phone on (07) 3009 8444.