Owners of motor vehicles are required to take out compulsory third party insurance as part of registration of their vehicle.

This insurance covers personal injury to other road users as a result of the negligence of drivers.

Whilst this can at times be straightforward where, for example, a car is travelling on the wrong side of the road, it is not always so clear cut.

It may be the case that, for example, it is not clear that the accident happened on a road.

The insurance company may also consider that you contributed to the cause of your injuries by your own negligence.

Motor vehicle accidents often occur where either the driver does not have compulsory third party insurance because the vehicle is not registered, or the driver of the car cannot be established or located.

In those circumstances, you may still have a claim against what is known as the Nominal Defendant, which is a state government entity that stands in the place of the would be insurer.

The type of injuries you can claim for in motor vehicle accidents can include both physical and psychological damage.

Whilst you may feel fine after an accident, whiplash injuries are not always immediately obvious, or may worsen over time.

For these reasons, it is important that you speak with a solicitor to protect your interests.

Claims process

For motor vehicle accident claims in Queensland, the usual process is as follows:

  • You issue the defendant(s) with a “Notice of Accident Claim Form”, which sets out the particulars of the accident.
  • You will generally have to be assessed by one or more relevant medical practitioners to establish the extent of your injuries. The insurance company may want a “check medical”, which is an assessment of you performed by a doctor selected from a panel of doctors submitted to you.
  • The parties then exchange relevant documentation. The defendant may or may not admit they are liable for your injuries.
  • The parties must then attend a “compulsory conference”, which is effectively a mediation where the parties will discuss the claim in an informal setting.
  • Proceedings are then issued in the Courts.
  • If the claim is not resolved, the parties may attend a further mediation (sometimes with a mediator, who is an independent third party).
  • Proceedings must generally be issued in a Court within three years of when the “cause of action” arises (commonly referred to as the Statute of Limitations), otherwise the right to sue for that injury will be lost. In any event, you should immediately seek legal advice from us as to your rights.

As there are very strict time limits for making a claim, we recommend that you speak with a solicitor immediately.

You may also want more information about making a claim for a workplace injury or an injury that occurs in public.