Queensland’s well-established compulsory third party (CTP) accident insurance scheme is – unlike some other schemes around Australia – a fault-based scheme, meaning a person injured in a road accident may make a claim against an at-fault driver’s CTP insurer if they can establish the motorist’s negligence.
This raises the question of whether the person who wholly or partly caused the accident, and may also have been injured, is also able to make a claim for compensation. If it’s clear you were 100 per cent responsible for causing the accident it will be difficult to make a claim under Queensland’s CTP scheme and, depending on the severity of the accident, you may even face criminal or other penalties.
But if you were only partly responsible for the accident due to the actions of the other driver or some other party (a pedestrian, cyclist or some other road user), you may also make a claim – but your payout amount may be reduced depending on your percentage of responsibility for the accident. We provide more detail on this type of claim in this article.
First steps after a road accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident on the road, as motorist, pedestrian, cyclist or in some other capacity, you may have grounds for a CTP claim against a registered car owner.
After the accident the injured person should take some immediate steps, if possible, which may prove vital later in establishing shared liability for the accident. Obviously seeking immediate medical treatment for any injuries is the paramount concern. Thereafter, seeking details of the accident from witnesses is highly important, as are any photos of the scene as evidence of what happened. Collecting details from the other party or parties involved in the accident, including their insurance details if possible, is also advisable. Making a report to police and collecting all documentation of trips to hospital or any other medical assessment is also vital.
The concept of contributory negligence
In many accidents on the road it is usually difficult to say one person was 100 per cent responsible for the accident. An example is where a driver’s decision to pull out in front of another vehicle at a T-intersection, for example, clearly causes the collision, but the other driver is not wearing a seatbelt or was speeding, thereby contributing to the severity of their injuries. In such a case the legal concept of contributory negligence applies, meaning a plaintiff contributed to their own injuries because of their own actions or omissions.
In such an example, the parties may either work out between them the responsibility of each for the accident and come to a settlement, or a court may be called on to do it for them. When considering the question of apportionment of responsibility, the court will consider the entire conduct of both parties in relation to the accident and compare the departure of each from their obligations.
Queensland legislation allows a court to reduce a plaintiff’s damages by 100 per cent due to contributory negligence if it considers it just and equitable to do so. A driver who was intoxicated and ends up in an accident, for example, is likely to have their claim for damages reduced by 100 per cent. For this reason, making a claim with the help of expert personal injury lawyer who will help you negotiate the percentage of the accident for you were contributorily negligent – and achieve some amount of compensation – is the wisest course of action.
What can you claim for and how is the compensation amount determined?
A typical CTP claim will seek to compensate the injured party for their loss and damage, including lost income, pain and suffering, travel and medical expenses, and the cost of care both now and into the future. This reinforces the importance of an injured person collecting and keeping accurate records of injury-related expenses.
The severity of injuries sustained by the person making a claim is a crucial factor in the final compensation payout. In Queensland injuries range from ‘minor’ to ‘critical’, with average claim payouts rising depending on severity. If the injuries are minor, the partially at-fault party may be limited in their ability to claim compensation.
It should also be noted Queensland’s National Injury Insurance Scheme can provide lifetime treatment, care and support to eligible people who have sustained serious personal injuries in motor accidents, irrespective of fault.
Discuss your case with expert compensation lawyers
As with all compensation matters, strict time limits apply to making a claim. Generally, a road accident compensation claim in Queensland must be lodged within three years from the date of the accident. This makes it imperative to contact a member of our experienced, professional team at ROC Legal as soon as possible to begin your claim. Don’t be put off by the thought of unaffordable legal fees – at ROC Legal, we offer a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement (also known as a conditional fee agreement) which means fees only apply once we win your case. Contact us today.