In Queensland, there are around 7,000 personal injury claims every year for motor vehicle accidents. More than half of the incidents occur in Brisbane, and a smaller portion of these are hit and run incidents.
If you’ve been injured in by a vehicle in a hit and run incident and are thinking about making a compensation claim, it is critical to act fast. The lawyers at Roche Legal are ready to give you free initial advice over the phone. We will instantly let you know if we think that you will win your personal injury claim and will advise you of the urgent steps that need to be taken to secure your entitlement to damages.
If we believe you have good prospects to win your claim, we will offer you legal representation on a No Win No Fee basis.
Hit and Run Motor Vehicle Injury Claims in Queensland
Hit and run “accidents” are a unfortunately a frequent occurrence and the impact can totally change your life. What’s worse, is that the law in Queensland is not kind to victims of hit and run incidents. Urgent action is almost always required to be taken by the injured person to be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Like all motor vehicle accidents, hit and run injury claims are brought against the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer of the vehicle, being one of the major Queensland CTP insurers (Suncorp, Allianz, QBE, or RACQ). However, if the vehicle that fled the scene cannot be identified, the Queensland Government’s Nominal Defendant.
Who/What is the Nominal Defendant?
The Nominal Defendant is a statutory body established under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (“MAIA”) for the purpose of compensating people who are injured as a result of the negligent driving of unidentified and/or uninsured motor vehicles.
Effectively, the Nominal Defendant is to be taken to be the licensed insurer for the at-fault driver. It is also the insurer in circumstances where the at-fault driver can be identified but their vehicle was unregistered and therefore without compulsory third party insurance.
The Nominal Defendant operation is funded by a levy within everyone’s CTP insurance premiums.
In the case of hit and runs, if the at-fault vehicle was stolen or cannot be identified, there is a strong chance the Nominal Defendant will be the responsible CTP insurer. However, a claimant is first required to undertake reasonable and proper investigations in an effort to determine who the at-fault driver was (or simply identify their registration plate).
Urgent Action Required
When the Nominal Defendant is the insurer, there are very strict timeframes to initiate a claim. A notice of claim must be lodged within 3 months of the incident date. If this deadline is not met, a reasonable excuse needs to be provided. A further time limit of 9 months exists that shuts out claims against the Nominal Defendant entirely (even if you have a reasonable excuse). If the 9 month deadline is missed by even 1 day, you will not be allowed to make the claim.
If you are the victim of a hit and run and more than 3 months has passed, but less than 9 months has passed, contact Roche Legal immediately for urgent assistance in submitting your claim notice with a reasonable excuse for a delay.
If the at-fault vehicle is able to be identified
Sometimes the police or a witness can help identifying the vehicle that left the scene. In this case, the claim may not need to be made against the Nominal Defendant and can instead be made against the actual insurer of the vehicle. Thus, the time limit to bring a claim for damages is different and follows the standard process and time limitations for Queensland CTP claims.
Roche Legal regularly deals with clients who have been injured by someone driving a stolen vehicle.
If you are able to identify the at-fault vehicle, but discover that despite it being registered, it is bearing false plates or has been stolen, your CTP claim may need to be brought against the Nominal Defendant instead of the registered CTP insurer.
Section 54(1)(b) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2010 states that the registered operator of a vehicle may apply to cancel the vehicle’s registration if the vehicle has been stolen. Section 59(4) of the Regulation states that the cancellation is effective on the day the vehicle is reported as stolen to the police.
Because reporting a vehicle as stolen to the police is as easy as making a telephone call, it is possible and likely that a stolen registered vehicle has been reported and has therefore been stripped of registration and insurance immediately upon making the report.
In this scenario, urgent action is required as the time limit to bring your claim against the Nominal Defendant applies.
Seriously Injured? Consider Additional Claims
If your injuries are serious and permanent, you may have an additional claim to make through your superannuation policy, if the policy includes TPD insurance.
If you have lost a loved one due to a car accident caused by someone else, Roche Legal can also assist you with making a claim for dependency to cover funeral expenses and loss of future expected income. We can also help you get compensation for the damage to your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
“Will you run my Hit and Run claim No Win No Fee?”
Yes. Roche Legal offers No Win No Fee representation to everyone with a qualifying hit and run claim – so long as it can be made within the time limits. Contact us for a free initial consultation. We have offices in Brisbane, Springwood, and the Sunshine Coast.
“Do I have a claim for compensation?”
Persons injured while riding a car, truck, motorbike, quad bike, or other motor vehicles are entitled to make compensation claims under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld). This Act requires all vehicles to hold compulsory third-party motor vehicle insurance (CTP insurance). You can make a claim if you were injured due to no fault of your own. For example, as a pedestrian or passenger (under any circumstance), or as a driver where another vehicle caused the collision or accident.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle you can make a claim for compensation– provided the other driver was at fault.
“Who can I bring the Hit and Run claim against?”
Under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, a hit and run claim will be against the compulsory third party (i.e. CTP) insurer of the vehicle at fault. If you cannot identify the offending vehicle or their CTP insurer, you may be able to bring your claim against the Nominal Defendant.
If your injuries are serious, an additional claim may also be made on your superannuation policy under the Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) scheme.
If you were travelling for work purposes at the time, it is possible that a concurrent Workers Compensation Claim can also be made. When you have a concurrent workers compensation claim, the workers comp insurer (usually Workcover Queensland) will usually fund your rehabilitation expenses instead of the CTP insurer.
“What can I claim compensation for?”
Compensation is usually provided for:
- The pain and suffering you have incurred.
- Any past and future loss of earnings you have suffered.
- Any loss of enjoyment of life.
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses.
- Gratuitous (unpaid) or paid assistance from others as a result of your injuries.
“Who pays for the damage to my vehicle?”
CTP insurance does not typically allow for the recovery of the damage done to your vehicle, which is known as ‘property damage’.
However, if you have a CTP claim there is a good chance that you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party directly, or through their private insurance (such as a ‘third party fire and theft’ or ‘comprehensive’ insurance policy). Our lawyers assist with making the appropriate demands and claims for your damaged vehicle if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident.
“What has to be proven for my Hit and Run claim to be successful?”
You must be able to show that:
- the incident occurred
- the incident was someone else’s fault;
- the other person owed a responsibility to you that they did not meet; and
- you suffered injuries as a result of their actions or inactions.
“Can I make a Hit and Run claim against a stolen or unregistered vehicle?”
Even if the motor vehicle that caused your injuries was stolen or unregistered, you may still make a CTP claim. In this case, your claim would be made against the Nominal Defendant rather than one of the four major insurers of vehicles in Queensland (Suncorp, Allianz, QBE Insurance, and RACQ Insurance).
If the motor vehicle that caused your injuries was unregistered for another reason, such as being a non-standard vehicle such as a forklift, tractor, motorised scooter, etc., please contact Roche Legal for a free initial consultation to determine whether you are entitled to bring a CTP claim.
“Who pays me the compensation?”
The offending driver’s CTP insurance company will pay you compensation for your injuries.
If the vehicle is uninsured or unregistered or is unknown, then the ‘Nominal Defendant’ will pay the compensation.
If you are seriously injured, and you have total and permanent disability insurance through your superannuation fund, you may also make a TPD claim in addition to any claim against the CTP insurer.
“How much compensation can I claim from a Hit and Run motor vehicle accident?”
According to the Queensland Government Open Data Portal the average payout for a motor vehicle accident personal injury claim is around $92,857 – $112,369. However, claim payouts are obviously much higher the more severe the injury is.
The amount of compensation you can claim in Queensland will depend on:
- How bad your injuries are
- Your age
- How much you have lost and will lose in wages
- How much care you need
- How much money you have paid and will have to pay out of your own pocket
Once your injuries have been identified, you’ll need to see a doctor to understand the impact these will have on your future work and enjoyment of life. This will usually involve visiting one or more medical specialists and them writing a report to support your claim.
“What if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when the hit and run accident happened?”
Specialist medical evidence will be considered to determine whether or not wearing a seatbelt would have lessened the extent of your injuries. The answer will vary from case to case. Previous court decisions have determined that if a seatbelt would have reduced your injuries, then the value of your claim may be reduced by around 15 – 25% on average.
“Can I make a CTP claim on behalf of someone who has passed away?”
In the event that someone died because of a hit and run motor vehicle accident, their living dependants (usually the spouse and children) may be able to claim for funeral expenses and loss of financial support. Unfortunately, it is not possible to claim for the grief or emotional distress unless you were a direct witness to the accident at the time.
When death occurs from a motor vehicle accident, there are usually other claims to consider such as a death benefit claim through the deceased’s superannuation fund.
“What if I was intoxicated when the hit and run accident happened?”
Just because you were intoxicated doesn’t mean that you are not able to make a claim. However, the Civil Liability Act (‘CLA’) applies to motor vehicle accident claims (including hit and runs) in Queensland.
Section 47 of the CLA sets out that your claim value will be reduced by 25% if you were intoxicated when you suffered your injury on account of contributory negligence unless you can prove that the intoxication did not contribute to you sustaining the injuries. It will no doubt be argued by the defendant CTP insurer that your intoxication contributed to the accident and therefore you are partly responsible for your injuries, however this defence argument will not always succeed.
If your blood alcohol content was more than 0.15% the amount of contributory negligence applied under the CLA increases from 25% to 50%.
Similar reductions for contributory negligence exist if you were a passenger and relied on the care and skill of person you knew to be intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Contact Roche Legal for a free confidential discussion if you are unsure whether you may make a claim from an accident where you were intoxicated.
“What if the driver of the car I was a passenger in was intoxicated when the hit and run accident happened?”
Sections 48-49 of the Civil Liability Act (‘CLA’) sets out that your claim value will be reduced by 25% if you relied on the care and skill of a person you knew to be intoxicated at the time of a motor vehicle accident (including circumstances of a hit and run).
If the driver’s blood alcohol content was more than 0.15%, the amount of contributory negligence applied increases from 25% to 50% unless you can satisfy the court that their intoxication did not contribute to you sustaining your injuries
“Can I make a CTP claim if I was driving unlicensed when the other driver hit me?”
Yes. Just because you were driving unlicensed (or with a suspended licence) doesn’t mean that you are not able to make a claim. However, it must be clear that regardless of your lack of valid driver’s licence, someone else caused the accident.
It will be argued by the defendant CTP insurer that your lack of licence or questionable driving history contributed to the accident and therefore you are partly responsible for your injuries, however this argument will not always succeed.
Contact Roche Legal for a free confidential discussion if you are unsure whether you may make a claim from an accident where you were driving unlicensed.
“Can I make a CTP claim if my vehicle was unregistered at the time of the accident?”
Yes. Just because you were driving a vehicle that was not registered doesn’t mean that you are not able to make a claim. That is because CTP insurance forms part of the registration of the at-fault vehicle, not your vehicle.
“How long does a CTP Claim take?”
In all instances, we strive to enter an informal negotiation with the CTP insurer within 6 months from when you’ve reached a plateau in your rehabilitation. For minor injuries from motor vehicle accidents such as whiplash, your claim can usually be negotiated within 9-12 months from the date of the accident.
CTP claims can take longer when:
- the motor vehicle accident was serious and caused severe injuries that require multiple surgeries and significant amount of rehabilitation; or
- the informal negotiation does not result in a settlement, and you must then file court proceedings to continue your claim.
Note: Anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Queensland must first enter an informal negotiation before they are entitled to file formal court proceedings.