Can You Claim Compensation for a Hit and Run Accident?

Compensation for a Hit and Run Accident

A motor vehicle accident is a traumatic experience for anyone involved, but when an accident occurs and one party flees the scene before they can be identified, it is particularly stressful for the remaining party.

What is a hit and run accident?

A hit and run accident occurs when the driver of a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian or property and leaves the scene before giving their details. Under NSW law, anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident is required to stop and provide personal details to other parties involved in the crash, including another driver, pedestrian or owner of property that has been damaged as a result of the accident.

What does the law say?

In NSW the law works to protect those injured on our roads, regardless of fault, through the Motor Accident Injuries Act. In 2017 this legislation introduced a compulsory third party (CTP) insurance scheme that provides access to benefits for all injured road users, regardless of fault (exclusions apply where the injured road user has engaged in unlawful activity).

Under the new CTP scheme, statutory benefits are clearly defined with strict limitations and capped benefits for minor injuries. Benefits are available to help cover medical costs, loss of wages and domestic assistance required as a result of the motor vehicle accident. Those who have been severely injured may be entitled to a lump sum payment to cover pain and suffering.

Anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident can claim compensation through a relatively straightforward claims process. It is not necessary to prove fault, although compensation for at-fault drivers may be reduced.

Benefits are paid by CTP insurers and claims should be made to the relevant CTP insurer, which in most cases is the insurer of the at-fault motor vehicle. In cases where the at-fault motor vehicle is uninsured or cannot be identified, as is the case with hit and run accidents, an injured party can still make a compensation claim against a nominal defendant.

Making a nominal defendant claim

Those who have been injured in a hit and run accident may be eligible to make a claim against the nominal defendant. This ensures injured persons do not miss out on benefits because an unidentified driver has committed an offence.

Before an injured person can make a claim against the nominal defendant they must do all they can to find out the registration number of the vehicle at fault. This will include contacting police, seeking out witnesses and putting a notice in the media. This is called due enquiry. If an injured person is unable to find out the registration number of the offending vehicle then the vehicle is deemed unidentified and a claim against the nominal defendant can be made.

How is a hit and run accident different to other motor vehicle accidents?

The complication of a hit and run accident lies in the evidence. Hit and run accidents are substantially harder to prove, particularly if there were no witnesses or the injured party has no memory of the accident. A person who has been injured as a result of a hit and run accident will need to prove that their injuries are indeed the result of a hit and run accident.

This can be difficult given the circumstances of many hit and run accidents, but an injured party can start with the following steps:

  • Report the incident to the police and retain copies of police reports and the event number
  • If possible, record any details of the offending vehicle or driver
  • Get statements from witnesses and record their details if possible
  • Search for possible witnesses
  • Compile all information surrounding your case, such as medical records and photos
  • Get in contact with a specialist compensation lawyer who can assist you with your claim

Any claim form must be lodged no later than 3 months from the day of the accident.

At Taylor & Scott Lawyers we offer a free case assessment to those who have been injured in a hit and run accident. Our experienced team can collect evidence to strengthen your case, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and represent you in court if your claim is disputed. Our no-win no-fee policy means you have nothing to pay and nothing to lose when claiming much-needed compensation. Contact us by calling 1800 600 664 or visit our contact page to send us an email.

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