Historically, motor vehicle accident claims have operated on a fault based system. You needed to prove that another driver was at fault in your accident in order for you to be successful.
There have however been some changes to the Motor Accident Legislation which have been in place now for some time, that is, from 1 October 2007. These are known as the “blameless accident provisions”.
These provisions define a blameless accident as being “a motor accident not caused by the fault of the owner or driver of any motor vehicle involved in the accident in the use or operation of the vehicle and not caused by the fault of any other person”.
The Motor Accidents Authority provides some guidance in the Motor Accident Personal Injury Claim Form in giving examples of what may be a blameless motor vehicle accident which include, but are not limited to:
- a driver suffers an unforeseeable heart attack;
- a driver is stung by a bee whilst driving resulting in a severe allergic reaction;
- vehicle failure.
The class of people that could possibly make a claim include a passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, pillion passenger, driver or motor cycle rider.
However there are special rules in relation to drivers and motor cycle riders in blameless accidents. It would appear from the Legislation that you are not entitled to make a claim if you were injured in a single vehicle accident or if you were driving or riding the vehicle that caused the accident. Therefore in situations where you are the driver that suffered a medical condition which resulted in the motor vehicle accident, you would not be able to claim.
It is important to note that the onus is on the insurer to prove that accidents such as outlined above are not blameless.
It should be noted however that blameless accidents still carry the opportunity for the victim’s damages to be reduced on the basis of contributory negligence, that is, if they are found to be partly at fault for the accident.
What if my child has been injured in a blameless accident?
There are special benefits for children in relation to accidents that occur from 1 October 2006. A claim can be made even if the accident was not caused by the fault of an owner or driver of a motor vehicle.
The following criteria needs to be satisfied:
- The accident happened on or after 1 October 2006.
- The child was under 16 years of age at the time of the accident.
- The child lived in NSW at the time of the accident.
If the above three criteria are satisfied, the Legislation essentially deems that the accident has been caused by the fault of the owner or driver of the motor vehicle as long as the owner had insurance cover at the time of the accident.
The following damages are payable in relation to injuries sustained by a child in these circumstances:
(a) hospital, medical and pharmaceutical expenses;
(b) rehabilitation expenses;
(c) respite care expenses;
(d) attending care services expenses;
(e) funeral or cremation expenses.
In relation to contributory negligence of a child, there is a special provision in the Legislation which directs the court not to make any reduction on account of contributory negligence of a child. This means there would be no reduction in damages in relation to the child’s claim.
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of a blameless motor vehicle accident, contact the team here at Taylor & Scott on 1800 600 664 or complete the Contact Form on this page.
We act in all blameless accident cases on a no-win/no-pay basis which means if you don’t win, we don’t get paid. This is our “Guarantee” to you.
At Taylor & Scott “ We Care For You.”