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What are your obligations? Edit

If you hit someone or something, the first thing you should do is to stop and check on that person or that thing. This is because, if you knowingly fail to stop and help, you commit an offence with severe penalties1. Note that if you hit a person, a thing (other than another vehicle) or an animal, you would only be obliged by law to stop and help if the person2 or animal3 is injured or the property is damaged4. Nonetheless, you should stop and check immediately after crash, because it is often not clear at the time of accident as to whether the person or animal is injured or if the property is damaged.

Also, you only need to do what is necessary and in your power1. That means, for example, if you don’t have your mobile with you when the crash happened and someone required an ambulance; you wouldn’t be required to call the ambulance instantly. However, you do have to try to somehow find a phone to call the ambulance as soon as possible.


Then you have an obligation to inform the police about the accident within 24 hours2. To do that, you could fill in the Online Crash Report Form. For the purpose of the Form, you will need: 1) your drivers license; 2) vehicle registration detail; 3) details about other people involved in the crash. After having filled the Form, remember to keep a copy of it for insurance purposes. If the police attended the incident, you will need to request for information from them (subject to a fee ranging from $15 to $38) so that you would have the information for insurance purposes later. Alternatively, you could report the accident by going to a police station in the ACT3.

== Are you entitled to payments from your compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance policy? ==

Your car and most of the other vehicles in the ACT are insured, because it is an offense to drive an uninsured vehicle1. A CTP insurance policy covers the driver2 and someone vicariously liable for the driver3 (most likely your employer, if the accident was in the course of your employment4).


You can’t claim CTP insurance entitlements for all accidents. You are only entitled to claim, if the accident was a motor accident5. For the accident to be a motor accident, it must: 1) involves the motor vehicle6; and 2) causes a personal injury7. Notably, (1) includes the situation when your car goes out of control8 or when you swerve to avoid hitting another vehicle9. Also, it’s legally possible to have a motor accident if your car is not moving10, towed (only if the car is uninsured)11, or the trailer of your car hits someone or something12. Personal injury here includes not only physical and psychological injuries13 and death14; but also damages to things like contact lenses, hearing aids and a wheelchair15.


However, even if there is a personal injury caused by a motor accident, in some cases, you might not be able to get your CTP insurance entitlement. You should seek independent legal advice if you suspect that this might be the case, as the law in this area is complicated. Examples include:


  • acts of terrorism16;

*and/or17 *the injured person has done something which has contributed to his/her injury (examples: drink-driving; not wearing a seat-belt and

  • etc.)1;

the amount of compensation depends on how much the injured person has contributed to his injury; and/or *involves a Lifetime Care and Support2 (LTCS) scheme3.

== How to claim your entitlements under a CTP policy == 1) If the car is insured under a CTP, then you should file a Motor Accident Notification Form4, and (if possible), a police report on the accident5, to your CTP insurance provider. For this purpose, it is also vital that you notify the police on time (see above at part 3 of this factsheet)6; and, if possible, file a police report. In this case, you are entitled to $50007 for any medical expense regardless of whether you are later to be found at fault or not8.

2) Once you have lodged the claim with your CTP insurance provider, you are not supposed to act on your own9. In particular, you should not: 1) admit liability10; 2) seeking to settle with the other party11; 3) make a payment in relation to the accident12.


3) If you think your CTP entitlements didn’t cover all your losses, you could still initiate a court proceeding. To do that, you must first file a notice of claim at the court13.


Timeline for claiming compensation Edit

Time

Action(s)

Immediately after the crash

Stop and check

Within 24 hours

Report to the police

Within 30 working days14

File a Motor Accident Notification Form

The earliest time of the followings:

1) One month after the day the other party to the accident is identified15;

2) One month after the day you first consult a lawyer16;

3) 9 months after the accident happened17;

4) 9 months after you first discover any symptom from your accident18.


Initiate a case in a court by filing a notice of claim, if the car is insured under CTP.

Within 3 months19

Initiate a case in a court by filing a notice of claim, if the car is uninsured or unidentified.

If you are an adult at the time of the crash: within 3 years after the crash20; or within 3 years after the first symptom caused by the crash appears21.


If you are below 18 at the time of the crash: within 6 years after the crash22; or within 6 years after the first symptom caused by the crash appears23.

Initiate a proceeding, the latest date which a proceeding could be initiated.


The material in this fact sheet is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this publication without first getting legal advice about their particular circumstances.


If you would like more information, please contact Welfare Rights and Legal Centre on [phone number] or [email];


© Welfare Rights and Legal Centre Ltd, written by Xiaofan Bi, an undergraduate student in the Law InfoHub Program under the Law Reform Social Justice Group at the College of Law, Australian National University.


Not to be reproduced without permission or acknowledgement.

Last updated: 12 December 2014