What if I didn't get details of the vehicle that caused the accident - does this mean I can't claim for my injuries?
No - you still have a motor accident claim.
If you cannot identify the offending motor vehicle that caused the accident, then the claim is against the Nominal Defendant who acts as the CTP insurer in your claim.
What is The Nominal Defendant?
The Nominal Defendant is a quasi-governmental body formed by Statute and specifically set up for this purpose
They ensure that those injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of an unknown party, are duly compensated.
However, there is a duty on a claimant seeking compensation against the Nominal Defendant when details of the vehicle at fault were not obtained.
The claimant has to prove that reasonable efforts have been made by the claimant to identify the vehicle at fault.
What happens if the vehicle that caused the injuries leaves the scene of the accident?
In most cases where a car accident occurs due to the negligent act or omission of the driver of an unidentified vehicle, the vehicle leaves the scene of the accident and the accident victims do not have time?
Or what happens if people are unable due to their injuries or trauma of the accident to take down details of the escaping vehicle?
In such case, there is still a duty on the claimant to make proper inquiry and search to locate the vehicle at fault.
Reporting the incident to the police and doing your detective work
This usually involves reporting the incident to the police as soon as possible following the accident, placing advertisements in a newspaper in the area of the accident in an attempt to locate witnesses to the accident, undertaking investigations with local residents and businesses in the area, or locating any CCTV footage in the area that might show evidence of the vehicle at fault.
An Affidavit by the claimant advising of the investigations undertaken is then usually sufficient for the Court to accept the claimant's duty has been met.
Not attempting to take down details of the vehicle that caused injuries may lead you to failing in your duty of care
In the recent case of Murray v Nominal Defendant (2014) QDC 144, in the District Court at Brisbane, His Honour Judge Farr, found that the driver of a vehicle who was claiming for minor whiplash injuries sustained in a rear-ender collision, had not met his duty of care in not attempting to take down details of the vehicle that rear ended him.
In that case, the Court held that the Plaintiff had sufficient time, following a minor accident to take down details of the offending vehicle.
The offending vehicle did not leave the scene of the accident immediately following the accident and the Plaintiff and his wife, who actually stepped out of the vehicle to inspect the vehicle on one occasion and then to berate the driver at fault for the collision, were in the vicinity of the at-fault vehicle following the accident for some minutes.
get out your vehicle and take details
The Judge could see no reason why the Plaintiff could not have taken down details of the vehicle or told his wife the details to record, he also noted that the Plaintiff did not even get out of the vehicle following the accident to obtain details of the other vehicle.
When making his determination, his Honour Judge Farr also took into account the minor nature of the Plaintiff's injuries resulting from the low impact collision and thus dismissed the Plaintiff's damages claim against the Nominal Defendant.
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