Even if you were not a driver or passenger of one of the vehicles involved in an accident, you may still be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
When we think of motor vehicle accidents and the claims that arise as a result of them, we often come to the conclusion that they can only involve motor vehicles and only those who were in the cars as the drivers or passengers can claim. This is simply not the case.
In the past, the majority of compensation claims submitted typically concerned two motor vehicles colliding. As motorbike riding and cycling have continued to grow in popularity in Western Australia, however, we have seen an increasing number of accidents involving motorcyclists and cyclists. The number of claims involving pedestrians has also risen over more recent times.
Injuries Involving Other Road Users Are Quickly on the Rise
As our capital cities in Australia continue to grow at a fast rate more vehicles are on the roads. When a pedestrian is hit by a car or a motorcyclist or cyclist is knocked from their bike, there is the potential for very serious injury.
Statistics have actually shown a sharp rise in people other than those occupying a motor vehicle being seriously injured, both physically and mentally, following a motor vehicle accident in WA. According to the Road Safety Commission, in 2022, 174 Western Australians lost their lives on WA’s roads. Of these, 33 were motorcyclists, 16 were pedestrians and 4 were cyclists – a whopping 31% of all fatalities on Western Australia’s roads involved a motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian.
In 2023 over 80% of accident claims to date have related to collisions that occurred in metropolitan areas. This highlights that the significant majority of accidents occur in the suburbs and not the country. Although when accidents occur in the country they tend to be catastrophic, given the speeds involved at the time of the crash. There were about 4000 claims made relating to peopled injured on WA roads in the 2023 year to date.
The Vulnerability of Pedestrians, Cyclists and Motorcyclists
All road users need to be vigilant.
Car accidents in WA that involve cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists typically culminate in serious injuries that can be life-changing. This is hardly surprising given the obvious difference between being involved in a motor vehicle accident whilst on foot or on a bike and being involved in a motor vehicle accident when inside a car and with your seatbelt on.
The Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA) reports that whilst 18 per cent of all claims received involve a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcyclist, the compensation payments to these people represent 40 per cent of the total compensatory payout. This statistic alone illustrates just how devastating injuries can be for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists involved in a car accident in WA.
Car Accidents in WA: Who Can Claim?
The underlying premise is that anybody who is not at fault and has been involved in a motor vehicle accident and has suffered a physical or mental injury, irrespective of whether the person was in a motor vehicle, on foot, on a bicycle, or on a motorcycle, is entitled to compensation and can make a claim.
Being on foot, on a bicycle, or driving a motorcycle has no bearing on the compensation to which you are entitled—all that matters is that you were injured. The extent of your injuries, both mental and physical, alongside other factors and appropriate evidence will be weighted to determine the monetary amount of compensation you can be awarded.
The Fault-Based Scheme for Other Road Users and Pedestrians
In Western Australia, the “Fault-Based Scheme”, requires negligence being established and proven against the other driver or user of a motor vehicle, for the injured person to be able to claim.
In simpler terms, it means that as an ‘other road user’, you are only entitled to compensation if you were injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident in WA and you were not totally or predominately responsible for the accident. The other person involved needs to be predominately at fault.
If, for example, you crossed a road suddenly into the flow of traffic and were hit by a motor vehicle, any injuries would have been caused by, predominately, your own negligence and you most likely could not be compensated for any injuries suffered.
Of course, this is an extreme example. Cases are rarely quite as clear cut as this and therefore determining the circumstances of each case and who was primarily at fault is something that is vitally important to each claim.
Assessing whether you, as an ‘other road user’ or pedestrian, can make a compensation claim rests entirely on the question of whether the accident was primarily caused by the driver of the other motor vehicle.
Getting Started with Your Claim
Your individual circumstances are what matters when it comes to making a claim for physical or psychological injury after a car accident in WA. Since claims involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are inherently more complicated and restricted in terms of eligibility and timeframes, it is important you seek advice promptly after your accident and begin the process of lodging your claim.
Our personal injury lawyers in WA are experienced in dealing with these types of matters.
Call our Motor Vehicle Accident team today on (08) 9211 5800 and book your free, no-obligation claim assessment, or fill in your details here and we’ll quickly be in touch.