Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is an unexpected, terrifying experience which can have significant financial and emotional consequences for you and your family. Obtaining medical attention should be your first priority. There are, however, important steps you must take to comply with legislation and protect your rights, as TGB lawyer Daniel Clarke explains.
At the Accident Scene
If you require urgent medical attention attend to this as a priority. Then:
- Obtain the name, address and contact number of the other driver and registration number of the other vehicle;
- Obtain the names, addresses and contact numbers of any witnesses to the accident; and
- Report the accident using the online crash report facility of the Insurance Commission of WA (ICWA) which will report your accident to the ICWA and the WA Police. If you do not report the accident you may be breaking the law. You should also not admit liability for the accident without the consent of the ICWA. You should also advise the ICWA of any property damage to your motor vehicle and or other property such as your bicycle.
Following the Accident
- If necessary seek medical attention, whether at a hospital or your local GP.
- If you require time away from work obtain a medical certificate at the hospital or your local GP.
- If you are required to pay any medical expenses for treatment, make sure to keep the invoices for reimbursement.
Making a Claim for Compensation
- If you were injured in the accident you can make a claim for compensation for medical treatment, economic loss and pain and suffering.
- Generally you must establish that the driver/owner of the other motor vehicle was at fault whether completely or in part. This may also be the case even in a hit and run accident where you are not able to establish the identity of the other motor vehicle.
- People who have suffered catastrophic injuries can make a claim for compensation even if they were at fault or unable to establish the fault of the driver/owner of another motor vehicle.
How to make a Claim for Compensation
- If the accident occurred in another state you should contact the relevant compulsory third party insurer of that state.
- You should complete a Notice of Intention to Make a Claim form and medical authority. These forms can be obtained directly from the ICWA. You should lodge your claim as soon as reasonably possible after the accident. There are strict time limits that apply which you should take careful note of.
- The ICWA will assess your claim and determine liability. The ICWA may also contact you and make further enquiries.
- You may manage your own claim and legal representation is not required. However, if you have made a claim you have the right to appoint a lawyer to assist you in managing your claim and to provide you with legal advice.
- You are responsible for all medical expenses associated with your injury. You should give copies of all your invoices substantiating such medical expenses and submit to the ICWA for reimbursement. In certain circumstances you may not be able to recover the full amount of such medical expenses. You may also require the ICWA to make progressive payments to reduce financial hardship to you prior to the settlement of your claim.
- You should keep a record of the cost of travelling to and from medical appointments for recovery from the ICWA.
- In order to claim for economic loss you will need to establish that you are unable to work for a period of time as a result of your injuries. You should obtain medical certification from your local GP to cover you for the periods that you are unable to work.
- In certain circumstances the ICWA will pay compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and other general damages. You will be required to meet the threshold criteria that apply before any compensation will be paid to you.
Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers are specialists in motor vehicle accident injury compensation claims. If you have made a claim call our team in West Perth on (08) 9211 5800 for a free, initial interview to assess your claim.
If you have not made a claim, disregard this publication.
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