Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is unexpected, and can be a 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 Tim White explains.
This article deals briefly with the most vital steps to take in the initial phase following being injured, as they can have a significant impact on the overall outcome you may achieve with your claim for compensation.
At the Accident Scene
- 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;
- Obtain the vehicle collision report number; and
- Seek the necessary medical treatment needed.
Days Following the Accident
- Report the accident using the online crash report facility to the Insurance Commission of WA (ICWA) which will report your accident to the ICWA and the WA Police. https://www.crashreport.com.au/ocrf/
- If you do not report the accident you may be breaking the law.
- If you have sustained injuries make sure you also complete the notify injuries section. Make sure you list all the areas of your body affected, even if you think they have only been injured in a minor way, because they might become a more significant problem for you further down the track.
Weeks following the Accident
Seek medical attention
Seek medical attention, whether at a hospital or your local GP. You are entitled to see whichever doctor you normally see, so often it is best to attend your usual GP clinic as they have your medical history.
If you require time away from work obtain a medical certificate at the hospital or your local GP supporting this. Provide that certificate, or certificates, to your employer and also ICWA.
Keep records of all medical expenses
If you are required to pay any medical expenses for treatment, make sure you keep the invoices for later reimbursement from ICWA.
A vital aspect of your claim is having it supported or backed up by medical evidence so taking these steps early on is very important.
Obtain all necessary treatment
Obtain treatment from other health providers as needed such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, psychologists, and others.
Seeking legal assistance
To be eligible for compensation you must establish that the driver/owner of the other motor vehicle was at fault in causing the collision, whether completely or in part.
Pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike riders are also able to make a claim if they have been injured due to the negligent driving of another person.
There are many different factors that you are potentially entitled to be compensated for and it can be complex gathering the necessary information to prove the losses you have suffered. Seeking legal assistance with this process is usually very beneficial to you and will significant reduce your stress and anxiety with the whole process. Seek advice from a lawyer that specialises in motor vehicle compensation claims early on.
What compensation may I be able to claim for?
There are multiple factors considered in determining what compensation you are able to claim for following a car accident. Your individual circumstances will heavily influence what amount is paid including how well you have documented the losses you have suffered and are likely to experience in the future. An experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer will greatly assist you in navigating this maze, ensure the relevant information is obtained and advise you of things that are in your best interests.
Briefly, these are some of the areas you can be compensated for:
- Pain and suffering
- Past loss of income
- Future loss of income
- Loss of superannuation payments
- Future medical costs
- Past assistance around the house, voluntary services
- Future assistance and care around the home
A contribution towards legal costs is also claimable from ICWA if you have legal assistance with your claim, in addition to medical costs you have paid along the way.
If you have made a claim with ICWA, you should seek legal assistance early on. You are only compensated once for the injuries you have sustained. Once your claim is settled you cannot come back later on and seek additional compensation. Be informed about what your entitlements are and how they are determined by obtaining legal assistance with your claim. This will ensure you achieve an outcome that is in your best interests, not the insurers.
Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers are specialists in motor vehicle accident injury compensation claims. If you have made a claim call our team in 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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