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Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

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What is a motor vehicle accident?

A motor vehicle accident” is a generic, all-encompassing term to include any accident involving a car, truck, motorcycle, bus or bicycle as well as including being hit whilst a pedestrian by any of those vehicles.

If you sustain an injury or loss caused by the actions of another person whilst driving, being transported in or on a car, truck, bus or motorcycle or if you were a pedestrian and was hit by a car, truck, bus or motorcycle, you may be entitled to compensation.

If you sustain an injury or loss caused by the actions of another person whilst driving, being transported in or on a car, truck, bus or motorcycle or if you were a pedestrian and was hit by a car, truck, bus or motorcycle, you may be entitled to compensation.

Can i claim?

If your accident and subsequent injury was as a result of the negligent driving of a car, truck, bus or motorcycle, your claim will be against Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA) and not the driver. Due to the provisions of State legislation Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943, ICWA “steps into the shoes” of the driver and investigates and settles the claim with you on the driver’s behalf. Our experienced solicitors will engage on your behalf by submitting a claim with the ICWA for the negligent driving of the driver of the vehicle which gave rise to your injuries. Any action that constitutes negligence on the part of the driver of either a car, truck, bus or motorcycle in or on which you were a passenger or that of another driver of a car, truck, bus or motorcycle that causes you an injury, entitles you to lodge a claim for your personal injury. Any further action which constitutes negligence on the part of another driver or rider and you were a pedestrian at the time, also may entitle you to claim compensation.

What can i claim?

If the accident results in your injury, you can claim for all loss and damage suffered by you, i.e.:

  • past and future loss of earnings;
  • pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life;
  • past and future medical expenses;
  • hospitalisation expenses; and
  • home assistance. 

Can I claim if it is my fault?

If you are partly to blame for the accident, you can still claim but the amount of your claim will be reduced in accordance with your contributory negligence that is normally expressed as a percentage.

How long do I have to claim?

The steps which should be immediately taken after an accident (if you are in a position to do so) are as follows:

  • report the matter to the police or complete the online crash report;
  • if possible take photos of the scene;
  • obtain the names and contact particulars of all witnesses to the incident;
  • contact us at A & E Legal for further assistance.

What happens next?

There are strict time limits to commence a claim with ICWA and proceedings in the District Court of Western Australia and normally, if you are an adult, you have 3 years from the date of your accident or from the date when you first noticed clinical signs of an injury. Different time periods exist for children and we recommend that you contact us immediately.

Most claims are settled without having to go to Court on trial. However, pre-trial conferences are held at the Court building in a more informal basis and we will be there to represent you through this process.

Throughout the duration of your claim, we will attempt to get through the claim process as quickly as possible by seeking the relevant expert medical advice from your doctors to ensure that your claim is settled at the right time. We will answer all your questions about legal costs at the first free consultation with you, with no obligation to us. However, in the event of a successful resolution of your claim, the person liable or their insurers will cover most of the costs.

Pursuant to new legislation (Motor Vehicle (Catastrophic Injuries) Act 2016), if you suffer a catastrophic injury such that you are paralysed or have suffered a brain injury after 1 July 2016 in a car, truck, bus or motorcycle crash, you have a claim against ICWA under its new Catastrophic Scheme irrespective of who caused the accident. This means that the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme will be extended to provide care and support to all people catastrophically injured in motor vehicle accidents irrespective of fault. In other words, from 1 July 2016 regardless of fault, you will be entitled to make a claim for care and support on a consistent basis.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.