Accidents

This page explains what to do if you’ve had a car accident or you have been injured in a car accident.  If you’re looking for information about insurance or damage to your car or someone else’s please check out our page on property damage.

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What should I do if I have an accident?

Stop

You must stop immediately after you have had an accident, no matter how minor it seems. An accident is when two cars hit each other, or a car hits a person, someone’s animal or damages any property (even if the thing you’ve damaged is not a car, for example a wall).

Assist

If your car has been involved in an accident and you think someone has been injured or killed, you have to stop and give assistance that you’re able to.  There are very hefty penalties if you don’t stop and give assistance, including going to jail and losing your licence for a period of time.

Report to police

You have to report most types of crashes to the police as soon as possible (but no later than 24 hours after the accident).  This includes crashes where someone is injured (or killed) or if someone doesn’t give over the details.  You can do this by calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

Do I need to call the police to attend the accident?

It depends.  You need to call the police if:

  • someone is trapped
  • someone is injured
  • a bus or truck needs to be towed
  • someone hasn’t handed over their details
  • a driver seems to be on drugs or alcohol
  • police are needed to deal with the traffic or other hazards

Swap details

If you’re in an accident, the law says you have to give your name, address, registration and other details about the car to the other driver or anyone who is injured.  You have to do this as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the crash.   There are very hefty penalties if you don’t give information.

Remember that you also have a right to get this information from other drivers involved in the accident.

Record the accident

If possible, try and take the names and addresses of anyone who saw the crash happen. Write down anything that you remember people involved in the accident said. You can also take a picture on your phone of any damage caused, as well as the surrounding area.  

I’ve been injured in a car accident – can I get compensation?

You may be able to get compensation if you’ve been injured in a car accident.  You can get compensation for
physical injury and psychological or psychiatric injury.

Everyone who is injured in an accident can get $5000 for treatment and lost earnings.  It doesn’t matter whether or not the driver is at fault.  

To get this compensation, you have to:

  1. Notify the police about the accident within 28 days – you will need to have a police event number
  2. Find out who the other driver’s insurance company is. You can get this information by phoning the Motor Accidents Authority on 1300 656 919 and quoting the registration number of the car at fault.
  3. Get a medical certificate from your doctor
  4. Fill in an Accident Notification Form within 28 days of the accident and send it to the other driver’s insurer.  You can get a copy of the form from: http://www.maa.nsw.gov.au/about-us/forms/claims

If you have suffered more than $5,000 in harm, you may be able to claim more compensation as long as you weren’t completely at fault for the accident. Also, if you were injured in a car accident when travelling to or from work, or on work business, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation.

If you are under 25 and this has happened to you, please send us a Lawmail and we can give you legal advice specific to your situation.   There are time limits for claiming compensation if it’s more than $5,000 – you have to make a claim within 6 months of the accident.

If you are under 16 and you have been injured in a car accident, you can claim compensation for all of your hospital, medical and care costs, even if they are over $5,000.  You have to make these claims to the insurer of one of the cars involved within 6 months of the accident.

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