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 at the scene of an accident?

Stop

You must stop immediately after you have had an accident, no matter how minor it may seem. 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 give assistance that you’re able to.  This might include calling the ambulance. There are very hefty penalties if you don’t stop and give assistance, including going to jail. Also, the law says you have to remove any debris from the road that is caused by the accident, as long as it’s safe to do so.

Report to police

It’s a good idea to report all crashes to the police, because your insurance may only cover you if you do this.  But the law says you MUST report some types of crashes to the police. These include:

  • if someone is injured or killed
  • If a vehicle needs to be towed away;
  • If there is damage to property or animals (other than someone’s car);
  • If someone involved in the accident doesn’t give their details
  • If the estimated cost of repairing damage to property apart from those belonging to you is more than $3000.

You have to report these accidents to police as soon as possible by going to the police station closest to the crash but if there are very special circumstances (like you were injured and taken to hospital) you have up to 24 hours to report to the police.

If someone is injured or killed and the police are not called to the accident, you have to go to a police station and give information about the accident and undergo an alcohol and drug test.

If none of the above applies (and you don’t have to go to the police station to report the crash), you can report the crash online at the South Australian Police’s Online Collision Reporting System here: https://www.police.sa.gov.au/services-and-events/make-a-report-to-the-police/report-a-crash

Report to your insurer

If someone is injured or dies in a car accident that you’re involved in, you have to notify your insurer as soon as possible.  If you don’t, you could be heavily fined.

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 over information and the police will probably be called.

Remember that you also have a right to get this information from other drivers involved in the accident.  Also, you should not admit any fault at the scene of 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.  

Can I get compensation if I am injured in an accident?

You may be able to get compensation if you’ve been injured in a car accident and it wasn’t all your fault.  There’s also a special compensation for children under 16 who are injured in a car accident, even if they were at fault.

There are strict time limits and steps you have to follow.  We explain these below:

Step 1: Report the accident to the police

You must report an accident to the police. You should also report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible after an accident involving injury or death, as this might be a condition of your insurance policy.   

Step 2: Notify your own CTP greenslip insurer

You also have to notify your CTP insurer of the accident as soon as possible.  If you don’t you could be fined or even go to jail in the worst cases.

Step 3: Find out who the other driver’s insurer is

If you do not know the insurer of the car which caused the accident call the Motor Accident Commission CTP Helpline on (08) 8422 8100. Try to have on hand any details of the accident, registration number of the vehicle at fault, and if possible, the Police accident report reference number. This will help you when making your call.

Step 4: Fill in an injury claim form and send it to the insurer

Once you have the name of the insurer, you have to lodge a claim form.  You can find a copy of the claim form to print or fill it in online here: http://www.mac.sa.gov.au/claim.  

Time limits for claiming compensation

There are strict time limits for claiming compensation for injuries in car accidents.  

If you know the details of the car which caused the injury, you have 6 months from the date of the accident. If you don’t know the details of the car that caused your injuries, or that car was uninsured, you have to lodge a form as soon as possible, but no later than 6 months after the accident.  

After you lodge a claim, the insurer and you may negotiate a settlement. If you cannot agree to a settlement, then you may have to take your case to court.

If you are under 18 and you are injured in an accident, you generally have 6 months from the date you turn 18 to lodge a claim.

If you are under 25 and you want more information about compensation for being injured in a car accident, you can get help here.

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The law is different in each state and territory. Please select your state or territory to view legal information that applies to you.