Most people are aware that if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustain serious injuries, a compensation claim may be available to them. Generally, if fault can be established, then the injured person is entitled to make a compensation claim against the at fault vehicle’s CTP insurer. However, what happens when the at fault vehicle is uninsured and not registered or if the vehicle has fled the scene of the accident and cannot be identified? This article will aim to answer those questions and give a brief overview of what happens in such a compensation claim.
The Nominal Defendant was created by the Queensland Government in 1961 so those injured in motor vehicle accidents involving unregistered, uninsured or unidentified vehicles were not disadvantaged in any way. There is, however, different limitations and restrictions placed on such claims.
A notice of claim generally must be given to the CTP insurer within 9 months of the date of accident or be accompanied by a reasonable excuse for delay. If, however, the accident involved an unidentified motor vehicle, the notice of claim must be given to the Nominal Defendant strictly within 9 months or the claim against the Nominal Defendant will be statute barred. This means you will be barred from ever bringing a claim and you will lose your entitlement to compensation.
In a personal injury claim involving an unidentified vehicle a claimant is under an obligation to perform proper search and inquiry according to section 31(2) of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (Qld). This requires the claimant to perform searches/inquiries in an attempt to identify the vehicle. This may include letter box drops, publishing a public notice in the local newspaper and/or speaking with any potential witnesses. If a proper search and inquiry has failed to identify a vehicle then a claim against the Nominal Defendant will be accepted.
It is interesting to note that there are serious implications if you have been driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle and are at fault for an accident. After a personal injury claim has resolved the Nominal Defendant could then pursue you for the damages they were required to pay to the injured claimant. This could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars if a person is seriously injured. As such, it is extremely important to make sure you pay your registration on time to ensure your vehicle is insured.
Strict time limits apply to claims involving the Nominal Defendant. So, if you have been involved in an accident where you believe an uninsured, unregistered or unidentifiable vehicle is at fault it is in your best interests to contact a personal injury lawyer in Gold Coast immediately to avoid losing your right to compensation.