How to claim compensation After a Car accident in queensland?

If you have been injured in a car accident in Queensland, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.  Not every car accident claim is straightforward. For example, sometimes the accident is not due to another driver’s negligence, but rather it is caused by the conditions of the roadway. Other times the accident may have been caused by a defective vehicle component. We are experienced Queensland car accident compensation lawyers and we have put together this page to help you understand what you are entitled to and what are the steps in making a claim.


Do you have a car accident claim?

If you were involved in a car accident and suffered injuries, you could well be entitled compensation. Even if you are without insurance. To get compensation, it must be established that the accident was someone else’s fault, either wholly or at least in part. For example:


  • you suffer injury in a collision where the other driver fails to give way
  • you are a pedestrian hit by a car
  • accident involving a cyclist hit by a driver who fails to keep a safe distance
  • you are passenger in a car, driven by a family member and you suffer injuries
  • you are a passenger in a taxi or Uber
  • you are in a crash due to bad road conditions or a defective vehicle component.


Why engage an expert compensation lawyer?

To begin with, Queensland law gives you rights to financial compensation for pain and suffering, past and future income loss, lost superannuation contributions, the costs of surgeries, the costs of medication and travel, the value of domestic assistance and other things as well. But: your compensation is paid in one lump sum, meaning if it’s not enough, you can’t go back for more.  An expert personal injury compensation lawyer can accurately calculate your financial compensation entitlements.


Then there are accidents in which it is not straightforward who was at fault. We have the legal experience to look at a case from more than one angle to identify the party to blame. For example your crash may have occurred due to the condition of the roadway. We have successfully represented people who suffered injury on a stretch of road which was left in a hazardous condition after roadworks had been completed. In such a case you can claim compensation from the company in charge of the roadworks. As another example, defective vehicle components can also cause serious injuries. A claim may be made against the workshop which serviced the vehicle, or the manufacturer. (These are called product liability claims.)


Finally, a word of warning: if your car accident was somebody else’s fault, their insurance company may contact you and offer to pay a compensation amount, in exchange for releasing them from further liability. We recommend that you don’t speak with the insurance company until you have sought legal advice.


What can you claim to maximise your compensation?

In Queensland, there are several “heads of damage” which you can claim as compensation after a car accident.


Pain and Suffering

You can get compensation for your pain and suffering (which is also often referred to as general damages).  How much you get for this depends on the nature and severity of the injuries (see for example knee injuriesback injury or whiplash injuries), but there are some important things to keep in mind:


  • the amount you get is determined by a formula set in a piece of legislation called the Civil Liability Regulations. Once we have medical evidence about the severity of your injuries, we can work out your entitlement
  • often our clients suffer multiple injuries. Under the legislation it’s possible to increase the amount you get for multiple injuries, but this is not automatic. This is where your lawyer’s advocacy comes into play.


Surgery costs and medical/medication costs (past and future)

You will be compensated for all medical bills (including GP visits, surgery costs, rehabilitation, physio etc). This applies to costs which you have already incurred as well as future bills. (Your future bills will be estimated based on the evidence).


Wages and Income from Business or Self-Employment

Often, our clients are not able to return to work for a period of time, or at all. And in many cases, even after returning to work, our clients struggle with full or normal duties. They have to work reduced hours, reduced workload or a combination of both.


You can recover all income which you have lost between the accident and the date of settlement of court judgment. This is called past economic loss.


You can also recover any income which you may lose in the future. You do not have to prove that you will definitely lose income in the future. It’s sufficient to prove that there is a risk of future income loss. This is called future economic loss. Most people plan to work until they are 67 or 70. Imagine you suffer an accident when you are 35 years old and due to the accident you can’t return to work. Your future economic loss between now and retirement age would be very significant.


Lost superannuation entitlements

You are also able to recover super contributions that you have lost or might lose in the future as a result of your injuries. Let’s say your future economic loss is $500,000. You would then be entitled to an additional compensation for lost future superannuation contributions of about $59,400. (This is based on a contribution rate of 11.88% which takes into account that compulsory super contribution rates are increasing. However, the precise figure may be different depending on your age and your conditions of employment – some employment contracts provide higher contribution rates.)


Care provided to you by family and friends

If family and friends care for you after the accident, then you are able to recover the commercial value of the time they spent with you. This is an often misunderstood area because even though your family/friends are providing care, you are the one who receives compensation for it. There are some restrictions and thresholds which must be satisfied before you can claim for this head of damage, also known as gratuitous care, and we’ll be happy to explain this to you further.


Out of pocket expenses

You are also able to recover travel expenses, parking costs and other incidental expenses incurred as a result of your accident.


Motor vehicle accident claim time limits

In Queensland, there are a number of very important time limits that you need to be aware of. In some instances, if you miss the time limits, you can’t claim compensation.


1 month or 9 months

If you are injured in a car accident and you wish to make a compensation claim, you must give a Notice of Accident Claim form to the insurer of the at fault driver within 9 months of the accident. However, if you consult to a lawyer, then this timeframe is reduced. In that case, you must give the Notice of Accident Claim form within 1 month of the consultation. If you miss these deadlines, it may be possible to lodge the relevant form late, if you have a reasonable excuse for the delay. (Please note, at this stage you are not yet filing a claim in court. You are simply giving a form to the relevant insurance company. If the claim can’t be settled, then you file a claim in court at a later stage.)


Unidentified vehicles

If your accident was caused by a vehicle which can’t be identified, you can still claim compensation. However, you must give a Notice of Accident Claim to the Nominal Defendant within 3 months. (The Nominal Defendant is a Queensland Government department which acts as an insurer in those cases where the at fault vehicle can’t be found or was not registered).  If the vehicle which caused the accident can’t be identified and the Notice of Accident Claim form is not given to the Nominal Defendant within 9 months, your claim is forever barred.


Nominal defendant

The first time limit for a car accident claim is that a Notice of Accident Claim form must be given to the insurer of the at fault driver, within 9 months after the accident.


3 years after Queensland Car Accident

The absolute time limit to make a car accident compensation claim in Court is 3 years after the accident. Even if you complied with the time limits listed above, you still need to file a claim in court within 3 years. This time period can be extended in very limited circumstances. For example, the time limit to make a claim may be extended when a minor is involved, or if the claimant had no full mental capacity, or in some limited circumstances where the nature or severity of the injuries does not immediately become apparent.


Average car accident compensation payout in Queensland

In Queensland, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission reported (for the 2019/20 year) the average car accident compensation payouts as follows, depending on the severity of injuries:


  • Minor injuries: $62,800
  • Moderate injuries: $146,400
  • Serious injuries: $357,600
  • Severe injuries: $928,500
  • Critical injuries: $2,378,000


Keep in mind, these are average figures. The compensation payout in each case depends on the effect which the injuries have on the particular claimant in question. For example, injured persons who are unable  to return to work after an accident, either temporarily or permanently, are entitled to higher compensation than those who returned to work without problems.

CTP insurer pays compensation

If your claim is successful, the at fault driver’s CTP insurer will pay you the compensation amount. In Queensland, every car must have CTP insurance, the cost of which is paid as part of the registration. When an accident happens, the at fault driver’s CTP insurance will provide the funds for the compensation payment.


Car accident on your way to or from Work

If you have been involved in a car accident on your way to work or on your way from work, then in addition to making a Queensland car accident claim, you can also claim workers compensation benefits. This is called a journey claim. We have written an article about this which you can read here. 

Free book offer: what to expect in your injury claim

Many firms try to rush you to sign up with them without carefully considering your options. We encourage you to first learn about your personal injury claim. You should ask yourself:

  • How do you calculate your compensation amount?
  • How should you choose your lawyer? Do you just choose by firm name regardless of who is really in charge of your matter? Has your lawyer ever argued a case in court?
  • What is a no win – no fee agreement? How much will it cost? 

Our book is available to you free of charge. You don’t have to be a client to receive this book. Head to the order page and we will be happy to send you a copy straight away.

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