In October 2014, the NSW Police Force made policy changes in relation to the reporting of motor vehicle accidents to the police. However, these changes can have serious implications to your rights to claim personal injury compensation after an accident.
The overarching theme of these changes is that police will not make a report if, in the opinion of police, the accident is minor. This is presumably to divert police resources away from minor traffic accidents.
As a result of these changes, I have had several new clients advise me that police refused to take their details or issue a police event number in relation to their accident.
Whilst the current police policy might be appropriate in respect of minor property damage claims, it is entirely inappropriate in relation to any accident in which a person is injured.
That’s because Section 70 of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) requires any person injured in a car accident and who intends to make a claim, to report the accident to police within 28 days (unless police attended the scene of the accident).
Failure to report the accident to police within this 28-day period can be fatal to your right to claim compensation as both the NSW Personal Injury Claim Form and Accident Notification Form require the injured person to provide the insurer with the Police Event Number at the time of lodgement.
Unfortunately, many police officers are unaware of the Section 70 requirement and refuse to make a report, relying on the October 2014 policy change and their experiences with minor traffic accidents not resulting in injury.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, I strongly suggest that you either contact the Police Assistance Line (131 444) or attend the relevant local police station. You should provide police with details of the accident, details of your injuries. You should insist that you are provided with a Police Event Number, because you intend to make a claim for compensation for your injuries. You should also take down the name of the officer that you speak to.
At Stacks Goudkamp our personal injury lawyers are experts in CTP claims. If you have been injured in an accident on the road, I therefore recommend that you contact Stacks Goudkamp as soon as possible, to receive obligation-free advice and assistance with completing the relevant claim forms. Telephone our friendly lawyers today on 1800 25 1800 or contact us online.
Written by Brett Watts.
Brett Watts is a solicitor in Tom Goudkamp and Ruth Hudson’s Practice Group at Stacks Goudkamp. Before joining the firm, Brett worked at the NSW Claims Assessment and Resolution Service. Brett has a particular interest and expertise in motor vehicle accident claims in both NSW and other jurisdictions.