What if I’m Partly at Fault in a Motor Accident?
If you have been injured in a motor accident and you were partially at fault, you can generally still make a claim under a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance policy. In this case, your claim is made against the CTP insurer of the other ‘at-fault’ party. Like all personal injury claims, there are a number of important steps to take and timeframes to abide by. At Stacks Goudkamp we can assist you with this, working to make the aftermath of your accident as stress-free as possible.
Take Care of Yourself
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, make sure that you call an ambulance if necessary or seek medical treatment. The welfare of those involved in an accident should be your priority.
Remember that ambulance and hospital records are often the first record of how an accident occurred, so give a full and frank explanation. You should also tell your doctors about all of your injuries, however small, in case they worsen later.
Contacting the Police
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should report the accident to the police. Not only is this required by New South Wales Road Rules for accidents causing injuries and death, it is also legally required before you can proceed with a CTP claim.
As a driver who is partially at fault, if the accident has caused injuries you should call 000 to report the accident to the police. The police will determine whether they will need to attend the scene.
If at first you did not realise that you were injured but you develop symptoms later (which is common with whiplash injuries) you should report your accident in person to the nearest police station as soon as practicable or call the NSW police assistance line on 131 444 to report the injury. The advisors on the police line will then determine whether you should attend a police station in person
After you have reported your accident, you should obtain a police accident report reference number called an ‘Event Number’ from the police.
Lodging a Claim
Gathering information is essential in any personal injury claim. Car accidents usually involve exchanging details, so make sure you obtain the other driver’s vehicle registration number.
Everybody who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in NSW is entitled to up to $5,000 of medical treatment expenses and loss of earnings payments, regardless of whether you were partially or fully at fault. In order to claim this, you should complete an Accident Notification Form. A GP or specialist will need to complete a medical certificate as part of the form while we can make sure that everything else is completed quickly and correctly.
If you were partially to blame for an accident, you can also make a full personal injury claim by completing a Personal Injury Claim Form. Again a GP of specialist will need to complete a medical certificate as part of the form.
Your completed forms will then be sent to the CTP insurer of the other ‘at-fault’ vehicle, along with any other reports and documents that we help you to gather.
If the other ‘at-fault’ vehicle is unidentifiable or uninsured, we can assist you with sending your claim form to the nominal defendant.
As part of your claim, we will gather evidence to establish liability including police reports, witness statements, CCTV footage and where necessary traffic light sequencing and traffic management documents. We will advise you on whether a Judge or CARS Assessor is likely to find you partially to blame for the accident. The term for this is contributory negligence.
When a finding of contributory negligence is made against you, a Judge or CARS Assessor will determine the percentage of blame attributed to you as the partially at fault party. Your compensation would then be reduced by the percentage that you were found to blame. For example, if you were 30% to blame for an accident, your compensation would be reduced by 30%. You would still be entitled to 70% of the value of your claim, which makes a personal injury claim still worth pursuing.
At Stacks Goudkamp our motor vehicle accident lawyers have over 40 years worth of experience in advising partially at fault drivers and pedestrians. Our Managing Director Tom Goudkamp is also a CARS Assessor, and is experienced at independently determining liability and contributory negligence of parties in motor vehicle accidents. We will advise you about the level of contributory negligence that is likely to made against you, and incorporate that into settlement negotiations with the insurer for the other at fault party. By taking this approach, most claims settle informally rather than go to Court or a CARS Assessment.
In order to ensure a successful claim, strict timeframes must be followed. Early lodgement of your claim can lead to early treatment and rehabilitation for you, so it’s important to make your claim sooner rather than later.
An Accident Notification Form must be lodged within 28 days if you wish to claim $5,000 of ‘no fault’ medical expenses and loss of earnings.
In order to bring a full personal injury claim, a Personal Injury Claim Form must be lodged within 6 months. If your accident occurred over 6 months ago, you should contact us immediately. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to bring a late claim if you can give a full and satisfactory explanation for the delay.
In situations where you are confused about the process, are feeling unsure as to whether you have a claim, or as though you’re not being listened to, we are here to help you out. Simply call Stacks Goudkamp and speak with a member of our friendly, professional team.