If you have been injured in the ACT in a motor vehicle accident that occurred due to a driver’s negligence or fault, you need to be aware of the time constraints in making a claim. Suzanne Sharwood, Senior Associate with Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers, shares important details for making a claim after a motor vehicle accident.
Who can claim compensation?
If you were injured in a car accident where the driver was at fault, you could make a compensation claim if you were:
- a passenger in the at fault driver’s vehicle,
- a driver in another vehicle,
- a passenger in another vehicle,
- a pedestrian, or
- a cyclist.
Report the accident to the police
If the police do not attend the scene (they will usually only attend if the accident is serious or there is a road safety issue), you need to report the accident within 24 hours. This can be done online via ACT Policing or Access Canberra, or at a police station. The report takes about 15 minutes to complete.
What details do I need?
You will need:
- the details of the driver at fault,
- the registration number of the vehicles involved, and
- details of any witnesses.
Make sure you print a copy of your AFP Crash Report for your records.
The following two forms then need to be submitted to the compulsory third party insurer for the vehicle at fault (‘the insurer’), together with a copy of your AFP Crash Report:
- Motor Accident Notification Form / Motor Accident Medical Report (MANF/MAMR)
- Notice of Claim Form (NOCF)
You will need to complete the MANF and NOCF. Your general practitioner (or other treatment provider) will need to complete the MAMR.
Importance of time limits
It is very important that your claims forms are filled out correctly and lodged in time. Otherwise, you may lose your right to make a claim.
Early payment provisions
If you want to be eligible for early treatment payments (up to $5,000 for the first six months), the MANF/MAMR (with the AFP Crash Report) need to be provided to the insurer within six weeks of the accident.
Compensation beyond early treatment expenses
If you seek compensation beyond the early treatment expenses, including for pain and suffering, wage loss and domestic assistance, you also need to lodge the NOCF with the insurer. This needs to be done within nine months from the date of the accident. However, once you instruct a solicitor or identify the insurer, you need to lodge the NOCF within one month of whichever of those dates is later. To expedite your claim, both forms are usually lodged together.
Different time limits apply if:
- the vehicle at fault is not identified,
- the vehicle at fault is not insured, or
- the injured person is a child.
The court limitation period sets another important date. As a general rule, if you do not commence proceedings within three years from the date of the accident, you also lose your right to make a claim.
Snedden Hall & Gallop can assist you
You’re probably thinking there is a lot to do! We are here to help. We have vast experience in personal injury and specifically in motor vehicle accidents.
We can assist in identifying the insurer of the vehicle at fault, give you the forms that you need to complete and ensure they are correctly completed. In addition, we can make sure that your forms are lodged in time.
Please contact us regarding your motor vehicle accident claim in Canberra as soon as you can on (02) 6285 8000 or by email. You can see details of our compensation representation here.