Car accidents are unexpected and regardless of the severity, they can rattle the best of us. Getting the details of the parties involved is important for insurance and legal claims but can be difficult or not a priority if people have been injured.
It may slip your mind to get the contact information of eyewitnesses, or sometimes people just outright refuse to give you their insurance details after a car accident. What are your legal obligations to provide your details after a crash, and what can you do if you didn’t get the necessary details of other parties?
Details that you need to collect after a car accident include:
- Other driver/s details
- Date and time
- Driver’s phone number
- Driver’s vehicle registration
- Driver’s name
- Driver’s Insurer
- Driver’s address
- Driver’s vehicle make and model
We have created a handy downloadable list to keep in your car in case of an accident that helps you to easily document the essential information. You can find it here.
Is it a legal requirement to provide insurance details after an accident?
In short; yes, you should provide relevant contact and insurance details in the event of an accident on the road. At times Police or emergency services will need to attend, so they too need to be alerted when serious accidents occur. After a car accident you must follow these steps:
Stop at the scene of the accident. It is not only common courtesy to do this, but you should also check that no one is seriously injured and requires medical treatment.
Information you must exchange:
- your name
- your address (and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle)
- the vehicle’s registration and any other information necessary to identify the vehicle to any other driver involved, to anyone injured in the accident or anyone whose property has been damaged, and to any police officer who is present.
In South Australia and Western Australia, you will need to make a police report within 24 hours if there is damage in excess of $3000.
For the other states, you generally will need to make a police report within 24 hours if:
- A person was killed or injured
- A driver did not stop and give their details to the other driver(s)
- A vehicle was towed away after the accident
- The owner of any damaged property is not present
In South Australia, if a person was killed or injured then you will need to make a police report within 90 minutes of the accident.
How do I get insurance details after an accident?
The best way to get the necessary details is to ask at the scene of the accident. There may be times when this is not possible due to the varying severity of the injuries, or at times people outright refuse to give out their details. If this is the case you should gather what information you can, including a description of the other car and most importantly the number plate details, then call Police Link and report the accident. If there is an emergency, you should always call 000.
Types of car insurance cover in Australia
In Australia there are four types of car insurance that you can obtain for your vehicles. These include:
- Compulsory Third Party (CTP)/mandatory motor vehicle accident personal injuries insurance: required by each state and territory. This form of insurance protects any person that you might injure while you are driving a vehicle, including pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, however, it only covers injuries and not property damage
- Comprehensive: covers damage to your own vehicle and other people’s property, as well as theft and some other scenarios.
- Third Party Property: covers damage to other people’s property, but not damage to your own vehicle.
- Third Party Fire and Theft: Third Party Property with some add-on features that cover your vehicle.
Each state and territory has a mandatory motor vehicle accident personal injury insurance scheme. In some states it’s known as Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP). In New South Wales it is called a Green Slip. In Victoria it’s the Transport Accident Charge (TAC). All Compulsory Third Party insurances are connected with your vehicle registration process in each state and territory, meaning you can’t register a vehicle without this included.
Can I still claim for personal injury compensation if no insurance details are exchanged?
Yes, you can still make a claim. Given that it is illegal not to have CTP insurance, the instances of the other party not being insured should be relatively small.
If you are driving without a valid registration and CTP insurance cover you could be liable for large fines for breaking the law, and all costs would be from your own pocket to cover any damages or injury to others.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 19, 2021.