The holiday season means the roads are busy and nerves can be frayed, everyone just wants to get where they are going. Unfortunately, car accidents on the highway are not uncommon at this time of year. In most cases, people will do the right thing and stop to ensure everyone is safe and unharmed and then exchange details. What happens though when the other drives off and you become the victim of a hit and run?
The rules around car accidents
If you’re involved in a car accident by law you must stop and make sure that everyone involved is OK. You also must exchange details with any other drivers, any injured passengers or the owners of any damaged property. A failure to stop and do so is considered to be a ‘hit and run’ and can result in heavy fines or even imprisonment. It also turns an accident into a crime, which means that the person failing to stop may not be able to claim insurance.
What should you do if someone commits a hit and run?
If you’re hit by another the car the first thing you should do is pull over in a safe place. Check that you and your passengers are safe. If there has been a serious injury ambulance and police should be called straight away. If the other car doesn’t stop, you should try to write down any potential identifying features, such as:
- the licence plate number
- the make, model and colour of the car
- a description of who was driving the car or passengers (if possible)
- if it’s safe to do so, take some pictures of where the accident occurred and damage to your car
- if no-one in your vehicle has been seriously hurt, you should report the accident to police within 24 hours giving as many details as possible to them.
What if I’ve been injured in a hit and run accident?
In normal circumstances when you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident you can make a claim against the driver-at-fault’s compulsory third party insurance policy. If the driver fails to stop, but you manage to get the details of their registration plate, you can contact the insurance commission in your state who will provide you with the details of that person’s compulsory third party insurer, so you are able to submit a claim.
If you’ve been injured and you’re unable to identify the driver in a hit and run accident you are still able to claim under the nominal defendant scheme. The scheme has been specifically devised to ensure that people who are injured by an unknown vehicle can still have access to compensation. The scheme varies between states and territories, but it essentially allows you to access compensation from insurance when you’ve been injured and you can’t identify the driver at fault. Seeking legal advice from an expert motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Remember your safety is always the most important thing, so don’t take any risks to identify or chase the other driver in a hit and run accident.
Contact Shine Lawyers
It can be confusing to know what to do when you’ve been involved in an accident, but if you believe you’ve sustained an injury for which you should receive compensation, Shine Lawyers are here to help. Our lawyers are experts in motor vehicle accident law and work on a 'no win, no fee' basis.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: December 11, 2019.