What do I do if the negligent driver in an ACT car accident disappears?

Published 12 Jul 2018

With dozens of car accidents happening on ACT roads every day, it’s rare to encounter a motor vehicle collision case which is easily resolved. One such occasion is when a vehicle causes an accident which injures you – but then disappears immediately afterwards. If this happens, how do you claim for compensation when you have no idea who the driver is or what their insurance and vehicle registration details are?

Luckily, there’s a system for covering this type of incident. Let’s take a look at what you can do if the negligent driver in a car accident disappears.

What should you do immediately after a car accident in ACT?
Legal Aid ACT identifies three key steps you need to take immediately after a car crash:

  • You should stop your vehicle, and beckon other vehicles involved to stop too.
  • Determine if anyone in your vehicle is injured and call emergency services immediately if so.
  • Try to identify the vehicle number and marque of who you think the guilty party is.

These are the steps you must take to prove you’ve handled the situation safely and in compliance with ACT laws. If the other driver disappears, either because they aren’t aware they’ve caused an accident or because they’re fleeing the scene, don’t pursue them. This is dangerous if your car is damaged and it can also jeopardise your chances of receiving compensation.

In the event the guilty driver cannot be found, victims are able to claim for damages from the ACT Nominal Defendant fund to cover their expenses.

What is the Nominal Defendant fund?
This was set up to cover drivers in the event the negligent driver in a car accident cannot be found. Funded by levies on state CTP insurers and the ACT Government, it ensures all victims of car accidents have the chance to claim fair compensation for injuries sustained and damages caused.

How do I claim from the Nominal Defendant fund?
In order to claim for provision, you need to take every step to locate the vehicle and owner, as well as prove that your injuries were sustained due to the negligence of the guilty driver.

The first part requires you to:

  • Identify details about the accident at the time that may help with locating the vehicle, such as a licence plate number, car model or appearance of the driver.
  • Speak to crash witnesses to see what information they recall.
  • If needed, advertise online or in the newspaper for the guilty driver or people present at the time of the accident to come forward to help you with your negligence claim.

The second statement means you need to be able to prove that your injuries or vehicle damage was due to the negligent actions of the guilty driver. You should keep all medical and car repair receipts to accurately demonstrate the total expense of the accident.

For more information about claiming for car accident compensation in the ACT, contact Gerard Malouf & Partners today.