The main victims of hit and run accidents on New South Wales roads are pedestrians.
The Motor Accidents Authority of New South Wales treats pedestrians as a high priority group of road users with people over the age of 60 accounting for 23% of pedestrian motor accident compensation claims.
According to the Motor Accidents Authority the average claim cost of a pedestrian compensation claim is approximately $118,000 compared to an average claim cost of $66,000 for motor vehicle passengers.
In addition, pedestrians injured in motor accidents have a high incidence of brain injury with the average claim cost for these types of injuries $650,000. Pedestrians injured in motor vehicle accidents also suffer an increased number of lower and upper limb fractures and concussions.
Pedestrians and other road users injured in a hit and run accident have access to motor accidents compensation even if the driver of the vehicle that caused the injury cannot be located.
Due Search and Inquiry
It is extremely important in hit and run accidents that the person who is injured makes due search and inquiry to attempt to locate the driver of the vehicle that caused the injury.
The importance of due search and inquiry was highlighted in a recent case before the Supreme Court of Appeal. In this case the victim, a pedestrian, was hit by a car when crossing the road. The pedestrian spoke to the driver of the vehicle however he did not write down the details of the vehicle or the driver before leaving the scene. The pedestrian reported the accident to the police a few days later and attempted to find witnesses who had seen the accident. Unfortunately, none of the witnesses who had seen the accident could recall the registration details of the vehicle involved.
The pedestrian made a claim against the Nominal Defendant and was awarded over $400,000 in compensation. However, the Nominal Defendant appealed the decision on the basis that the pedestrian had not made due search and inquiry to locate the driver of the motor vehicle on account of his failure to take down the driver or vehicle's details before leaving the scene of the accident.
The Nominal Defendant was successful in the appeal and the original decision awarding the pedestrian compensation was overturned leaving the pedestrian with no compensation and an order to pay the legal costs of the Nominal Defendant.
This case highlights the need to ensure that you satisfy the requirement to make due search and inquiry to locate the driver of the motor vehicle as a failure to satisfy this requirement can lead to the rejection of your compensation claim.
Making a motor accident compensation claim
There are two types of claims that can be made depending on the severity of your personal injury. The first claim is an initial claim for the payment of your early medical expenses and any loss of earning incurred as a result of the accident. The maximum amount of early compensation available is $5,000. The purpose of this claim is to assist in the initial costs caused by your injury and is generally followed by the lodgement of a Personal Injury Claim Form under which a wider range of compensation is available.
The Personal Injury Claim Form must be lodged with the Nominal Defendant within 6 months of the date of the accident. The compensation available for your motor vehicle accident includes:
(a) Payment of your reasonable medical and rehabilitation expenses;
(b) Lump sum compensation for any past loss of earnings as a result of your injury;
(c) Lump sum compensation for any future loss of earnings as a result of your injury including loss of superannuation entitlements; and
(d) Lump sum compensation for non-economic loss (often referred to as pain and suffering) if your injury has resulted in a whole person impairment of more than 10%.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident you need to make sure that your claim for personal injury compensation is handled by someone who has extensive experience in this area of the law. Steve Walker, the founder of Walker Law Group, is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law and knows how to stand up and fight insurance companies. All compensation claims handled by Steve are based on a 'no win no fee' policy which means you will never be out of pocket.