Motor Vehicle Accidents can and do occur frequently in Queensland. Thankfully most people involved in an accident respond respectfully, and are willing to stop to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, as well as to exchange the necessary personal and insurance information. Unfortunately, some people, whether out of fear of police action or self-protection, flee the scene of a motor vehicle accident. These instances are commonly referred to as ‘hit and run’ events.

Being the victim of a hit and run can be a harrowing ordeal. The initial shock of an accident can leave victims in a state of panic, in addition to dealing with any injuries resulting from the subject accident.

Can I still make a CTP claim as the victim of a hit and run?

In typical a CTP claim, a claim for damages is lodged against the relevant CTP insurer of the at-fault vehicle. The CTP claim proceeds against the at fault vehicle’s CTP insurer, and the insurer is the one who pays any potential rehabilitation expenses incurred by the claimant, as well as any compensatory damages. But what if the relevant CTP insurer is unknown? Thankfully, there are still options available in Queensland for people involved in a hit and run accidents.

In instances where the relevant insurer cannot be identified as the individual as fled the scene of the accident, a CTP claim can still be undertaken against the Nominal Defendant.

Who is the Nominal Defendant?

The Nominal Defendant is the Queensland State Government body which steps in to protect those injured in motor vehicle accidents involving unidentified or unregistered vehicles, allowing them to pursue a CTP claim.

In practice, the Nominal Defendant functions the same as any other CTP insurer during the claim process, and can assist with the funding of medical treatment, rehabilitation and payment of any damages claimed by the injured party.

Can I track down the person who hit me?

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, it is important to report the accident to the Queensland Police Service. This is relevant as to bring a claim against the Nominal Defendant, a claimant must first demonstrate that proper search and inquiry have been undertaken in an attempt to identify the at fault vehicle.

Other potential methods to track down the at-fault driver may include the acquisition of any nearby CCTV footage, reviewing dash-cam footage, social media posts asking for witnesses, and statements from witnesses who observed the subject accident.

What are the time limits to make a claim?

Strict time limits apply to all CTP claims in Queensland. The claimant must lodge the claim within nine months of the date of the accident, or within one month of contacting a solicitor, otherwise a reasonable excuse for delay must be provided.

In claims against the Nominal Defendant involving unidentified vehicles, the time limits are stricter. A claim must be lodged by the claimant within three months of the date of the accident. If this is not possible, the claimant must provide a reasonable excuse for delay. If no claim is lodged within nine months of the date of accident, then the claimant is statute barred from making a CTP claim. This means that the claimant cannot bring a claim.

What to do now?

If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to assist you in identifying the unknown at-fault driver and discharge your responsibility to undertake proper search and enquiry. Your lawyer will then assist you to protect your rights, this may include lodging a claim with the Nominal Defendant within the statutory time limit.