In Queensland, the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 provides a compensation system for persons who are injured in motor vehicle accidents 

Common Law Motor Vehicle Accident Claim

All motor vehicle owners in Australia are required to take out a compulsory third-party (“CTP”) insurance against liability for the death or personal injury of others arising out of motor vehicle accidents.  

If a person suffers a personal injury as a result of the negligent driving of an unidentified or uninsured vehicle, a claim can be made against the Nominal Defendant. If the vehicle is uninsured, the accident must have occurred on a road or in a public place for the Nominal Defendant to be liable. 

Factors that will affect a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim

  • Severity of Injuries; 
  • Evidence and Documentation; and 
  • Contributory Negligence.  

Severity of Injuries

Following a motor vehicle accident, it’s important that a person seeks medical assistance to have their injuries accurately assessed. A key point in a claim will be determining the severity of the injuries. The level of compensation a person will receive is dependent on the severity of their injuries. 

During this time, it’s important for a claimant to liaise with their medical and treatment team regarding updates on their condition and gathering any medical reports, hospital discharge summaries, prescriptions and medical bills. If a person has sustained injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident, they may be eligible to claim for loss of quality of life such as pain and suffering (otherwise known as ‘general damages’). 

Under the Civil Liability Act 2003, general damages are assigned a point value between zero and 100. If a person is apportioned zero, they will not be awarded any damages for pain and suffering. If a person is apportioned 100, they will be awarded the maximum amount of damages for pain and suffering and the injury will be classed as severe. 

Depending on the severity of a person’s injuries, their claim may also include the cost of past and future treatment, rehabilitation and care. 

Evidence and Documentation

To successfully claim against another person for personal injury caused by a motor vehicle accident, a person must be able to show that the other person was at fault. The best way to ensure a claimant receives the most out of their claim for compensation is to gather the relevant evidence regarding the circumstances of the accident. Examples of this includes: 

  • Taking photographs and video footage of any and all vehicles involved, as well as the car accident scene;
  • Documenting the injured person’s version of events; 
  • Obtaining contact information of drivers and witnesses involved; 
  • Reporting the accident to the police; and 
  • Collecting any and all medical documents including medical reports, hospital discharge summaries, prescriptions and medical bills. 


If a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident and has suffered personal injuries as a result of the accident, their ability to return to work in their previous capacity may be impacted. If this is the case and the injured person is unable to work or is restricted at work, they can claim for a loss of earnings. To accurately estimate a person’s past and future loss of earnings, it’s important to gather the following documents: 

  • Tax records (income tax returns and notice of assessments) for the three years prior to the date of the accident; and 
  • Payslips and payment summaries evidencing the person’s earnings.

Contributory Negligence

A person can still claim compensation whether they are at fault or not. Nonetheless, in Queensland, reductions to compensation apply if a person’s own actions contributed partly or wholly to the accident. 

Examples of contributory negligence arising from a motor vehicle accident most commonly include, but are not limited to, a failure to wear a seatbelt, speeding, driving as an unlicensed driver, and intoxication. 

The Court decides on a percentage basis the portion each party shares in the blame for the accident. For example, a finding of 40% contributory negligence means 40% of the accident and resulting injuries are the fault of the Plaintiff. The balance of that proportion then remains with the Defendant. Obviously, if an injured person was 100% liable for an accident, the remaining portion is 0% and they are unable to recover damages.  

Time Limits

In Queensland, an injured person has three (3) years from the date of injury to commence proceedings in relation to a motor vehicle accident. It is only in exceptional circumstances that this time limitation can be extended.  

Emily Wright and our team are specialist personal injury lawyers who can assist you with your claim on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. If you would like advice in relation to a personal injury claim, including a medical negligence claim, please reach out to Emily Wright and Littles Lawyers today.