Attwood Marshall Lawyers are fielding an increase in enquiries related to serious motor vehicle accidents on Queensland and Northern New South Wales roads, with injured victims sharing their frustration over the negligent and careless driving of other motorists, particularly on those often, unmarked roads in rural areas. A New South Wales motorist shares her story with Attwood Marshall Lawyers Compensation Law Senior Associate Tina Davis.
Duranbah resident urges road users to take more care
An injured motorist who was involved in a terrifying road accident on 14 September 2022 in Duranbah, Northern New South Wales, shared her story and is urging road users to abide by the road rules and take greater care when driving. She is also concerned that rural roads are often unmarked and that drivers still need to be keeping as near to the left-hand side of the road which gives a buffer against oncoming vehicles.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers were contacted by the injured motorist who was on her way home when an oncoming vehicle veered onto her side of the road, causing a collision with the driver’s side, which effectively spun the car out of control in a violent fashion. The airbags in the victim’s vehicle deployed, and smoke then started spreading through the cabin of the vehicle as the car had caught on fire.
The driver was temporarily trapped in the vehicle unable to exit via the driver’s side. She had to find her way out of the vehicle through the smoke by climbing over the console and escaping out the passenger side door. The driver suffered physical injuries due to the accident and unsurprisingly severe trauma, however, is grateful that she was able to get out of the vehicle before it became totally engulfed in flames.
The message is not getting through – stop taking risks
The victim of this horrific accident is not alone in what she has recently suffered. Stories of serious motor vehicle accidents across the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales continue to be frequently reported. You only need to take a look at news headlines over the past few months to see what horrific crashes have taken place.
- Gold Coast crash that closed M1 highway under investigation as dashcam footage emerges
- Teens charged after crashing stolen car into cop van on M1
- Woman dies following multi-car crash south of Murwillumbah
Most car accidents can be avoided, with approximately 90 per cent of all crashes being a result of a driver making a preventable mistake such as becoming distracted by their mobile phone, driving fatigued, speeding, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Australian National Crash In-depth Study (ANCIS), a collaborative research program, has dived deeper into this issue to reveal that 15.6 per cent of crashes are distraction related. When conducting their survey, they uncovered that approximately half of drivers in Queensland admit to using their mobile phone while driving.
It is illegal in all Australian states and territories to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. That includes when your vehicle is stationary such as stopping at traffic lights.
Queensland rolled out an initiative in November 2021, introducing new mobile phone and seatbelt enforcement cameras to curb the trend of drivers taking unnecessary risks.
That equates to revenue raising of $500 every minute!
It seems that people are still not getting the message.
The Queensland Government will be expanding the number of mobile phone and seatbelt cameras in position over the next two years, which means if motorists don’t begin to change their behaviour, revenue will continue to skyrocket, as well as motor vehicle accidents.
Poor road markings are also known to contribute to crash rates. There have been a large number of studies and experiments undertaken that demonstrate that accident rates can be significantly reduced if road markings were maintained to safer standards.
When road markings are sub-standard, it is easy for drivers to veer into oncoming traffic and collide with other motorists.
Markings on all public roads are the responsibility of local governments. If you are aware of an unsafe situation where road markings are sub-par and are likely to cause a hazard, make sure you report it to your local council as soon as possible.
Careless driving – the consequences
When someone drives without due care, it is an offence which is punishable (in Queensland) by 6 months imprisonment and/or 40 penalty units ($4000).
In New South Wales, a negligent driver who has caused grievous bodily harm to another party can face 9 months imprisonment and $2200 for a first offence. Depending on the severity and factors of the case, the penalty can be more significant.
Penalties and sentences are determined by a magistrate or judge who will look at all the factors of the accident including how serious the negligence was, how the crime impacted the victims, any relevant circumstances of the offender and their criminal history, and if the offender co-operated with the police.
What to do if you are involved in a motor accident and you are not at fault
If you are involved in an accident and have suffered serious injuries, or the accident has created a hazardous environment for other road users, then 000 must be called.
If the accident is not an emergency situation however you suspect the driver at-fault was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if they failed or have refused to provide their details, or if the at-fault driver has an impairment or disability that requires police assistance, then Policelink (131 444) should be phoned at the earliest opportunity to report the incident.
If Police do not need to attend the scene, exchange information with any other persons involved in the accident and arrange for a tow truck to safely remove your vehicle from the road.
If in doubt whether you should report the accident to the Police, call the Policelink line to discuss.
Collect information about the accident including the at-fault vehicle’s registration, the name and licence details of other drivers or witnesses, insurance details of the at-fault driver, and if possible, take photographs or video footage of the crash.
If you were unable to identify the at-fault vehicle, try to collect information and details from any witnesses to the accident. If the accident happened in a location where there is CCTV footage you may be able to request this.
Immediately following the accident, get treatment for your injuries. It is often the case that people are in a state of shock after being involved in an accident and they downplay what they may be feeling or are running on adrenaline and do not realise the extent of their injuries.
It is always important to get checked by a doctor, either your General Practitioner or at the hospital, to make sure you fully understand your injuries and receive the treatment you need immediately.
The next step is to seek legal advice from a competent compensation lawyer to understand what your rights are and the steps to take to claim compensation for any injuries you have sustained. A lawyer will be able to protect your interests right from the start and guide you through the process to making a compensation claim. Strict time limitations apply when making a CTP claim, and the earlier you get your claim submitted and processed, the easier it will be for insurers and your lawyer to work out the details and determine what the claim is worth.
You will be required to complete a CTP Claim form which can be submitted electronically via the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) website. The process is straightforward and provides you a platform to upload all the necessary supporting documents and all information.
In order to make a CTP claim, you will need to obtain a medical certificate from your GP or medical specialist to accompany the claim form.
Compensation for CTP claims will be dependent on the unique facts of the case and usually includes an amount for general damages (pain and suffering), past and future medical expenses, loss of income, and in some cases, a claim for care and assistance.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers – helping injured motorists for over 75 years
As we head into the Christmas season, there is no greater time to remind all road users to take caution and avoid taking unnecessary risks.
The Christmas period is notorious for road fatalities and catastrophic accidents, with Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia recording the highest numbers of lives lost on their roads compared to any other state or territory.
We all have a role to play to reduce road fatalities and catastrophic injuries in 2022!
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and need advice and support to obtain the treatment you need, contact our friendly team by calling 1800 621 071. Our team have the state-specific knowledge and experience to help anyone who has suffered injuries on Queensland and New South Wales roads.
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