For a motorcycle crash claim in Queensland, these are the most frequently asked questions, explains Compensation Lawyer, Jeremy Roche.
Motorcycle crash claims in Queensland are often complex. Because motorcycle riders are not afforded the same physical protection as drivers of cars, vans or trucks, motorcyclists involved in road accidents often suffer serious consequences such as catastrophic injury or death. In Queensland, motorcyclist fatality rates are almost 30 times higher than fatality rates of drivers of other vehicles.
Surprisingly, 75% of those fatalities involve men over the age of 40, dispelling the notion that young males or learner motorcyclists are most at risk.
When a motorcyclist is fortunate enough to escape an accident with their life, they will frequently suffer a range of physical injuries (often including a head injury) as well as psychological symptoms from the trauma of the accident.
Even minor motorcycle accidents can cause injuries that necessitate time off work, medical treatment costs, and out of pocket expenses. Motorcyclists can claim compensation for their injuries and losses if another party is at fault for the accident.
If you are a motorcyclist injured in an accident, you can claim compensation from the CTP insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident (eg if another vehicle crashed into you, ran you off the road, failed to give way, or similar).
If the driver of vehicle that caused the accident fled the scene (or is unable to be identified), you may still be able to make a claim against the Nominal Defendant which often stands in the place of the CTP insurer in those circumstances.
At Attwood Marshall Lawyers, we act for an increasing number of motorcyclists in claims for compensation for injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents.
A significant number of our motorcyclist claims involve injuries that are catastrophic (ie. severe injury, amputation, quadriplegia, or death), although those with even minor injuries are entitled to claim.
Motorcyclists can claim compensation for their losses suffered as a result of their injuries (ie. general damages, past and future treatment costs, past and future care and assistance requirements, past and future income loss/economic loss, etc).
Generally speaking, the compensation is payable by the CTP Insurer (or Nominal Defendant) in one lump sum to the injured claimant.
In the case of a road fatality, Attwood Marshall Lawyers assist the families of the deceased to make “dependency” compensation claims (and in some cases, claims for nervous shock).
Frequently Asked Questions about a motorcycle crash claim in Qld
Q: What should I do immediately after a motorcycle accident?
Look after your safety first. Move off the road (including moving your vehicle if it safe to do so). Allow treatment providers (eg. ambulance officers) to provide you with first aid. If an ambulance has not been called and you require assistance, call an ambulance or ask a witness or passerby to call one for you.
Call the police (if they have not attended the accident already) to formally report the details of the accident.
Obtain the registration number of the vehicle at fault, and the identity and contact details of the driver at fault;
Obtain the identity and contact details of any available witnesses.
If possible, take photos of the damaged vehicles, the defendant driver and/or their vehicle, and accident scene (or ask someone to do that for you).
Go to the hospital (or at least to your GP) to obtain treatment. Often injured people are in shock following an accident and neglect to obtain the treatment they require immediately after the accident – only to have to attend hospital or the GP the next day when their pain proves severe and the initial shock starts to wear off.
Once you have obtained treatment for your injuries, contact us on 1800 621 071 for some early legal advice as to your rights to make a compensation claim.
Q: Are there any Time Limits applicable to a motorcycle crash claim in Qld?
A Notice of Accident Claim Form (and a CTP Medical Certificate completed by your GP) must be served on the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault within nine (9) months of the date of accident, or within one (1) month of consulting a lawyer (whichever is the earlier).
In circumstances where the vehicle at fault is unidentified or unregistered, a Notice of Accident Claim Form must be served on the Nominal Defendant within three (3) months of the accident, or a reasonable excuse for delay is required.
If the claim form is not served on the Nominal Defendant within nine (9) months of the date of accident, the compensation claim becomes statute-barred and you will no longer be able to make a claim.
Additionally, there is a three year time limitation which means that court proceedings must be filed within three years from the date of accident (or within 3 years from the 18th birthday of any claim under 18 years of age) or the claim is likely to be statute barred.
Strict time limits apply, so the earlier you contact a lawyer the better.
Q: What if I am injured as a pillion passenger in a motorcycle crash claim in Qld?
Often it is the pillion passenger on the motorcycle is the injured party that is able to make a claim against the rider of the same motorcycle in causing a single vehicle motorcycle accident.
It is important to remember that the rider of the motorcycle is not personally liable as their CTP insurer is the entity that will respond to the compensation claim on the rider’s behalf.
Frequently pillion passengers suffer serious injuries as they often fly off the motorcycle due to braking, evasive manoeuvres, a T-bone type accident, or similar
Q: What if I suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by myself?
Generally speaking, an injured motorcyclist will only be able to claim compensation if another party is at fault in causing the accident.
However, if a motorcyclist’s injuries are considered to be “catastrophic” then the motorcyclist may be able to claim compensation regardless of who caused the accident through the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).
Such claims are generally restricted to “catastrophic” injuries such as traumatic brain injury, serious spinal cord injuries, and similar.
Q: What happens if a motorcyclist is killed in an accident caused by another?
In cases of road fatalities caused by another, we assist the families of the deceased to make “dependency” claims where the dependants of the deceased can claim compensation for financial losses and loss of services (ie domestic services) suffered by the dependants as a result of the accident.
The claim is for the dependants’ reasonable expectation of benefit from the deceased had the deceased not passed away, as per Nguyen v Nguyen (1990) 169 CLR 245.
Dependants are generally defined (with wide scope) as a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased, as per the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld), s62.
A claim on behalf of the dependants is made in the same (ie single) claim as opposed to making separate claims for each dependant, as per the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld), s65.
Any amount awarded is then divided between the claimants in proportions as directed by the court, as per Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld), s65(5)
In some cases, we assist claimants to claim compensation for nervous shock – which is a claim for psychiatric injury suffered as a consequence of the accident despite the claimant not being in the accident themselves.
Q: What if I am injured in a motorcycle accident going to or from work?
If you are injured in a motorbike accident going to or from work, you may have access to a CTP compensation claim (in another party was at fault) in addition to being able to claim workers compensation statutory benefits (eg weekly payments, medical treatment etc) from the workers compensation insurer (eg Workcover Queensland).