Car Accidents

 

Towing and Storage after a Motor Vehicle Accident

 

If your vehicle requires towing after a motor vehicle accident it is important to understand your rights and obligations to ensure that you are not left in a position where you owe a tow operator hundreds or even thousands of dollars and cannot retrieve your vehicle until payment is made.

 

In Queensland there is the Tow Truck Regulation Scheme which covers most of the State. Tow truck operators that tow vehicles after accidents are governed by the Tow Truck Act and Tow Truck Regulation. The vehicle as well as the operator and any assistants must be licensed. The scheme does not regulate vehicle breakdown towing, trade towing or towing from private property.

 

A licensed tow truck must have markings on both sides of the tow truck that display the:

  • name, business address and telephone number of the licence or towing permit holder
  • classification of the tow truck
  • licence or permit number of the tow truck
  • Tow Truck Number.

 

After an accident occurs if your vehicle is unable to be driven away and requires a tow then you or an authorised officer (ie a Police Officer) must give permission for your vehicle to be towed by the operator. The vehicle must be towed to the nearest holding yard available to the operator by the most direct route or to the Police station, if directed to by Police.

 

The owner of the vehicle will be liable for the payment of the towing charge even in an instance where the vehicle was towed under the authority of another person, like a Police officer. There is a maximum regulated amount that can be charged for a tow which is currently $304.10 for the first 50km and$6.05 for every km thereafter. This amount includes up to 60 minutes working time at the scene of the accident (preparing the vehicle for towing and cleaning up the scene) and up to 72 hours storage of the vehicle at a holding yard. A towing operator cannot charge you or your agent (ie an Insurance / Loss Assessor) to inspect your vehicle during business hours. While a tow operator must keep the personal property in your vehicle in safe custody, we recommend that any valuables or other personal possessions be removed from your vehicle before it is towed from the incident scene, if it is practicable to do so.

 

If after 72 hours you have not collected the vehicle hefty storage fees will likely apply. In our experience these storage fees can be anywhere from $44 to $60 per day. Delay in collecting your vehicle or arranging your insurance claim will only add to your towing and storage expense. We recommend that as soon as practicable after the vehicle has been towed you, or someone acting on your behalf contact the tow yard

 

If you do not hold comprehensive insurance you will need to arrange for repair of salvage of the vehicle yourself. This will mean that you need to have the vehicle independently assessed as soon as possible. To help you with pursuing the other driver for the damage to your vehicle we have prepared two information packs depending on whether your accident occurred in Queensland or New South Wales. You will find these documents HERE along with some helpful links to the necessary forms etc.

 

We are here to help if you require assistance pursuing the other driver or their insurer. We are expert car accident lawyers who can help you recover monies owed to you from the at fault driver. You can contact us on 1800 007 277 for an obligation free assessment of your motor vehicle property damage claim.

 

Compulsory Third Party Insurance (or CTP Insurance) covers the driver of a vehicle who is at fault in a motor vehicle accident for injury that is sustained by either their passengers or other road users.  CTP Insurance is included as a compulsory component of your vehicle registration. While it is compulsory to hold insurance you do have a choice of Insurer. There may be advantages to you depending on your personal situation and while CTP Insurers cannot offer a discount on CTP Insurance, they can provide discounts on other products they offer (i.e. comprehensive insurance policies or roadside assistance).

 

Currently, the Licensed CTP Insurers in Queensland are:-

  • AAI Limited (trading as Suncorp)
  • Allianz Australia Insurance Limited
  • Insurance Australia Limited (trading as NRMA)
  • QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited
  • RACQ Insurance Limited

 

Until recently AAMI was also a CTP Insurer in Queensland, however all AAMI and Suncorp policies were transferred to a related company, AAI Limited. If you held a CTP policy and are interested in what the changes mean for you we recommend visiting the Motor Accident Insurance Commission website at: http://www.maic.qld.gov.au/ctp-premium/insurer-changes-effective-2013-07-01.shtml

 

CTP Insurance does not cover you for damage to property as a result of an accident for which you are the at-fault driver, nor does it cover you for damage to your vehicle if someone else is at fault for the accident. Insurers refer to this type of cover as Comprehensive Insurance.

 

We can assist you in making a CTP claim for compensation when you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. If you would like to discuss your claim you can submit and online enquiry or contact us on 1800 007 277 for an obligation free enquiry.

If you have been injured there are very strict time frames in which you must act to protect your right to compensation. We have put together a brief guide to help you understand the time frames associated with personal injury claims when the injury occurs in Queensland. There are exceptions to the time limits detailed below, in particular in relation to people who were under the age of eighteen (18) at the time the injury occurred. We suggest you seek legal advice about your personal circumstances so you can be sure whether your claim can proceed.

 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

From the date of the accident you have three (3) years to commence Court proceedings otherwise you will be barred by legislation from obtaining compensation. However, there are many steps that need to be taken before a claim proceeds to Court so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

If the other vehicle is insured then a Notice of Accident Claim Form must be lodged either within nine (9) months of the accident or one (1) month from your first consultation with a lawyer, whichever is earliest.  A claim can be commenced outside this time frame but a reasonable excuse for delay must be provided to the Insurer. You can discuss this delay with your solicitor who will be able to assist you in this regard.

If you cannot identify the other vehicle or it was not registered/insured at the time of the accident then your claim will proceed against the Nominal Defendant. The Nominal Defendant is a statutory body set up to compensate injured people when an Insurer is not in place to do so. All claims against the Nominal Defendant must be lodged within nine (9) months of the date of accident. If a Notice of Accident Claim Form is not lodged within three (3) months of the date of accident a reasonable excuse for delay must be given.

  

Workplace Accidents

 If you are injured at work you must lodge a claim within six (6) months of the date of injury. A claim lodged after six (6) months will only be accepted where it can be shown that there was a mistake, you were absent from the State or have another reasonable cause. A personal injury lawyer will be able to assist you to determine if any delay would be considered reasonable.

Ultimately, to be entitled to compensation arising from an injury that occurred at work, Court proceedings must be commenced within three (3) years of the date of injury otherwise you will be barred by legislation. However, there are many steps that need to be taken before a claim proceeds to Court so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

 

Public Liability and Other Accidents

 If you are injured in an incident that occurs at a public or private place or by a medical facility or health care professional you may be entitled to compensation. The time limit for commencing proceedings in Court is three (3) years from the date of the incident.

A Notice of Claim Form must be served on the other party either within 9 months of the date of the incident (or from the first appearance of symptoms) or within 1 month following your first consultation with a lawyer. A claim can be commenced outside this time-frame if a reasonable excuse for delay can be established. We suggest that you consult a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and confirm your ability to make a claim for compensation.

 

Please contact us if you wish to discuss a claim or any issue concerning compensation that you may be entitled to receive. We can be contacted on our freecall number 1800 007 277.

Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are a common occurrence. Our clients often have incredible stories to tell about the accident that caused their injuries however a description of an accident never seems as powerful as witnessing one first-hand.

 

Recently in Cornubia, a suburb in Logan City south of Brisbane, there was an incident which escalated to extreme road rage with multiple collisions between two vehicles. The truly incredible thing is that the terrifying ordeal was captured on a dashboard camera. Today Tonight covered the story and also aired the footage from the in-car camera. The segment can be viewed below:

 

Youtube – Unbelievable road rage attack

 

We were blown away by this extreme incident and the complete lack of regard shown for other road users. It was just so incredible that we have to wonder if anyone would have believed the gentleman who spoke to Today Tonight if he had not captured the footage for everyone to see. It got us thinking about dashboard cameras and whether it is worth having one in your vehicle. A simple search on Google gives you numerous results for cameras being marketed as “crash cams” available for as little as $68. While we can see that they could be useful in explaining some of the circumstances of an accident they don’t give a complete picture of any incident and there can still be a lot that happens off-camera that would need to be known to explain how an accident occurred and determine who was at fault. It certainly is a use of technology that we would not have imagined years ago and wonder if in the future all of our clients will not only be able to give us details of witnesses to an accident, but video footage as well.

 

Police are appealing for witnesses to this incident and have asked that anyone who can assist to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or PoliceLink on 131 444. The incident occurred on Beenleigh-Redland Bay Rd at Cornubia on Saturday the 15th of December at around 1.15pm.

Car accidents are almost always events that cause trauma to a person in one way or another – whether it is emotionally, financially or physically.

 

Whilst financial damage can be difficult to deal with in the short term, it’s the emotional and physical damage that often stays with us long after the accident has passed.

 

There are many injuries that can occur as a result of a car accident but it’s the little ones that tend to be overlooked that we carry through our lives – fortunately however, with the proper care shortly after the accident has occurred, these less severe injuries (severe bruising) can often fade along with the memory of the unfortunate event.

 

Here are our top tips on rehabilitation following a car accident:

-        Seek the advice of your GP. It’s of vital importance to pay a visit to your GP very soon following your involvement in an accident – whether you know you’ve been injured or not. Your GP may be able to tell you if you have some underlying injuries that may not have surfaced yet.

 

-        Seek the attention of a physical therapist as soon after the accident as you can. They will help to identify potential injuries you may have overlooked and deal with them before they become an issue. Remember that the longer you delay treatment, the harder it can become to get back to normal

 

-        Get some massage therapy. No longer just a tool for relaxation, massage therapy can not only assist in aiding a speedy recover from your injuries, it also clears the lymphatic system of toxins stored as a result of trauma. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone – you’re receiving healing literally for both body & mind.

 

-        Seek the attention of a Psychologist or Counsellor. Never underestimate the power the mind has over the body.  If your injury is more severe (think broken bones/internal damage) the emotional scars can significantly delay the physical recovery. By seeking emotional therapy, one is often able to move past the event with relative ease in their own mind, leaving them free to focus on healing the physical body.

 

Car accidents can leave you feeling lost in limbo but if you are able to receive the proper care soon after the accident has occurred, more often than not, you will be able to go on living the full life you once led.

 

If you need help with claiming for personal injuries after an accident, Sinnamon Lawyers is always here to help. Call us on 1800 007 277 or contact us through our website.

It’s important to know what to do in any emergency situation (particularly one with legal implications) but too often, it’s difficult to understand what your rights & obligations actually are.

 

We’ve tried to simplify this and put it in layman’s terms for you in our “What you need to know” series which kicks off with Motor Vehicle Accidents.

 

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are a few things you need to do at the scene of the accident whether the accident was your fault or not:

  1. Stop immediately even if the accident seems minor
  2. Assist where if someone has been injured to the best of your capabilities (calling an ambulance if you are able should be your first step)
  3. Call the police if any injury or death has occurred
  4. Exchange details if any damage or injury has occurred. You’ll need to exchange your name, address, car registration number (and the address of the person who owns the car if it isn’t you)

 

Once you leave the scene of the accident, there are a few more things you’ll have to do:

  1. Report the accident to the police (this must be done within 24 hours if you are physically able)
  2. Report the incident (along with the event number from the police) to your insurer, if you have one, and file a claim form
  3. If you are not insured and the accident was not your fault, you may try to claim for damages from the other drivers insurance
  4. If you suffered an injury and were not at fault, you may be able to claim compensation from the other drivers insurance. Please note that strict time limits may apply.

 

Some useful phone numbers:

  • QLD Police:   1300 365 635
  • QLD Ambulance:   000
  • Sinnamon Lawyers:   1800 007 277

 

We hope this has helped clarify things for you when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. Of course, this is a fairly complicated area of law and we recommend seeking professional advice when attempting to make claims. Sinnamon Lawyers specialise in motor vehicle accidents and are ready to help you.

There is some very important information that you need to collect, following an accident. That information includes the following:

 

  • Details of the time and place of the accident
  • Details of the vehicles involved
  • Details of all persons involved in the incident
  • Details of the medical practitioner or hospital you consulted following the accident
  • Details of any Police involvement at the scene of the accident or following the accident

 

With this and some other information you are able to provide notification to the compulsory third party insurer of your claim and begin the process of claiming damages for you.

Claiming for Damages

You are able to claim damages including;

  • General damages, being an amount for pain and suffering, your past and future medical expenses,
  • Any lost income you have incurred, and potentially an amount for future economic loss to compensate you for the fact that your ability to work in the future may have been put at risk.

 

Many people are unaware of their right to claim future economic loss. We would encourage you to educate yourself on the facts should you be involved in a car accident. Visit the section of our website about compensation claims from motor vehicle accidents and feel free to contact us for an obligation free consultation about your claim.

 

Steps

 

Slow down. Speeding continues to be one of the major killers on Queensland roads. During 2011 there were 48 fatalities as a result of speed-related crashes – representing 17.8 per cent of Queensland’s road toll.

 

Speeding is defined as driving at a speed over the posted speed limit or at a speed that is inappropriate given the driving conditions (for example rain, fog, traffic volume, traffic flow and so on).

 

Speeding is dangerous. It is not safe to speed in any circumstance, regardless of how experienced a driver you are, how good your car is, or whether you are driving on busy city streets or open country roads. Speeding increases stopping distances and your risk of a crash.

 

The potential consequences of speeding are just not worth the risk, and include:

 

  • killing or injuring yourself, loved ones or other innocent road users in a crash
  • paying for fines and car repairs
  • losing points or your licence.

 

Speed limits are set and enforced for a reason – to save lives and reduce crashes.

 

Let others pass you. Defensive driving means letting others go ahead-not defending your position in traffic. Avoid the urge to be a vigilante (“Oh yeah? Let me show you what it’s like to be cut off like that!”) Accept the fact that someone is always going to think they’re in more of a hurry than you. These are the drivers you want to move far away from, not to ‘teach them a lesson.’

 

Try to avoid driving in bad weather. Always keep your windshield wipers going in the rain. or snow. Turn on your headlights to help others to see you. If possible, try to avoid driving in heavy rain and storms at all. If you must go out , drive extra slow, use the brakes and gas pedal gently, and maintain an increased stopping distance.

 

Never get into a car with a drunk driver. It is always best to have a “designated driver”. Never drive after you have had alcoholic beverages. Even one beer can alter your ability to drive safely.

 

Wear a seatbelt. This is a must. By law in many countries, all cars must have a safety restraint. Buckling up only takes a second and can save your life in an accident. Children should always be in a booster seat or car seat until they are tall enough and heavy enough to sit by themselves. This generally includes children age seven and under. Never put a child in a car or booster seat in the front passenger seat or other seat with airbags. Children should generally be seven and older when sitting in the front passenger seat.

 

Keep your car and its accessories in good condition. Keep the tires properly inflated, the brakes adjusted, and the windshields and windows clean. Replace windshield wiper blades when they begin to streak, and all make sure all the lights are working properly.

 

Use your indicator properly. Always use your indicator, even if you think no one is there. When changing lanes on the motorway, don’t indicate as an afterthought or during the lane change. Indicate at least a couple of seconds in advance so others know what you’re going to do before you do it. (Ever notice how most of the skid marks along the highway are just before an exit ramp? – this is where you have to be the most careful.)

 

Don’t tailgate. No matter how slowly traffic is moving, keep at least two seconds of following distance between you and the car ahead. Any less and you won’t be able to stop in time if the driver ahead slams on the brakes.

 

Keep your eyes moving. Don’t get in the habit of staring at the back of the car ahead of you. Periodically shift your eyes to the side-view mirrors, the rear-view mirror, and ahead to where you’ll be in 10-15 seconds. Doing this, you can spot a potentially dangerous situation before it happens.

 

Dim your lights when driving at night, when another car is approaching, or when you are following behind a vehicle. Your lights can temporarily blind another driver.

 

Avoid distractions when you are driving. Pull over if you need to talk on the phone, read directions, or eat a snack. It only takes a second or two of distractions to get into trouble (more on this in a couple of weeks).

 

If you need help following an accident, contact Sinnamon Lawyers on 1800 007 277 to arrange an obligation free appointment or seek our expert advice about your legal position following an accident.

Thanks To Wikihow.com and Queensland Transport for this info. Great articles!

 

There are a lot of factors that can cause crashes — speeding, drink driving and fatigue to name a few. What many people don’t realise is that distracted drivers can be just as dangerous. You need to focus at all times when you’re behind the wheel.

Distracted drivers are a danger not only to themselves and their passengers but to other road users as well. It only takes a split second to lose your concentration. Some common distractions when driving are:

  • talking on your mobile phone
  • reading or sending a text on your mobile phone
  • changing your radio station or CD
  • attending to children in the backseat.

Talking or texting on a mobile phone while you’re driving is illegal. This applies to all drivers at all times, even when you’re stopped at traffic lights. If you’re caught it will cost you A$300 and three demerit points. There are further mobile phone restrictions for learners and P1 licence holders.

Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming distracted while you drive:

  • Turn off your mobile phone before you get in your car — that way you won’t be tempted to answer your phone.
  • If you can’t avoid having your mobile phone on, install a hands free kit — that way you can drive and talk on your phone more safely, but don’t forget to keep concentrating on driving.
  • If you have children with you in the backseat make sure they are securely restrained and have plenty of things to keep them occupied for the duration of the trip:
    • having a selection of toys to play with
    • playing games such as “I spy”
    • playing their favourite music
    • providing a range of healthy snacks and drinks (avoid milk-based products if your child is prone to car sickness).
  • Plan regular stops to beat fatigue and let the kids burn some energy (at least a fifteen minute break every two hours is recommended). If you do need to attend to your children during the trip, pull over and stop the vehicle before sorting out the situation.
  • If you’re listening to CDs choose your music before you start your trip. If you’re listening to the radio make sure the stations are tuned in before you set off so you aren’t searching for a station while you’re driving. If you need to change the music, stop your vehicle before you start playing with the buttons.

Check out the Queensland Transport Driver distractions campaign for some good insights into how quickly distractions occur and how quickly an accident can happen as a result.

If you need help following an accident, contact Sinnamon Lawyers on 1800 007 277 to arrange an obligation free appointment or seek our expert advice about your legal position following an accident.

Thanks to Queensland Transport for this great article!

 

What is a safety certificate? 

In November 1999, the safety certificate replaced the roadworthy certificate. A safety certificate covers basic things that could affect the safe operation of the vehicle, such as:

  • tyres
  • brakes
  • steering
  • suspension
  • body rust or damage
  • windscreen
  • lights.

 

The safety certificate is designed to offer buyers better protection and to ensure newly registered vehicles are safe. This means there will be fewer unsafe vehicles on Queensland roads, reducing the likelihood of crashes caused by defective vehicles.

 

What vehicles must have a safety certificate?

In Queensland you must obtain and display a safety certificate on any registered light vehicle from the moment you offer the vehicle for sale. It is also a requirement for unregistered second hand and registered interstate vehicles to obtain a safety certificate as part of the Queensland pre-registration process (unless exempt). Vehicles include cars, motorbikes, trailers (including caravans) with an aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of 0.751–3.50 tonnes (t) and any other vehicles up to 4.50 t gross vehicle mass (GVM).

 

When can vehicles be sold without a safety certificate?

The only time vehicles offered for sale do not require a certificate is when they are unregistered or when they are traded to, or between, licensed motor dealers. Vehicles can still be sold for parts or restoration, but they must be de-registered before being offered for sale.

 

When can vehicles be transferred without a safety certificate?

The acquirer of a Queensland registered vehicle does not need to produce a safety certificate if the disposer does not need to supply one at disposal based on an exemption, therefore the acquired does not need to produce one when submitting the transfer.

 

Some exemption situations may include:

  • Disposer is in an exempt area
  • To a beneficiary of a deceased estate
  • Between spouses, including separated spouses
  • Remote locations

 

The above is not an exhaustive list of exemptions, for more information phone the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80b for more information.

 

Who issues safety certificates?

Safety certificates can only be issued by approved inspection stations. These are service stations, garages or workshops which have been approved by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to conduct inspections. Please refer to the yellow pages for your local approved inspection station or phone the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80b.

 

Does this apply all over Queensland?

You need a safety certificate to sell used vehicles in most parts of Queensland. Some rural and remote areas are exempt. To find out if you are in an exempt area please phone the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80b for more information.

 

How long are safety certificates current for?

Make sure certificates are current.

For dealers, certificates are valid for three months or 1000 kilometres (whichever comes first) from the date of issue.

For private sellers, safety certificates may be used for one transfer of registration provided they are within the two months or 2000 kilometres limit, whichever comes first. A new safety certificate is required each time you sell the vehicle even if it is within the two months or 2000 kilometres. A single safety certificate cannot be used for two transfers.

For new registration, safety certificates are valid from the date of issue for two months or 2000 kilometres limit, whichever comes first. It may be used for one transfer only if still current after new registration.

 

Displaying safety certificates

Safety certificates must be displayed in a very obvious place, for example:

  • motorbike – front forks or guard
  • car – windscreen or window
  • trailer – draw-bar.

 

If you fail to display a safety certificate on the vehicle from the moment you offer it for sale you may receive an on-the-spot fine of A$500.

 

Vehicle registration transfer

Download a Vehicle Registration Transfer Application form (F3520).

 

If you need help following a motor vehicle accident, contact Sinnamon Lawyers on 1800 007 277 to arrange an obligation free appointment or seek our expert advice about your legal position following an accident.

 

Thanks to Queensland Transport for this information