Can A Car Passenger Claim Compensation After An Accident?

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Passengers who have suffered personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident in Cairns can claim compensation from the compulsory third party (CTP) insurer of any driver involved in an accident. This includes the driver of the car you were in. 

What do I have to prove?

The CTP scheme is fault-based, which means you will need to prove that the ‘at fault’ driver was negligent and caused your injuries. As a civil claim, you need to be able to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the driver was at fault. If both drivers are at fault (total or partial), then you can sue both drivers for damages.

Can I be sued?

As a passenger, you cannot be found at fault for the accident. For example, you might be talking with the driver of the car you were in. The driver might have decided to turn away from the road to look at you while you were talking. Only the driver is liable as it was their decision.

What impacts on my compensation?

While you cannot be at fault for an accident, there are situations which may prevent you from receiving full compensation. These are ‘comparative fault’ situations, which are where you knew and accepted a risk that ended up resulting in you being injured. For example, you get into a car knowing that the driver has had too many drinks to drive. In these circumstances, insurance companies and courts can reduce your compensation because you are treated as having taken on the risk.

What if the ‘at fault’ driver is a family member or friend?

Often the driver at fault is a close friend or family member. Some people are concerned that, if they make a claim, they will leave that person out of pocket or that they will have to drag them through court proceedings to prove that they were ‘at fault’. 

However, the claim is made against the CTP insurer, not the driver themselves. As such, the claims process, compensation paid to you and any legal costs are all covered by CTP insurance.

The ‘at fault’ driver will not actively be drawn into the claims process or otherwise negatively impacted by your claim.

Will the ‘at fault’ driver’s premiums go up if I make a claim?

The ‘at fault’ driver’s CTP insurance premium will not be affected if you make a claim. CTP insurance in Queensland is covered in the cost of the vehicle registration, so the premium will not increase if a claim is made.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and would like more information on your right to compensation and the exact amounts you may be entitled to, please call Tim or Meegan to arrange an obligation free initial consultation.