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If you are involved in a hit and run accident in WA, you may be able to claim compensation. This article is aimed to assist people intent to claim hit and run injury compensation in Western Australia.

What is considered a hit and run accident?

A hit and run accident refers to a situation where a car or pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, and the driver of that vehicle leave the scene of the accident without stopping to provide the other people involved in the accident with their identifying particulars such as their name, address, phone number, drivers licence number and registration number. The driver who leaves the scene of an accident is often referred to as the hit and run driver. Hit and run cases happen more in areas with low pass-through traffic or low visibility. The process to claim hit and run injury compensation is slightly different to other motor vehicle accident compensation claims.

What happens when someone hits your car and runs?

When someone hits your car and runs, you need to report the accident to the police. Depending on if bodily harm or property damage is involved, there are other additional steps to follow to comply with relevant legal obligations.

Bodily Harm / Personal Injury

In Western Australia, if someone is bodily harmed in a traffic collision, all the drivers involved are obligated to stop immediately. They are required to stop as long as necessary to comply with the obligations below (Road Traffic Act 1974, s54(1)).

  1. To ensure that each person who has suffered bodily harm receives all the assistance, including medical aid, that is necessary and practicable in the circumstances (Road Traffic Act 1974, s54(2));
  2. When it is requested by each person who has suffered bodily harm or a police officer, drivers involved need to give the driver’s name and address and, the name and address of a responsible person for the vehicle (Road Traffic Act 1974, s54(6));

Property Damage in Motor Vehicle Accident

In Western Australia, there is an obligation on drivers involved in a traffic collision in circumstances where property damage occurs:

  1. To stop immediately after the occurrence of the incident and for as long as is necessary to comply with the obligation below (Road Traffic Act 1974, s55(1));
  2. the driver must, if required to do so by a person whose property was damaged in the incident or a representative of that person or a police officer, give the driver’s name and address and, if known to the driver, the name and address of a responsible person for the vehicle (Road Traffic Act 1974, s55(4));

Disobeying the Road Traffic Act provisions above is a crime if the driver does not comply with these provisions. Steps should therefore be taken to stop and render assistance following a motor vehicle accident.

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What happens if you accidentally hit and run?

Hit and run accidents are usually quite noticeable but in a minority of cases, for example, in a trailer v motor vehicle accident collision, the accident may not be noticeable.

If the hit and run driver left the scene of an accident, the consequence could be a potential criminal sanction. If you have accidentally hit and run you should seek legal advice from a criminal lawyer.

What to do if a car hits you and runs?

If a car hits you and runs, you should report it to the police and seek medical treatment if you are hurt. It is relatively common to meet with clients who tell us that they have been involved in a hit and run accident. They do not know the name and identifying particulars of the person who hit them but have suffered personal injury and wish to make a CTP compensation claim for damages including economic loss, medical expenses and rehabilitation expenses.

Compulsory Third Party Insurance in WA

The Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943 contains provisions that allow a person who has suffered a personal injury to sue the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, as a nominal defendant for compulsory third party insurance damages if:

  1. The identity of the responsible vehicle cannot be ascertained (Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943, Section 7(3));
  2. The negligent driver of the insured vehicle responsible cannot be served with process (the document to commence legal proceedings) (Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943, Section 7(2));

No 1 above is usually used in a hit and run incident. As soon as practicable after the accident, the injured person needs to:

  • Make due search and inquiry to ascertain the identity of the vehicle; and
  • Contact the Insurance Commission of WA to give notice in writing of the claim and a short statement of the grounds thereof.

If you have made a motor vehicle accident claim in relation to a hit and run accident. It’s advisable to talk to a lawyer.

No Win, No Fee Lawyers

Under the No Win, No Fee arrangement, you won’t need to pay Foyle Legal’s Legal fees (the fees that we charge for the work we do on your claim), unless we get you a settlement amount.

Your lawyer will take you through this arrangement in more detail including any terms and conditions in your obligation free first initial consultation.

For quick information on our No Win, No Fee terms and disbursements, please visit our No Win No Fee Lawyers Page 

How long after a hit and run accident can you be charged?

If you hit another vehicle and run then you may be criminally liable. Advice should be sought from a criminal lawyer.

Is a hit and run considered an accident?

Yes, a hit and run is considered an accident. A hit and run accident is a type of accident that can give rise to a compulsory third party insurance claim in circumstances where the other vehicle involved is partially or totally at fault.

As we have pointed out above, a person involved in a hit and run accident should take a proactive approach to report the accident online or at a police station.

What happens if I don’t report a hit and run?

If you do not report the hit and run accident to the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, you may not be able to claim compensation. This is because they may be able to successfully argue that you have not complied with the provisions of the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943, Section 7(3).

If you have suffered a personal injury, you should report the accident to the police online through crashreport.com.au or through a police station. A person who has suffered a personal injury who wishes to make a claim should also advise the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, the CTP insurer, and fill out any forms required.

What should I do if someone hits me and runs?

If someone hits you and run, you should take photographs of the scene and speak with witnesses or obtain more information about how the accident occurred (i.e. asking them what they saw and heard). A note should also be made to identify witnesses, for example, gathering their name, address, email and telephone number.

Attempts to Identify the Hit and Run Driver

If you have made a claim for personal injuries then it is important to know that you bear the burden to prove your case. An injured person should also typically make enquires with:

  • The Police by filing an application for an Abridged Crash Report. They may have been able to work out the name and identifying particulars of the vehicle responsible and the liable driver; and
  • Through your damage insurer and the liable driver’s insurer (where relevant) to obtain more details as to the information that they have.

The above enquiries should be made to show the Insurance Commission that a due search and inquiry has been made to ascertain the identity of the vehicle.

Please note that claims for personal injury arising from a hit and run incident can become controversial. Especially where the victim who sustains injuries is travelling alone at the time of the motor vehicle accident. It is vital you consult an experienced motor vehicle accident compensation lawyer in WA to assist with your hit and run accident claim.

How do insurance companies investigate hit and runs?

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia is the CTP Insurer in Western Australia. The Insurance Commission regularly engages investigators to investigate motor vehicle accidents and hit and run incidents are no exception.

If the Insurance Commission investigates your hit and run compensation claim then they will usually engage an investigator to take a statement from you and from other relevant witnesses before determining whether they will accept liability for the claim.

Does a hit-and-run hurt your insurance?

Whilst insurance policies do differ if you are involved in a hit and run accident, and you are found to be not at fault, then it will not hurt your insurance.

The car insurance provider will generally look at the surrounding circumstances to assess whether your insurance will be affected.

Our understanding is that being in a hit and run incident will not affect your premiums for CTP insurance as this is provided as part of a statutory scheme.

Do insurance companies investigate hit and runs?

Both CTP insurers and car insurance providers investigate hit and run incident compensation claims to determine liability and any potential right of recovery against the driver of the vehicle responsible.

Are Hit-and-run accidents difficult to investigate?

Hit and run accidents are generally harder to investigate. Many cars vs car accidents is easy to investigate as the circumstances are fairly clear cut and liability can be determined easily.

Man hit and run collisions do not have any witnesses and this makes them much harder to investigate.

If another person has collided with your or your vehicle, and you have injuries sustained as a result of the collision. The legal team at Foyle Legal may be able to assist you with your hit and run compensation claim. We have a team of personal injury lawyers in Perth, and we know that such an incident can be a serious life event. Foyle Legal provides legal representation and supports on a no win no fee basis and we provide an obligation free consultation for the eligible victims. You can call Foyle Legal today on 0408 727 343.