Motor Vehicle Damage

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Motor Vehicle Damage

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Motor Vehicle Damage Legal Fact Sheet

Fast Facts

Motor vehicle accidents can happen. When they do, there are a few things you need to know…

You Must Stop and Exchange Details

If you are involved in an accident you must:

  • Stop and render assistance to anyone who may be hurt; 
  • Exchange details with the other driver;
  • Exchange details with the owner of any property that is damaged in the accident; and
  • Exchange details with any witnesses.

It is a criminal offence to leave the scene of an accident you are involved in without stopping.
Details include:

  • Your name;
  • Address; and
  • Registration details of the car involved in the accident

Do Not Admit Fault

Even if you believe the accident was your fault, do not admit fault to any parties involved. It is not up to you to decide who is at fault and admitting fault could be used against you later if there is a dispute.

When to Report the Accident to the Police

You must report the accident to the police if:

  • Someone is injured;
  • If the other party refuses to provide you their details; or
  • If anyone’s property is damaged.

Try and document as much information as you can about the accident. This may include:

  • Details of the accident;
  • Location of the accident;
  • Date and time of the accident;
  • Whether there were any passengers in any of the vehicles at the time of the accident;
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident;
  • The make, model and colour of the vehicles involved in the accident;
  • Name and contact details of the other party, including:
    • The other party’s registration number;
    • The other party’s licence number;
    • The other party’s phone number; and
  • Name and contact details of any witnesses.

Once the Police have received all relevant information, they will write up a report of the accident. This report may determine who was at fault.
If you or the other party are found to have broken any road rules during the accident, the police may:

  • Issue you or the other party with a fine; or
  • Charge you or the other party with an offence.

You or the other party may have to go to court if charged with an offence.

Contacting Your Insurance Company

If you have car insurance, you should inform your insurer of any accident you are involved in as soon as possible.  Even if you do not wish to make a claim, it is important to let the insurance company know of the accident in case you change your mind or a claim is made against you for property damage to another vehicle.
If you are at fault and do not have insurance, the other party’s insurer will usually seek money from you personally to pay the damages. If you do not or cannot pay, you may be sued for damages.
If the other party is at fault, you may sue them for damages.
Please note that insurance policies may exclude drivers who were affected by drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.

If You or Another Party is Injured

Personal injuries which occur in a motor vehicle accident are covered by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). This insurance is included in the cost of your vehicle registration.
The motor vehicle accident should be reported to the police immediately.
If you are injured, you can lodge a claim with the TAC within 12 months of the date of the accident.


Need Advice?

Find Your Lawyer legal referral service
T: 9607 9550
W: http://www.liv.asn.au/Referral
Legal community centre
T: 03 9652 1500
W: http://www.communitylaw.org.au
Victoria Legal Aid
T: 9269 0120 or 1800 677 402
W: http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

 

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Please note the above information is not intended to, and does not encompass all aspects of the law on this subject matter. Further professional advice should be sought before action is taken based on matters outlined on this page.

- March 2018

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