Get help with car accidents
How can Legal Aid WA help?
Our Civil Law Division may be able to provide legal advice on motor car property damage matters, including making or responding to claims with other drivers or through insurers. This is normally not a matter where you can get a grant of aid for a lawyer to help run your case at court.
Call the Infoline or contact your nearest Legal Aid WA office to find out what help we can give for your situation. If we can’t help, we may be able to refer you to someone else who can.
What do I have to do after a car accident?
If you are a driver in an accident where anyone is hurt or property is damaged, you must stop immediately. Property includes motor vehicles, houses, fences, gardens, bikes and personal belongings.
You must give:
- your name and address, and
if you were driving someone else's car, the name and address of the car's owner (if you know that information)
to anyone who has been injured or whose property has been damaged, or to a police officer. If the person who was injured or whose property was damaged is not able to take the details, you must give them to anyone representing them.
You must assist anyone who has been injured. If necessary, this may include getting medical help.
What information do I need to get at the scene of the accident?
If possible, write down the following:
- the names, addresses and insurance details of any other drivers involved
- the make, colour, model and registration number of any other car involved
- the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident
- notes of your conversations with other people at the scene
- a sketch of the scene including the street names and suburb
- time and date of the accident, road and weather conditions.
If you have a camera, you can take photos of the property damage at the scene.
You should not admit that the accident was your fault, or offer to pay the cost of any damage, before getting legal advice.
Do I have to report the accident to the police?
You must report the accident police immediately if:
- anyone was hurt, or
- if the property damage is likely to cost more than $3,000 to repair.
You can report the crash to the police if they attend the accident, at a police station or online.
In some cases, you can be charged with a criminal offence if you do not report an accident.
Do I have to inform my insurer about the accident?
Most insurance policies require you to report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible, even if you do not intend to make a claim. Someone may try to make a claim against you, or you may decide to make a claim later on.
If you did not tell the insurer at the time of the accident, they may refuse your claim.
Where else can I get help?
The Law Society of WA can refer you to private lawyers who specialise in your type of case.
Your local community legal centre may be able to give you some help.
Insurance Law Service/Financial Rights Legal Service
Use their Motor Vehicle Accident Problem Solver, as well find factsheets, information and advice about insurance claims and financial hardship requests.
- Australian Financial Complaints Authority
If you have an insurance dispute following a motor car accident and cannot resolve it internally.
Financial Counsellors Association of WA , National Debt Helpline
If you have debt from a motor car accident, a financial counsellor may be able to help you.
Reviewed: 14 October 2022