Injuries from motor vehicle accidents
How do people injured in motor vehicle accidents in WA get help?
Third party personal injury insurance is compulsory in Western Australia and paid as part of your car licence registration fee. This means it covers every motor vehicle licensed or registered in WA. This insurance covers people injured in motor vehicle accidents where the other driver, or the driver of the car if the victim was a passenger, is at fault or partially at fault.
From 1 July 2016 motor injury insurance cover for motorists expanded. All people catastrophically injured in motor vehicle crashes from 1 July 2016 are covered for necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support. The law sets out that catastrophic injuries are:
- spinal cord injuries,
- traumatic brain injuries,
- certain amputations,
- severe burns, and
- permanent blindness.
The Insurance Commission of Western Australia manages all personal and fatal injury claims resulting from motor vehicle crashes that involve Western Australian licensed vehicles. This means the injured person makes a claim against the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, rather than against the driver and/or owner who caused the injuries.
Do time limits apply to motor vehicle injuries claims?
Time limits do apply, depending on your age and the type of claim you are making. You should get legal advice about your situation.
Generally, if you have not lodged your claim within three years from the date you first became aware of your injury (this is usually the date of the crash), you may be legally barred from making a claim.
If you have lodged a claim with the Insurance Commission of Western Australia, but it has not settled within three years from when you first became aware of your injury, you should start court proceedings to preserve your claim in case it is necessary to have the matter decided by a court.
What if I don't know who caused the accident?
Even if you don't know who caused the accident (for example, a hit and run accident), you may still be able to make a claim. You must have taken reasonable steps to find out who caused the accident.
What do I do if someone has been injured in a motor vehicle accident?
If you are the driver or owner of a vehicle:
- which is involved in an accident, and
- someone suffers an injury
you must report the accident to the Insurance Commission of Western Australia as soon as possible. This includes when pedestrians or cyclists were injured. Crashes can now be reported at the Online Crash Reporting Facility.
Legal Aid WA does not give legal advice on personal injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Many private lawyers offer legal advice and representation for motor vehicle personal injury claims. The Law Society of WA has a directory of members you can use to find a lawyer.
Insurance Commission of Western Australia
Reviewed: 14 October 2022