Starting a claim - Car crashes

Preparing for court

car crash self-help guide logoStarting a claim

  • Can you find the other party?
  • Do you know their correct address?
  • Are you within the time limit for starting a case?
  • Do you have evidence to prove your claim?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you should get legal advice before starting a claim.

To start a claim in the Magistrates Court, you must complete and lodge the correct form and pay the required fee:

  • For a minor case claim, use Form 4
  • For a general procedure claim, use Form 3

If you want to apply to pay a reduced fee you will have to complete and lodge:

  • A 'Form 1A Application to Change Fee - Concession Card Holders and people under 18 (if you have a current concession card from Centrelink), or
  • Form 1B Application for Fee Concession - Financial hardship', and / or
  • 'Form 1C Application for Fee Concession - Interests of Justice'.

You must make your application and lodge all paperwork in your case online on the eCourts Portal. If you cannot lodge your paperwork electronically you can apply for an exemption by filling in another form.

A registrar may or may not grant your application. The court can also, for any good reason and without a formal application or request, exempt you from lodging a document or documents electronically. If you are exempted from lodging your paperwork electronically, the court or a registrar may give directions about how to lodge the paperwork.

Naming the correct defendant

It is essential you identify the correct defendant(s) on your claim. Get legal advice if you are not sure who the correct defendant is.

You also need to have the correct address of the person or company you want to make a claim against. If the defendant is a company, you must include its Australian Company Number.

The next step - serving the claim

Generally, the claim must be served on the defendant personally. This means the court stamped paperwork should be handed directly to the defendant.

You can serve the defendant with the claim or arrange for the bailiff to serve it for you. Fees are payable for bailiff service. If you serve the claim yourself, you will also need to complete and lodge a Form 11 Affidavit of Service. 

You should get legal advice if you cannot find the defendant to personally serve the claim. You may be able to apply to the court to serve the claim on the defendant in other ways.

Offers to settle

You can try to settle at any time during the court process.

Be open minded about offers of settlement. Settling your matter may save time, money, avoid stress and give you certainty. If you reject an offer of settlement and the case goes to court hearing, the magistrate could order the defendant to pay you less than they initially offered. 

Useful documents

Magistrates Court of WA

You can also get these forms in person from any Magistrates Court registry.

Find legal answers

Going to court over money


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.