Starting a claim - Car crashes
Starting 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. 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 also have to apply using the appropriate form.
Lodge a 'Form 1A Application to Change Fee Concession Card Holder and people under 18' (this form also covers if you have a grant of Legal Aid for the proceedings). If your eligibility for Commonwealth assistance is confirmed by the court you will pay the reduced fee.
If you don't have a valid concession card, but can show you are in financial difficulty, and/or it is in the interests of justice, you may be able to ask to pay a reduced fee using one or both of these forms:
- 'Form 1B Application for Fee Concession - Financial hardship', or
- 'Form 1C Application for Fee Concession - Interests of Justice'.
You must make an application and lodge all other documents in your case online on the eCourts Portal. If you cannot lodge your documents electronically you can apply for an exemption. You must apply on the approved form. A registrar may 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 a document electronically, the court or a registrar may give directions to you about how to lodge the document.
Naming the correct defendant
It is essential you identify the correct defendant(s) on the claim. Get legal advice if you are not sure who the correct defendant is.
You also need to the correct address of the person or company you want to make a claim against. For a company you also need to put in the Australian Company Number.
The next step - serving the claim
Generally, the claim must be served personally. This means the claim should be handed directly to the defendant.
You can serve the defendant with the claim, or arrange for the bailiff to serve it. Fees are payable for this service. If you serve the claim yourself, you will 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 – it may save time, money and avoid stress! The outcome at trial can be uncertain: for example, if you reject an offer of settlement and the case then goes to a hearing at court, the magistrate could decide the other person owes you less than they initially offered.
Magistrates Court of WA
- Fact Sheets - Civil Matters
- Magistrates Court (Civil Proceedings) Forms
- Magistrates Court (Fees) Forms
You can also get these forms in person from any Magistrates Court registry.