Car accident where no one else is involved (Vic)
Although most car accidents generally will involve another party, many just involve a single vehicle.
In fact, accident data from the TAC it’s quite staggering.
For example, in 2018, 48% of drivers that were killed on the road lost their lives in single vehicle crashes.
And although outdated, Victorian road accident data from 1998 shows that about about 30% of severe single vehicle accidents in rural areas involve a driver being fatigued.
Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been involved in a single vehicle accident.
What is a single vehicle accident?
A single vehicle accident obviously is an accident that causes damage to only one vehicle.
If the accident in which you involved in only includes vehicle and no one else’s, this is what is considered to be a single vehicle accident.
Examples of common single vehicle accidents
- Driving an unfamiliar road and missing a bend
- Motorcycle losing control and running off the road
- Losing control on slippery or unsealed roads
- Driving along the road and falling asleep at the wheel coming off the road
- Coming into contact with an animal such as a cow or other livestock.
What to do if you’re involved in a single vehicle
If you’ve been involved in a single vehicle accident and there are other passengers, you should render assistance if you’re able to.
Call the ambulance, police and fire service if needs be.
You should warn other drivers if you can if there is a hazard on the road as a consequence of the accident. One way to do this is to switch on your hazard lights.
If you have to have your vehicle towed, you will need to contact either roadside assistance or a tow truck company directly.
If the accident involved an animal, if you’re able to you should remove the animal from the road and report the accident to the police.
If the owner of the animal can be determined, you should contact them. Depending upon what animal it was, you should contact the RSPCA or an animal or wildlife rescue service.
If the accident involved a farm animal such as a cow, it may have an identification tag and you should take note of any relevant numbers as well as any other identifying features.
You should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Even if the injuries that you suffered don’t appear to be bad initially, you should at least be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Sometimes injuries can take a while to manifest after an accident.
You can contact the TAC and lodge a claim if you’ve suffered an injury or injuries in the accident. More on this in the next section.
TAC claim after single vehicle accident?
If you’ve been involved in a single vehicle accident, you are able to pursue TAC compensation.
This is the case even if you might have been at fault for the accident.
In Victoria, you are able to receive assistance from the TAC following single vehicle accidents where you’ve been at fault because we have what’s called no fault entitlements.
So, say for example, that you were driving along and due to fatigue you fell asleep at the wheel and drove off the road and suffered injury.
In this instance, even though you might be responsible for the accident, you are still able to pursue a TAC claim.
For the most part, and generally speaking, you are able to access the same benefits as someone that was involved in an accident where another party was at fault.
What am I potentially entitled to?
If you been involved in a single vehicle accident, the TAC can provide assistance in the following ways;
- Medical expenses
- Income replacement benefits
- Impairment lump sum claim
- And in some rare cases involving single vehicle accidents, a common law claim for damages
If you have an accepted TAC claim after a single vehicle accident, the TAC is able to pay for the reasonable cost of any medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
This could involve, for example, the payment of GP attendances, medication, hospital bills, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation services.
You can find out more about the payment of medical expenses here.
Income replacement benefits
If, because of the injuries sustained in the accident, you can’t work to the same extent as you were prior to the accident, then the TAC can pay you income benefits.
The TAC can pay income benefits for up to three years post accident.
In some cases, you can obtain income replacement benefits beyond the three year period.
In order to obtain income replacement benefits, you’ll need to have certificates of capacity.
Income replacement benefits are based on an average of your wage in the year prior to the accident.
If you suffered a permanent impairment in the accident, you may be able to pursue an impairment benefit claim.
This is a lump sum claim that you can pursue regardless as to fault.
That is, you don’t need to show that another party else was responsible for the accident.
Using an example used elsewhere on this page, even if you were driving alone and fell asleep and veered off the road, you would still be entitled to pursue this claim if you suffered a permanent impairment of some kind.
Any injuries sustained in the accident need to be graded by specialist doctors. Your overall percentage amount will then match up to a compensation amount.
Common law claim after a single vehicle accident
In relation to a common law claim for damages (a lump sum claim), in order to succeed in this claim you need to show that you’ve suffered a serious injury in the accident.
The other thing that needs to be shown is that the accident occurred at least in part due to the negligence of another party.
Obviously in many single vehicle accidents, this isn’t possible because in many instances the driver of the vehicle in a single vehicle accident is responsible for the accident.
However, this is not always the case.
Even if you are driving perfectly, you may still end up getting in an accident – which someone else has contributed to.
Examples of where someone else may be a fault in single vehicle accident:
1. If you were the passenger in the vehicle
If as a consequence of the drivers negligence you suffered injury, then you may have a common law claim.
Many people do not wish to pursue common law claims against drivers or vehicles if they’ve been injured as a passenger because most of the time the driver is known to them. It could be a friend or a family member.
Keep in mind however that if you do pursue a common law claim in this instance, that any compensation is payable by the TAC rather than the driver of the vehicle.
This is because when car registration is paid, part of that registration is for what is called the TAC charge which means that in the event of injury or death that occurs in a transport accident, the TAC will indemnified at fault party.
You can read all about that here.
2. Defective product liability
If the accident occurred because of a faulty vehicle or a defective vehicle, you may be able to pursue a common law claim against the at fault party. Whether that means a manufacturer or a repairer or what not.
3. Roads authority
If the crash occurred because of something to do with the road, you may be able to pursue a common law claim against the roads authority. For example, if roads were not maintained to an adequate standard or if for example a hazard was not properly marked with appropriate signage.
4. Accident involving livestock
If the accident occurred because you hit livestock on the road, the farmer may be responsible (their insurance would be responsible for any damages). You may succeed in this claim if you can show that, for example, this was not an isolated incident and livestock from this farm has escaped before and that greater care needed to be take to maintain fencing on the property.
If you have been involved in a car accident where no one else was involved, if you have suffered injury keep in mind that you might still be entitled to assistance from the TAC.
As Victoria has a no fault and fault based compensation system, if no other party was at fault for the accident, you still might be entitled to claim medical expenses from the TAC, as well as income benefits and an impairment lump sum claim if you suffered permanent impairment.
In limited cases, you may be entitled to pursue a common law claim.