Due enquiry and search

After a motor vehicle accident it is standard operating policy for the parties to exchange particulars. This includes details as to the registration number of the vehicles involved.

However, what happens if you are unable to ascertain the registration details of the vehicle responsible for the accident? So what do you do if you have been injured in so far as a claim is concerned?

Under the Motor Accident Scheme in New South Wales you are entitled to bring a claim for compensation for injuries sustained as against the CTP insurer for the vehicle at fault. Strict time limits apply with respect to the reporting of the accident to the Police within 28 days of the accident and lodgement of a claim form with the insurer for the vehicle at fault within six months of the date of the accident.

If however the identity of the vehicle is not known then it is still open to you to lodge a claim as against the Nominal Defendant which is a statutory authority enacted by legislation against whom a claim can be made.

However, lodgement of a claim as against the Nominal Defendant is not in itself sufficient to establish an entitlement to a claim. Much more needs to be done.

In order to pursue such a claim the injured person must establish that all necessary and proper “due enquiry and search” has been undertaken. In essence what that means is that the injured person must do all that can be reasonably done to try and ascertain details as to the registration number of the vehicle involved.

In order to comply with the “due enquiry and search” requirement some of the steps that would need to be undertaken include the following:

  1. Ensure the accident is reported to the police so that the police can undertake all proper enquiries.
  2. Ascertain the identity of any witnesses to the accident. These details should be provided to your lawyers who will speak to the witnesses and take a statement as to what occurred.

Brydens Lawyers are the experts in the pursuit of claims for persons injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents where details of the registration number of the vehicle at fault is not known.

For over 40 years now Brydens Lawyers has been operating a ‘No Win – No Fee”, policy which, simply put, provides that if a personal injury or compensation client is unsuccessful in their claim then Brydens Lawyers will not raise a tax invoice for having acted on behalf of the client. That is, if the claim is unsuccessful we do not get paid. More information about how this works can be found on our No Win – No Fee page.

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