If you were injured on a road in New South Wales as a result of the fault of an unidentified vehicle or an unregistered vehicle, you may be eligible to make a claim under the Nominal Defendant scheme.
The Nominal Defendant substitute the person you would have sued against when you make a compensation claim. In other words, the Nominal Defendant ensures that Claimants can still pursue compensation even if a motor vehicle insurer is not available to defend the claim.
The process is almost identical as if you made a claim normally. However, there are additional requirements and steps before your claim is accepted.
The Personal Injury Commission will allocate a random Compulsory Third Party Insurer to manage your claim. You will then need to establish that you have made “due search and inquiry”. This means that you must make a genuine attempt to search for the vehicle at fault. Some actions that you may consider include:
- Contacting witnesses or people nearby the accident scene who may have witnessed the event;
- Putting an Ad such as a Newspaper to plead people to come forward with any information related to the subject motor vehicle accident;
- Check with Police to see if they can assist with further investigation;
- Any other actions which are reasonable in identifying the unknown vehicle.
Sometimes due search and inquiry might be impossible because the accident happen so long after. The insurer and courts understand that any attempts in trying to find the unknown vehicle would be impractical and of no benefit to anyone.
In the case of Nominal Defendant v Browne  NSWCA 197, the plaintiff made no inquiries as to the identity of the unidentified vehicle, as those inquiries were unlikely to have been productive and the Court accepted that the plaintiff did not need to undertake those steps.
In cases where the vehicle is unidentified, the Claimant will need sufficiently show that the identity of the vehicle cannot be established after due search and inquiry. This can be a complicated task and the assistance of a compensation lawyer will be valuable. They will know the necessary steps that should be taken and can advise a Claimant on the best course of action.
Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident and it’s the fault of an unknown vehicle? Alliance Compensation and Litigation Lawyers have many years of experience and can assist you in a Nominal Defendant Claim. Please note that time limits apply so it is best to contact us as soon as possible.
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