A man and woman standing next to a damaged car.

What Is a Nominal Defendant Claim?

Every year Queenslanders pay a reasonably substantial amount of money for motor vehicle registration to ensure we can legally drive safely on the roads.  Before 2014, vehicles would have a registration label as a constant reminded of when it was due, but since registration labels have been removed, the number of unregistered vehicles on the roads is alarming.

We never stop to consider how important CTP insurance is until we are involved in an accident and are injured. At that point we try to remain calm and exchange details with the driver at fault including contact and registration details, assuming the at fault vehicle is registered. This is not always the case.

In Queensland, vehicles must legally be registered for CTP insurance. This insurance protects car owners against compensation claims during accidents. However, when a vehicle is unregistered, the victim cannot file a claim with the CTP insurer for compensation. In this case, the Queensland compensation law permits the governing body to act as the CTP insurer.

What happens if you are injured and the at fault driver’s vehicle is not registered?

The law recognises the need for a safety net for victims of car accidents so they may receive appropriate compensation for their injuries and damages. While most compensation claims require an identified at-fault party for legal proceedings and award compensation, the at-fault party may not have adequate insurance or be able to be identified. In this case. the legal system allows the injured party or victims to apply for a nominal defendant claim.

What Is a Nominal Defendant Claim?

When the driver at fault cannot be identified or is unregistered a government body takes the place of the unidentified perpetrator in a car accident to allow the injured party to claim compensation. This is primarily done to provide victims recourse when the perpetrator’s vehicle is unregistered without Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance.

How Does the Nominal Defendant Scheme Work?

The nominal defendant claim can only be made in two circumstances:

  1. An unregistered vehicle without CTP insurance

This scenario is much easier for claimants to prove especially if they have the license plate details of the perpetrator’s car. The police, Claims Advisory Service or Department of Transport and Main Roads can help verify the unregistered status of the vehicle.

  • An unidentifiable vehicle

In this case, a Notice of Accident Claim Form needs to be lodged within three (3) months  and a Nominal Defendant claim within nine months of the motor vehicle accident. If the claim becomes statute-barred which thus preventing the claimant from the claim.

The nominal defendant claim in Queensland is accompanied by the National Injury Insurance Scheme Queensland (NIISQ). This scheme supports victims of car accidents that happened in Queensland by providing necessary lifetime treatment and care regardless of identifying the faulty party.

How To Make a Nominal Defendant Claim?

The nominal defendant claim can only be made by the injured party, within three months of the accident. Depending on the state’s requirements and the nature of the accident, the victim will need to submit certain forms and supporting documents. For example, a Personal Injury Claim Form must be accompanied by a Medical Certificate.

Due to the time-critical nature of the claim, we recommend hiring experienced compensation lawyers to help with the legal proceedings including, filling, and submitting the required forms. Contact our legal team today on 1300 695 292 for an obligation free case assessment.