In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident, one of your first thoughts might be: “how can I fix things or recover from this accident?” Traditionally, the process will begin with the lodging of a Notice of Accident Claim form. This form is designed to help you provide all relevant information about the accident to the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer of the at fault vehicle. The process can be complicated and you need to ensure the accuracy of the form.
A new electronic Notice of Accident Claim Form (eNOAC) has been introduced which was intended by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission to simplify the claim lodgement process.
The eNOAC has been designed to streamline the claims process in a more user-friendly manner. Despite this, like the traditional process, the forms are still complicated, or rather inconvenient. For example, despite being electronic, you are required to print out and physically sign the completed eNOAC. Your signature must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner for Declarations or Lawyer. Additionally the form starts at 26 pages in length, and becomes longer with the information inputted.
If you elect to pursue the eNOAC by yourself, you must be aware of what may happen if you make a mistake when completing it. While most mistakes are not fatal to your claim, an error could give the opportunity to the insurer to allege you are attempting to mislead or give false information.
What are the benefits?
One benefit of the eNOAC is that, provided the at-fault vehicle is registered in Queensland and the registration number and date of accident is known and entered correctly, the eNOAC will automatically identify the CTP insurer and fill out their details. This saves having to undertake a search for the CTP insurer.
While the main benefits of the eNOAC tend to be the improved speed and efficiency, additional benefits also exist. Primarily among these relates to the circumstance where the form is sent to the wrong insurer. Despite the eNOAC automatically determining the applicable CTP insurer, the possibility remains that there may be an error in this process. If an error occurs and the form is sent to the incorrect insurer, the claimant is not required to rectify this. Rather, the burden is placed on the insurer to contact the correct insurer to ensure the claim proceeds correctly.
A further benefit of the system is that it is not designed to wholly replace the traditional, paper process. This is significant for those members of the community who are unable to access online processes. By ensuring both streams operate in conjunction, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission is facilitating access to justice.
What are the limitations?
A significant limitation of the eNOAC process is that it only applies to accidents where the accident occurred within Queensland and the at-fault vehicle is also registered in Queensland. If either of these conditions are not satisfied, the eNOAC process cannot be used. This means that if the accident occurred outside of Queensland the relevant interstate authority must be contacted and their process followed. If the accident occurred in Queensland, but the at-fault vehicle was registered interstate, the claimant will need to complete the paper NOAC form and send it to the relevant interstate insurer.
It should also be noted that if multiple people were injured in the accident, separate eNOACs must be completed for each person.
A further limitation of this process is that a copy of the eNOAC must be saved by the claimant within 14 days of its submission. Failure to do so will result in the eNOAC becoming inaccessible. Time limits still apply. If you have had an accident, you must lodge the claim form within nine months of the accident occurring or you need to provide a reasonable excuse for the delay. Otherwise, you must try to settle your claim or file proceedings in the Court within three years of the accident. If you fail to do this, you will lose the right to seek compensation.
Despite the intentions, the completion of an acceptable notice of accident claim form remains complex. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, consult one of our personal injury lawyers on 1300 285 888.