​Car accidents

This topic is about accidents involving cars a​​nd other vehicles that can be driven or ridden on a road (such as bic​ycles, motorbikes, and buses). The information explains what you can do if:

  • ​​​​your car has been damaged, or
  • someone else's car has been damaged in a car accident.

 If you have been injured in a car accident and would like to make a claim about those injuries, go to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority​ external website for more information.

This topic is divided into the following sect​ions:

    What to do after an accident

    After a car accident you should:

    • ​help anyone injured
    • report the accident to the police
    • exchange details with the other driver
    • take photos
    • get witness details
    • contact your insurance company if you are insured, and want to make a claim on your policy.

    You should not admit to the other driver that the accident was your fault as this may affect any future court action or your insurance claim.

    For more information, see What to​ do after an accident.

    Who is responsible?

    The driver of a car who caused an accident is not always fully responsible for paying for the damage. Sometimes the person responsible may be:

    • ​the owner of the car, such as an employer or a parent
    • a car hire company 
    • a taxi, bus or truck company.
    In some cases, the accident may involve a bicycle or an animal.

    For more information, see Who is responsible?


    You should collect evidence as soon as possible after the accident. This will help you to either make a claim, or respond to a claim. You will need two kinds of evidence:

    • ​​Evidence about fault
    • Evidence about damage and losses.​​

    For more information, see Evidence​.

    Making a claim

    If your car was damaged in a car accident and it was the other driver's fault, you may wish to make a claim against that driver for the damage and losses. You can phone them, send them an email or sms, or write them a letter. A common way to make a claim is to send a letter of demand.

    If you are insured, you will need to consider whether to make a claim under your insurance policy.

    For more information, see Making a claim.

    Responding to a claim

    If you were in a car accident and a car was damaged, the driver or owner of that car might make a claim against you if they believe it was your fault. They may send you a letter of demand, or they might phone you, or send you an email or sms. If they are insured, their insurer may contact you.

    There are different ways that you can respond to their claim, including writing a response to their letter of demand.

    If you are insured, you will need to consider whether to make a claim under your insurance policy.

    For more information, see Responding to a claim.

    Resolving your dispute?

    If you have a dispute with someone about a car accident, it is really important to try to resolve that dispute without going to court. Talk to the other person, negotiate with them, or try mediation.

    For more information, see Resolving your dispute.

    Going to court

    If you can't resolve your dispute, you may end up in court. If you are owed money after a car accident, you will need to decide whether to start a case. If someone is chasing you for money after a car accident and they start a case against you, you will need to decide how to respond to the court case. However, it is a good idea to try to avoid going to court by settling your dispute, if possible. 

    For more information, see Going to court​.


    If you want a visual overview of how to send or respond to a letter of demand, see Flowcharts.​

    Frequently asked questions

    This section has answers to common questions that you may have about car accidents. This is a good starting point if you're not sure where to begin your search for information.

    For more information, see Frequently asked questions. ​

    Two drivers talking following car accident  Need legal help

    Further information

    ​​​Financial Rights Legal Centre Motor Vehicle Accidents Problem Solver