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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > Car accidents > What to do after an accident

What to do after an accident - Frequently Asked Questions ​


1. I​​ had an accident but the other driver ​wouldn't g​ive me their licence or name. What can I do?

If you wrote down the registration number of the other car, you can make an Access Application to Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) to ask for the name and address of the car's owner.

Hint iconThe Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) has recently been renamed and is now called Roads & Maritime Services (RMS).

For more information, see Exchanging details.

You should also tell the police about the other driver not giving you their details, within 24 hours of the accident.

If you didn't get the registration number, you should still tell the police about the accident within 24 hours.

For more information, see Calling the Police.      

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2. The police came ​​to the scene of the accident and talked to some witnesses. Can I get a report from the police?

Yes, you can make an application to the Police for an Incident Report. This report will include:

  • the name of the police officer in charge at the time of the accident
  • the place where the accident happened
  • the names and contact details of the drivers involved in the accident
  • registration numbers of the cars or motor vehicles in the accident
  • a summary of the accident.

For more information, see Calling the Police

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3. My car was damaged in an accident​​ and the other driver was at fault. How many quotes do I need to give the other driver?

There is no set number of quotes that you have to give to the other driver, but it's a good idea to get two or three written quotes. Sometimes getting more than one quote can help show that the amount you are asking for is "not excessive" and is "fair and reasonable". You should give copies of these quotes to the other driver and keep the originals.

For more information, see Getting repair quotes.    

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4. The other driver has given me a​​ quote to fix their car. I don't think it should cost so much to fix the damage to their car. What can I do?

There are a number of things you can do:

  • ask the driver for another quote
  • ask the driver if you can have your own repairer look at the car
  • take the quote to your own repairer for their opinion
  • contact the other driver to negotiate the amount.

For more information, see Getting repair quotes.         


5. I didn't take any photos of the street when the accident happened​ and I live too far away from there to go back. Can I use photos off Google Earth and give that to the court?

Yes, you can print off photos from Google Earth to show the court what the area looks like, but be careful as the photos on Google Earth have often been taken a long time ago. Google Earth may not show what the street scene looked like at the date of your accident - for example, building works might have changed the road or street signs since the Google Earth photo was taken. You should make sure that the photo represents the location of your accident.

You should provide a copy of the photos at the same time that you exchange statements, which is usually not less then 14 days before the hearing, or by the date ordered by the court.

If you can take your own photos of the place where the accident happened you should.

For more information, see Gathering Evidence. ​


6. I had an accident and both​​ my passenger and I were hurt. How can I make a claim?

To make a claim for personal injury suffered in a car accident you can contact the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) (previously the Motor Accidents Authority (MAA). You may also want to get legal advice.

Alert Icon​There are time limits for making a claim, which can be as short as 28 days after the date of the accident. For more information about the kinds of claims you could make and the time limits, see the ​SIRA website.

For more information, see Injuries.       

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7. I had an accident but the damage to my car was just a scratch​. I don't want to go through my insurance company to get it fixed. Do I have to tell them about the accident?

You might want to tell your insurance company about the accident even if you don't want to make a claim. If you don't tell them about the accident, it may have an effect on your future claims and insurance policies.

When talking to the insurance company you should make it clear that you don't want to make a claim.

For more information, see Contacting your insurance company.         


8. I was in an accident but no ​one was hurt. Do I have to report the accident to the police?

You should call the Police Assistance Line (PAL) (131 444) if you were involved in a minor motor vehicle crash. A minor motor vehicle crash is an accident where:

  • no vehicles needed to be towed from the scene of the accident
  • no one was hurt
  • each of the drivers provided their details at the scene
  • none of the drivers was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


9. My car was legally parked in front of my house when another car sideswiped it and smashed my wing mirror.​​ My neighbour saw the accident and gave me the registration number of the car that hit my car. Can I use this information to get the details of the other car owner?

You can apply to Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) to get the details of the 'registered operator' of the car. To do this you will need to provide the registration number of the car and the make and model (if known).

For more information, see Exchanging Details.


10. I was in an accident and the other driver agreed to pay for the cost of repairing my car. I sent the other driver an invoice for the repair work ​​and a receipt for the hire car I used while I waited for my car to be repaired. The other driver has told me that they will pay for the repair of my car but not for the hire car. Do I have a right to claim the cost of a hire car?

Usually, the party who caused the accident should pay the reasonable costs of the party who suffered damage as a result of the accident. You can claim the cost of hiring a car while your car is being repaired. The main question is whether the cost is reasonable. To decide whether a cost is reasonable you should think about whether:

  • the hire car is similar to your car, which was damaged in the accident. You could compare the cars by looking at the engine size, make or model of the car
  • the amount of time you used the hire car is reasonable. If your car took two weeks to fix, it may be reasonable for you to hire a car for two weeks.             


11. My car was damaged in an accident and the other driver has agreed to pay for the cost of repairing my car. I got quotes from two panel beaters, one was for $1,000.00 and the other was for $1,600.00. A friend of my brother is a panel beater and said he can do the work at a discounted rate, only $800.00. Do I have to pick the lowest quote or can I pick the panel beater I prefer?

You don't need to choose the cheapest quote but you do need to consider what amount is 'fair and reasonable'. This means that the quote can't be too high when compared to what work is being done. There is often a range of costs that are all 'fair and reasonable'. The other driver may ask to look at all the quotes you have or take the quote to their own repairer for a second opinion.

If you have already repaired your car, you cannot recover more than what you actually paid to fix it.

You should also consider whether the work included in the quote is required because of the accident. You can't recover the cost of repairing parts of the car that were not damaged in the accident.