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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Ultimate Guide to Fender Benders in Australia

By LHD Lawyers

One of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents in Australia is a fender bender. It’s so common, in fact, that you have probably heard friends, family members, or coworkers talk about being involved in one. But you still may not be clear on what it is or what to do about it after it has occurred. This is important information to know in case you are ever a part of such an accident yourself, so that you can claim compensation from your car insurance for damages to you, your passengers, and your vehicle.

In this ultimate guide to fender bender accidents in Australia, you will become familiar with the term “fender bender” and even read examples of what they are like in real life. You’ll also learn these key takeaways: 

  • Who is responsible for a fender bender
  • Whether or not you should call the police
  • Whether or not your insurance provider will cover it
  • How to make a motor vehicle accident claim for a fender bender

What is a fender bender?

A fender bender is a low-speed car crash that results in very little damage to the vehicles, and zero or minor injuries to the drivers. Both cars are also drivable afterwards. Because there is no significant harm or serious injuries involved, it is classified as a minor car accident.

What is an example of a fender bender?

Below are two examples of common scenarios where a fender bender could take place.

  • A driver backs their car out of a space in a parking lot without checking their rearview mirror and collides with another vehicle that is passing by behind them.
  • At an intersection, the traffic light turns green and a driver accelerates their car before the driver in front of them has moved their vehicle, resulting in a collision.

Who is responsible for a fender bender in Australia?

As with all motor vehicle accidents in Australia, the driver who caused the fender bender by hitting or tapping another car with theirs is the one who is at fault.

In the examples we listed above, the collisions were the result of drivers not paying attention to their surroundings and possibly even being too impatient to follow basic safety protocols. This negligence led them to roll into someone else’s car. Whether or not the driver they ran into should have already moved out of the way is irrelevant.

What should I do if involved in a fender bender?

If you become involved in a fender bender accident, the most important thing to remember is to get yourself (and, if possible, your vehicle) out of traffic and harm’s way as quickly as possible. Once this step is done, you can check for injuries, share contact information with the other drivers, and contact your insurance company to start a claim. You should also seek medical attention if you or any of your passengers are hurt.

For more detailed guidance, read our article about what to do after a motor vehicle accident.

Do I need to call the police after a fender bender in Australia?

It’s not usually necessary to call the police after a fender bender. As we already mentioned, a fender bender is a minor vehicle accident, and police officers will typically only attend the scene of the accident if serious injuries or property damage has occurred.

However, there are a couple of circumstances under which a police officer should attend your fender bender. They are:

  • If the other driver refuses to exchange information such as contact details or insurance information with you.
  • If your accident is interrupting traffic or has caused a road hazard.

Even though it was a fender bender and a police presence wasn’t required, you may still need to file a police report. Some states in Australia, like New South Wales, require drivers to take this step before you can start a claims process.

Do insurance providers cover fender benders?

Your compulsory third-party (CTP) insurer should cover fender benders as part of your auto insurance policy. This means that if you or your vehicle suffered any injuries or damages, you may be able to receive compensation by filing an insurance claim.

Can I make a motor vehicle accident claim for a fender bender?

Australian drivers can make motor vehicle accident claims for any fender benders they were involved in that resulted in injuries or damages. This is the case even if you were at fault (although you may not receive as much compensation). The payout you receive may cover medical bills for your personal injury, vehicle repairs, and any other expenses incurred as a result of the fender bender.

How do I make a motor vehicle accident claim?

The process for making a motor vehicle accident claim in Australia varies from state to state. For example, some require an accident report while others don’t. But they all have a few steps in common, such as:

  • Gathering evidence of your claim.
  • Getting assessed by a doctor to check for injuries, both obvious and hidden.
  • Filing your claim within a certain time limit.

Read our guide to What To Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident for a more extensive overview of the car accident claims filing process. 

Make a motor vehicle accident claim today

If you think you have a motor vehicle accident claim, LHD Lawyers can help everyday Australians receive the benefits they’re entitled to. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

Author: James Bodel

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