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Who do I claim against if the defect in a vehicle was responsible for my accident?

Occasionally, a motor vehicle accident might be caused by a defect in the vehicle that has been caused by a third party.For example, if you took your vehicle to a mechanic for repairs and the repair work caused a defect in the vehicle (for example, a wheel not being replaced correctly), and that defect caused an accident, it may be possible to bring a claim against the repairer.Alternatively, if the wheel itself was faulty, then a claim could potentially be brought against the manufacturer who made the wheel”.

The Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (“the MAIA”)

The MAIA is the legislation that governs all compulsory third party (CTP) motor vehicle claims in Queensland and provides (Section 5):-

“(1) This Act applies to personal injury caused by, through or in connection with a motor vehicle if, and only if, the injury

  1. is a result of—
    1. the driving of the motor vehicle; or
    2. a collision, or action taken to avoid a collision, with the motor vehicle; or
    3. the motor vehicle running out of control; or
    4. a defect in the motor vehicle causing loss of control of the vehicle while it is being driven; and
  2. is caused, wholly or partly, by a wrongful act or omission in respect of the motor vehicle by a person other than the injured person.”

As the MAIA is very specific with regards to the circumstances in which a claim can be brought, you can bring a claim against the CTP Insurer of the vehicle for a defect.

What if it is established that the third party is responsible for the accident?

Once a claim is lodged against the CTP Insurer of the vehicle that is the subject of your injuries, the CTP insurer is required under the MAIA to take all reasonable steps to inform themselves of the circumstances of the accident.If the CTP insurer’s investigations indicate that the third party (for example, a tyre repair outlet) was at least partially responsible for the circumstances of the accident, the CTP insurer then has a right of recourse against that third party for the damages associated with any compensation paid to you which is proportionate to the extent that the third party is responsible.It is also then for the third party to prove whether or not you drove the vehicle with knowledge of the defect and its likely effect. As determining these issues can be quite complex, it is always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can advise you with regards to any potential claim arising from a vehicle defect.