What is the Nominal Defendant in a car accident claim?

Published 29 Nov 2017

Author: Nassir Bechara

The terms 'plaintiff' and 'defendant' are used in car accident compensation cases - and other civil law matters - to represent the individual pursuing the claim and the people or organisations being accused, respectively.

As a plaintiff, you may encounter another phrase: the Nominal Defendant. But what does this mean? And how could it affect your Australian Capital Territory motor vehicle accident damages?

Understanding the Nominal Defendant's role

The Nominal Defendant is a statutory office that acts as a stand-in for a regular defendant in various circumstances.

This most commonly occurs when a plaintiff is injured in a hit-and-run accident, or they are involved in a crash where the other driver doesn't have compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance.

In other words, the Nominal Defendant ensures that people can still pursue compensation even if a motor vehicle insurer isn't available to defend the claim.

Most states and territories have a Nominal Defendant office or a direct equivalent to prevent individuals being left high and dry, through no fault of their own, after an accident.

How does this affect my car accident compensation claim?

There should be no impact on your claim, whether you face the Nominal Defendant or a regular insurer.

CTP insurers and the ACT and Commonwealth governments provide funding to the Nominal Defendant, meaning successful claimants will receive the full compensation to which they would be entitled under any other circumstances.

In 2015-16, there were 115 unresolved car accident compensation claims, according to the ACT Nominal Defendant Annual Report. The office set aside a total of nearly $30 million to settle these cases.

The report revealed that the average claim size during the one-year period was $117,000. Of the 115 cases still open, 55 per cent are due to crashes involving unregistered or uninsured vehicles, while 39 per cent were accidents where the driver responsible couldn't be found.

Pursuing an ACT car accident compensation claim

The Nominal Defendant won't always settle cases without a fight, and the office may defend itself all the way to court proceedings if it disagrees with the plaintiff's version of events surrounding a crash. 

As such, it's important to enlist the services of expert car accident compensation lawyers to represent you.

Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers has decades of experience handling personal injury claims involving the Nominal Defendant and CTP insurers.

Please contact us today to see how we can help.

Phone 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment