Claiming Compensation for Motor Accident Injuries in New South Wales
What does compensation for a motor accident injury entail?
In New South Wales, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident after 1 December 2017 as a driver, biker, cyclist, passenger, or pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme. The scope of the compensation you may be entitled to will vary depending on the circumstances of the accident including the severity of your injuries and whether you are the driver most at fault .
Who can claim motor accident compensation?
Anyone who sustained an injury from an accident involving a motor vehicle can make a claim for CTP benefits. You can claim compensation if you were a driver, cyclist, motorbike rider, passenger or pedestrian in the accident, regardless of the degree of your fault. You will not be able to make a claim for compensation if you engaged in a serious driving offence in the accident in question, or you were at fault and driving an uninsured vehicle.
How much of a payout can you achieve from a motor vehicle accident in NSW?
You can claim the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) benefits if you sustained injuries from a motor vehicle accident in NSW, happening on or after 1 December 2017. You may make a claim as an injured driver, pedestrian, biker or passenger as long as your injury is caused by an accident involving a motor vehicle. In NSW, you may also claim benefits right after the accident, which may be awarded for 6 months, if you are eligible. If you were not using an uninsured vehicle or did not commit a serious driving offence, you may claim these benefits regardless of your fault or the seriousness of your injuries.
What benefits can you receive from a motor accident compensation claim?
You may achieve “statutory benefits” at the end of your claim, which includes income support payments, medical expenses, funeral expenses, vocational rehabilitation and compensation for pain and suffering.
Income support payments cover some percentage of your loss of earnings caused by your injury. They will constitute maximum 95% of your pre-injury earnings for the first 13 weeks, while they will compensate for a maximum of 85% after 14 weeks depending on whether you have total or partial loss of earning capacity. After 6 months from the date of the accident, income support payments will cease if you were mostly at fault in the accident or your injuries are assessed as minor/soft tissue injuries. These are typically those in muscles, tendons, and ligaments but do not include injury to nerves or a complete or partial rupture of tendons, ligaments, menisci or cartilage.
Medical expenses that are reasonable and necessary can be covered by the insurer. Medical, dental, and pharmaceutical expenses, physiotherapy, the cost of travelling for medical appointments, and home care services can be compensated. If your injury is a minor injury, support for medical expenses will cease at the end of 26 weeks except for some circumstances.
Funeral expenses can be claimed by the legal personal representative of a person who died in a motor accident or the financial and service dependents. A person who paid for a deceased person’s funeral who did not have a legal representative can also make a claim.
Lump sum compensation is payable if you sustained more than minor injuries from a motor vehicle accident and were not fully at fault. If you are eligible, you can make a claim for modified common law damages which deal with any economic loss, both past and future including superannuation, that you suffered as a result of the injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident. You can also claim lump sum compensation for pain and suffering and the like if your injuries are assessed as being greater than 10% whole person impairment.
How to file a claim for motor accident compensation
Reporting the accident to the police & seeking initial treatment
First things that must be attended to immediately after the accident is reporting the accident to the police within 24 hours, or within 28 days at the latest, and seek initial treatment of your injuries. You should get the registration number of the vehicle you think caused the accident together with the contact details of the driver. Then you can proceed with finding the related CTP insurer to process your claim.
You do not have to notify and get the approval of the insurer for the initial medical treatment right after the accident. However, make sure you keep copies of receipts of the treatment including supplementary costs like travel expenses so that you can present them to the insurer while claiming medical expenses. Also, you will need the Medical Certificate completed by your doctor when filing your claim form, which will also act as the proof of the degree of the injuries you sustained as a result of the accident.
Submitting the claim form to the insurer
You will need to submit a Personal Injury Claim form to the related CTP insurer in order to lodge your claim, complemented by the Medical Certificate. You should provide as many details as possible regarding the accident. Also, the evidence of lost income will be required for making a claim for weekly payments.
The insurer gets in contact
The insurer has 4 weeks to assess your claim. During this time, you may be asked for additional information to help better assess your case.
If the insurer accepts your claim, the weekly benefits and the payments for your medical expenses will start within 14 days. If rejected, you can request an internal review from the insurer within 28 days. If you are still not happy with the result, you can apply to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) Dispute Resolution Centre for an independent review.
Making a claim for modified common law damages
If you sustained more than minor/soft tissue injuries from a motor vehicle accident and you were not fully at fault, you can make a claim for modified common law damages which will enable you to receive lump sum compensation for your losses.
If your injuries are assessed as 10% or less permanent impairment, you can make a claim for common law damages within 20 months from the date of the accident, up to 3 years. You may be eligible to receive compensation for past and future economic loss and be able to claim for weekly benefits for up to 3 years from the date of the accident or until the common law damages claim is settled.
If your injuries are assessed as more than 10% permanent impairment, you can make a claim for modified common law damages any time within 3 years from the date of the accident. You may receive compensation for past and future economic and non-economic loss and be able to claim for weekly payments until 5 years from the date of the accident or until the common law damages claim is settled.
In order to lodge a claim for common law damages, you will need to submit an Application for Damages Under Common Law Form besides Personal Injury Benefits Claim Form to the CTP insurer, including a Certificate of Fitness.
Frequently asked questions
You can make a claim for modified common law damages, if you are not the you are not the driver most at fault in the accident and your injury is not a minor (soft-tissue or minor psychological) injury . You will not receive compensation for pain and suffering and the like unless your whole person impairment is assessed as being greater than 10%.
You can contact our expert compensation lawyers who can provide you with tailored advice on your eligibility for making a claim for modified common law damages.
The maximum amount awardable as compensation for pain and suffering and the like in 2017 was $521,000.
Soft tissue injuries are typically those in muscles, tendons, and ligaments but do not include injury to nerves or a complete or partial rupture of tendons, ligaments, menisci or cartilage. Whiplash injury is the most common type to be classified as soft tissue injury and therefore minor injury in the context of claims for motor vehicle accident compensation. Minor psychiatric or psychological injuries, on the other hand, include adjustment disorder and acute stress disorder.
People diagnosed with minor injury as a result of a motor accident are entitled to weekly income support, medical expenses, and domestic and personal care services for a period of 26 weeks after the date of the accident.
If you disagree with the insurer on whether your injuries are minor, contact our team of experienced lawyers who can help you initiate the review process.
To be eligible for weekly benefits for periods of incapacity and medical and treatment expenses from the date of the accident, you should lodge the Application for Personal Injury Benefits to the CTP insurer within 28 days from the date of the accident. You can still lodge this form within 3 months from the date of the accident. In most cases, this will mean you will receive statutory benefits in the form of weekly benefits and treatment and care expenses from the date you lodged the application as opposed to from the date of the accident had you lodged the application within 28 days of the motor vehicle accident.
If you are eligible to make a claim for modified common law damages, you have 3 years from the accident date to make a claim.
No win no fee motor vehicle accident lawyers
Apart from what we have covered, the amount of payout you may obtain at the end of a motor vehicle accident claim can depend on some other factors like your age, the number of days off work and so on. Our team of expert lawyers specialized in motor vehicle accident claims can offer further insight on what you may be entitled to depending on your specific case. Our lawyers’ services also operate on a no win no fee policy, which ensures that you will not be charged by us until your claim is achieved and you get your compensation.