Whenever the driver or owner of a vehicle commits a negligent act that results in death or injury to a fellow motorist, passenger or pedestrian, this gives rise to a claim for damages under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999.
It is important to note that you have immediate obligations under the motor accidents legislation if you wish to bring a claim. The accident must be reported to Police within twenty-eight (28) days. There are further, somewhat onerous requirements, if you allege that the accident occurred as a result of the negligence of an unidentified vehicle.
There is a further requirement to complete and submit your Personal Injury Claim Form to the relevant insurer no later than six (6) months after the date of the accident. An insurer may reject a claim which is commenced out of time, in which case a full and satisfactory explanation will need to be provided.
A person that is injured in a motor vehicle accident has rights and entitlements to recover damages for past and future loss of earnings; past and future medical/out-of-pocket expenses; travel expenses; general damages/pain and suffering; past and future loss of superannuation benefits; and the cost of domestic care and assistance (whether provided for free by family and friends or paid for on a commercial basis).
A CTP insurer has 3 months from the date of lodgement of the claim to make a determination on liability. If the CTP insurer denies liability for your claim, the matter will need to be referred to the Local, District or Supreme Court for a Judge or Magistrate to determine who was at fault and the amount of any damages that should be awarded.
Sometimes an insurer will allege that the accident was partly the fault of the claimant. If the insurer says that your own actions contributed to the accident to the degree of 25% or more, then the matter will need to be determined by a Court at first instance.
If the insurer admits that its insured driver was at fault, it will usually take responsibility for all your ongoing medical expenses. In this case, it is important to discontinue the use of your Medicare card and provide all your treatment providers with your claim number so that payments can properly be made by the liable entity.
If an insurer admits that its driver was at fault, the proceedings will be dealt with in a more administrative and paper-driven fashion. The only matter to determine will be the amount of damages that should be paid to you. We will initially endeavour to strike an agreement with the insurer as to the level of your monetary entitlements. If agreement cannot be reached, an application will be made to the Claims and Assessment and Resolution Service (CARS) to resolve the dispute as to quantum. CARS will appoint a suitably qualified and experienced lawyer or barrister to act independently, assess your claim, and make a determination. Once that determination is made, you may elect to have your case determined by a Court. However, it is important to note that such an election may carry certain costs implications. If the insurer is unhappy with the initial CARS decision, it will usually be stuck with the assessment and be obliged to pay the award of damages to the injured claimant.
We have many years of experience in personal injury and motor accident claims. Parramatta City Legal prides itself on ensuring all its clients receive the best legal support to preserve and maximise all their rights and entitlements. Whenever a claim for damages is brought against a CTP insurer, it applies significant funds towards lawyers, private inquiry agents, doctors, specialists and liability experts/engineers in an attempt to reduce or defeat your claim.
It is important that you retain the right solicitor or lawyer with the requisite experience, skills knowledge and resources to act on your behalf in your claim against the profit driven insurers. We can happily provide that support in a friendly and cost-effective manner. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.