If you have been injured in a car accident, you may encounter a very stressful time. While recovering from your injury and any trauma that you have experienced should be at the top of your agenda, it’s important to remember that lodging a motor vehicle accident claim can help you access the compensation you may be entitled to.
Navigating your way through complex legal processes is the last thing you need in these stressful times. To complicate things even more, the legislation that applies to traffic accident claims regularly changes and evolves, making the process even harder to understand. However, the team at McDonnell Schroder is ready to guide you throughout the whole process, making sure you can give your full focus to your recovery. We’ve written this comprehensive article to walk you through every element of the motor vehicle accident claims process, making sure you know what to expect every step of the way.
Can I Make A Claim?
Under the Compulsory Third Party scheme, or CTP, if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in New South Wales, you are able to lodge a claim to secure compensation. Regardless of whether you were driving at the time, were cycling, or were even a pedestrian at the time, you are able to lodge a claim if you were injured in a car accident.
If you are able to prove that the driver of another vehicle was at fault, you will likely be able to access the full range of compensation available. However, it’s important to note that if you were partly at fault, you are still able to lodge a motor vehicle accident claim, but the benefits you are entitled to are unlikely to be as significant.
What Is The Process?
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident in New South Wales, you may be eligible to immediately claim up to $5,000 to compensate for your lost earnings and cover the cost of your treatment through an Accident Notification Form (ANF). However, if you wish to claim damages that exceed $5,000 or are not covered by the ANF, a claim must be lodged. The process of claiming from a car accident requires the individual to pass through a number of detailed steps.
Firstly, you must ensure you report the accident to the police within 4 weeks of the incident, and you must find out the registration number and CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault. Following this, you must fill out a personal injury claim form and deliver it to the CTP insurer of the vehicle that the claim is being made against. This should be completed within 6 months of the accident.
Alternatively, you can directly lodge your application for a traffic accident claim with the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, the peak motor accident authority in New South Wales. To lodge this traffic accident claim, you will need to provide the following details:
What Can I Claim For?
Importantly, motor vehicle accident compensation in New South Wales covers both physical injuries and psychological injuries. While emotional stress is commonly experienced following a traffic accident, it cannot be explicitly claimed for, as only diagnosable mental health conditions can be accounted for.
The broad categories that you may be able to claim motor vehicle accident compensation for include:
Hospital, Medical and Rehabilitation Costs
These costs may include the fee payable for an ambulance call out, the costs of surgery or private medical care, and any physiotherapy or related rehabilitation costs.
Travel and Accommodation Costs
If you incurred any accommodation or travel costs as a result of being injured in a car accident, the CTP insurer is liable to cover these costs.
Pain and Suffering
The Motor Vehicle Compensation Act also requires the CTP insurer to cover some non-economic losses faced by the individual. The sum payable will be determined by considering your experience compared to those of the greatest severity.
Loss Of Income
If your involvement in a motor vehicle accident has directly resulted in a loss of income, you are eligible to claim for this. The initial five days you take off work are not eligible for compensation, but any further time required away from work will be factored into the sum you receive.
Costs Of Gratuitous, Respite and Attendant Care
Should you receive any care from a family member, friend, or professional for more than 6 hours each week for at least a 6-month period, you are eligible to claim for these expenses.
Medical expenses incurred, care-related fees, and travel and accommodation costs may be subject to ongoing payments, and they are known as statutory benefits. However, expenses for pain and suffering are often subject to a lump sum payment and are known as damages. Loss of income expenses often vary in nature, with some traffic accident claims requiring ongoing payments, while others simply require a single lump sum.
How Much Might I Be Entitled To?
The level of compensation that can be claimed from a traffic accident claim is dependent upon the severity of the injuries that occurred and the level of costs incurred by the individual. While the average payout from over 9100 traffic accident claims in the 12 months leading to May 2022 was more than $90,000, this does not account for the great variation of severity in these cases.
For example, when claiming from a car accident, an individual may be entitled to the maximum compensation available for pain and suffering, which is a $595,000 lump sum fee. However, it’s crucial to recognise that both physical and psychological injuries are subject to classification depending on their severity, and they will be labelled as either minor or major.
Minor injuries, particularly of a physical nature, will typically see an individual receive a lower level of compensation and will require them to take only a short period of time off work, resulting in relatively smaller sums of motor vehicle accident compensation. It’s important to remember that the level of compensation you can expect to receive is inherently linked to the severity of your injuries and the impact that it has on your life.
Who Is Eligible?
For motor vehicle accidents in New South Wales, the individual not at fault for the incident is eligible to make a traffic accident claim, as is an individual that is partly at fault. It’s not just drivers that are able to lodge these claims though, as any road user, including pedestrians and cyclists, is eligible. Any individual that witnesses a motor vehicle accident that results in a death is also eligible to make a claim for nervous shock, a common psychiatric disorder that occurs in particularly traumatic events. Close family members of a victim may also be entitled to make a claim under this condition.
Under the renewed legislation, children under the age of 16 that are injured in a car accident are also eligible to make a claim under the Children’s Special Benefit Scheme. This entitles them to a range of benefits, covering their hospital, medical, pharmaceutical, and rehabilitation costs, as well as any respite or attendant care they receive.
How Long Will The Process Take?
The duration of a traffic accident claim can vary if they are very severe or complex, but generally, you can expect the CTP insurer to send an initial letter to you within four weeks. This letter will explain whether your claim has been accepted or rejected, and it will indicate what motor vehicle accident compensation you are entitled to receive.
Within 14 days of this decision, you will receive compensatory payments from the insurer. However, some cases can be more complex, and on occasion, they may be subject to a court case to determine an outcome.
Do You Need Help With A Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and would like to lodge a claim, please don’t hesitate to reach out to expert team at McDonnell Schroder. With a wealth of experience in the cases, our team can walk you through every step of the claims process, making sure you have a stress-free experience.