In this information sheet, we outline the process for making a personal injury claim following a motor vehicle accident, your treatment options and the time limits that apply.
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may have rights to claim statutory benefits and/or common law damages.
Claims for statutory benefits are available to all those injured in a motor vehicle accident except those who:
⦁ have a workers compensation claim, or
⦁ have been charged with or convicted of a serious driving offence, or
⦁ where the claimant is the owner or driver of an uninsured motor vehicle.
The statutory benefits available include:
⦁ Medical expenses, provided they are reasonable, necessary and related to the injuries caused by the accident
⦁ Income support payments if you were an ‘earner’ at the time of the accident and have suffered income loss
Common law claims
A common law claim for damages is only available for claims for payment of non-economic loss such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of life expectancy and disfigurement; and certain economic losses such as loss of earning capacity. No damages are available at common law for past and future treatment expenses.
A claimant cannot make a claim for common law damages until 20 months have elapsed from the date of the accident and the injuries caused by the motor vehicle accident are greater than 10% whole person impairment.
Once the insurer is notified, they can approve a GP visit and 2 treatment sessions such as for physiotherapy without further documents.
During the first 13 weeks of your recovery, you are entitled to receive 95% of your pre-accident weekly earnings (less any earnings from work).
From 14 weeks until 26 weeks you are entitled to receive 80-85% of your pre-accident weekly earnings (less any earnings from work).
After six months your income support payments will cease if you were at fault, mostly at fault or your injuries are assessed as ‘minor injuries’ by the insurer. ‘Mostly at fault’ is defined to mean where the claimant’s contributory negligence is assessed at more than 61%. If the contributory negligence is assessed at 61% or less statutory benefits can be reduced according to the level of fault. Medical expenses can continue for some types of claims – if you were partly at fault, your income support payments may reduce.
After 20 months, for ongoing income support you should consider making an application for damages (lump sum compensation).
At 2 years, income support payments will stop if an application for damages (lump sum compensation) has not been made.
Yes. A claim for damages must be made within 3 years of the date of accident.
1. Record the registration number of the vehicle that you think caused the accident (if possible)
2. Report the incident to the Police on the Police Assistance Line or on 13 14 44 as soon as possible (but within 28 days of the accident) and obtain the Police Event number
3. If you have not received medical treatment, report to your G.P. as soon as possible
4. Timelines apply so it is important to engage and instruct a lawyer as soon as possible
Personal injury following a motor vehicle accident is a complex area of Law that is constantly changing. If your injury does not seem to be improving or you have any questions about your entitlements, please contact us at the Law Office of Conrad Curry.