Every person is unique and so too is each personal injury claim. However, in over 20 years of practice in personal injury law, there are some common questions clients have when they enquire about bringing a claim.
Motor Vehicle Injury claims
Q – I just want to speak with a lawyer about whether I have a claim, is that possible and how much will it cost?
A – The short answer is yes, and it is free. We offer a free initial consultation with no time limit on how long that consultation may take. Some law firms offer a 15 or even 30 minute free consultation, however we appreciate that it may take longer than this to extract all the relevant information and any potential claims. We don’t want clients to feel rushed or that they only have a limited amount of time to tell their story – everyone’s story is important no matter how long it may take to tell.
Q – Will I have to go to Court?
A – It is very unlikely. The vast majority of motor vehicle accident claims are resolved ‘out of court’ by way of formal negotiations, in the form of a settlement conference or mediation, or by way of informal negotiation between the parties. The laws and scheme governing motor vehicle accident claims are well developed and are designed to encourage the parties to focus on resolving matters in a timely manner.
Q – Who is entitled to claim for a motor vehicle accident?
A – If you suffer personal injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident and were not at fault, then you are entitled to bring a personal injury claim. Ordinarily, this includes other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicycle riders, motorcyclists, bus passengers and other road users. However, the list is not exhaustive and it is important that you seek legal advice if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, which can also include injuries suffered in the course of taking action to avoid a motor vehicle collision.
Q – Are there time limits to bringing a motor vehicle claim?
A – Yes. The time limit to commence a claim, by serving a claim form on the relevant insurer of the vehicle at fault, is the earlier of:-
- 1 month from first consulting a lawyer about bringing a claim; or
- 9 months from the date of the accident.
If a claim form is served outside this timeframe, a reasonable excuse for the delay needs to be provided. Most importantly however, court proceedings must be commenced (usually after settlement negotiations are not successful) within 3 years from the date of an accident.
Q – Who will pay for my treatment costs?
A – The short answer is, the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault for the motor vehicle accident. Once a person’s claim form is ‘deemed’ compliant by the insurer (in other words it has been completed correctly and sent to the correct CTP insurer), the insurer has 6 months to investigate the accident and provide their determination on liability. In other words, they need to decide whether or not they accept fault for the accident. Once an insurer admits liability, they then have an obligation to fund ‘reasonable and appropriate treatment’, which often includes physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, surgery, related travel and the like. However, in our experience the various CTP insurers will agree to fund reasonable rehabilitation and treatment as soon as a compliant claim form is received by the insurer, despite pending liability investigations. Accordingly, it is important to seek advice early so that claim forms can be served and an injured person’s out-of-pocket expenses minimised.
Contact Us Today
Whilst I have highlighted a few of the common questions we receive from clients, it is important to note that there are many questions that people may have when injured in a motor vehicle accident and it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible so that your questions may be answered, and your rights protected.
This article was written by Kane Stegeman, a Director of GKS Law and an experienced Compensation and Insurance Lawyer who can assist you with any aspect of claiming a TPD benefit through Super.