Information provided by LHD Lawyers
When you have an accident while riding you may be taken to hospital by ambulance to receive treatment and to start recovery. But then what? Was it your fault? What else should you be doing?
When you are NOT at fault you are entitled to benefits. Even if they don’t have insurance you will still be entitled to claim as the government will pick up the tab. But you need to do certain things to protect those entitlements.
Why you should make a claim
Third party insurance or CTP green slip insurance is compulsory when a car is registered, When a claim is made there is automatic cover subject to an acceptance of liability. A claim does not create an increase in premium or have a negative impact on the community.
Since government changes in 1999 third party insurer’s profits margins have increased substantially. Premiums have remained at high levels while payments to injured persons have been reduced.
Depending on the seriousness of an injury it may take months to years to know the full effects of the injury and how you will progress in the long term. Many people do not lodge a claim form early as they believe they will get better. Although that may happen, it doesn’t always and when the claim form is lodged outside the initial 6 months it becomes difficult to have the claim accepted by the insurer.
Even if you feel you have a minor injury or feel it will improve, to protect your rights you should ensure the claim form is lodged within 6 months. Then you have three years to see whether your condition resolves or develops.
But what do you have to do?
An insurer or doctor may tell you to lodge a form with the insurance company which is a double sided form called an accident notification form. That will cover you for medical expenses up to $5,000. However that will not register the claim. Under the Act you must lodge a claim form (which is 13 pages long) within 6 months of the accident. Even if you think you may be OK or will recover quickly, it is important to lodge that form within 6 months. Once registered you then have three (3) years from the date of the accident to see how your condition progresses. If you fail to lodge that form within 6 months of the accident you will need to provide the insurer with a very good explanation for lodging the form late, which may not be good enough. So even if you’re uncertain, ALWAYS lodge the claim form. You can download a form off the LHD Lawyers website.
When your condition starts to settle down and even sometimes before, an insurance company may try to settle your claim early. They have obligations under the Act to try and resolve claims quickly. Unfortunately the offer provided will usually be very modest and very difficult to understand. They will often include payments for medical treatment paid for by them and it may be very difficult to understand how much you actually receive.
There is no requirement for an insurer to suggest you obtain independent legal advice in relation to any offer so when considering the offer it will only be their view of your entitlements. Once you sign the settlement documents it finalises all your entitlements and is a full and final settlement. That means once you settle that is it.
The Motorcycle Council strongly advises all members that before you accept any offer by an insurer that you obtain legal advice about the offer first. Should you have any questions about this contact the Motorcycle Council or LHD Lawyers.
What are you entitled to?
Under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act you have a number of entitlements to claim. They fall under four main types:
Pain and suffering:
If you reach certain levels of disability then you may be entitled to claim for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the crash and the treatment that follows. These claims take into account how the crash has affected you physically and emotionally and what potential problems you will have in the future.
Loss of income:
If as a result of the crash you suffer loss of income in the past or future then you are able to claim for that loss. A claim may even be available if there is the possibility of loss. It is based on a net loss per week and potentially available to retirement age.
You are entitled to claim the cost of your medical expenses that have been incurred in the past and also into the future. Those expenses can include Doctor’s accounts, physiotherapy, massage and medication.
When you are unable to perform work around the house as a result of an accident you are able to claim for someone to come in the house and perform those tasks. That claim is available for care that has been required into the past and also into the future based on the care that is recommended by Doctors.
Injuries on the way to or from work
If you have suffered injury on the way to or from work and it is NOT your fault, not only are you entitled to a motor vehicle accident claim, you will also be entitled to claim under the Workers Compensation Act.
If you are off work because of the injury, your employer’s insurer will pay you weekly payments until you return to work. You are also entitled to recover your medical expenses incurred.
In addition you may also be entitled to lump sum compensation payable on the level of injury you have suffered as determined by Doctors.
Although both sets of rights are available you may not be able to claim both and may have to choose between one or the other. This is one of the reasons the Motorcycle Council of NSW strongly recommends that you obtain legal advice to assist you in that decision making process.