I’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident – what steps should I take right now?
Published on May 29, 2023 by Kate Latham
We want to make it easy for you to understand your rights to compensation and the steps to take if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in NSW. At a time when you are most likely not feeling your best physically and psychologically, the process might be overwhelming. With this easy guide from Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, you can follow the step by step the process you should take if you have been injured as a consequence of a motor vehicle accident in NSW.
Who can make a claim?
Anyone that is injured in a motor vehicle accident in NSW can apply for statutory compensation benefits. This includes those ‘at fault’ drivers as well as ‘not at fault drivers, passengers, riders and pillion passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Step 1 – Report the motor vehicle accident to police.
You should report the motor vehicle accident to police as soon as possible and obtain an event number from them. It’s important that you do this within 28 days. You should also exchange details with the other driver, including obtaining their name, contact details and relevant compulsory third party (CTP) and comprehensive insurer. If police are unable or not required to attend the accident scene, you can report either by attending your local police station or contacting the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.
Step 2 – Seek medical attention.
If you have been injured but do not require an ambulance to be transported to hospital from the scene of the accident, it is important to attend your General Practitioner or an Emergency Department to see a doctor as soon as possible. You should also ask your doctor to complete a certificate of fitness. This form should be completed regardless of whether you are working at the time of the accident or not.
Step 3 – Make a claim for personal injury benefits.
You should complete an Application for personal injury benefits form and provide this form to the relevant CTP insurer, that is, the CTP insurer of the vehicle that you consider caused the motor vehicle accident. This can be done by providing the completed form with your certificate of fitness to the CTP insurer by email. The claim must be lodged within three months after the date of the accident, or within 28 days if you want to claim loss of earnings from the day following your motor vehicle accident, if you have been unable to return to work. Once you have lodged the Application with the insurer, they have 4 weeks to assess your claim.
What am I entitled to if I make a claim for personal injury benefits?
You are entitled to 52 weeks of benefits for:
- Reasonable and necessary medical and treatment expenses;
- Weekly payments of compensation for your loss of earnings;
- Paid domestic and personal care if you need assistance while you recover from your injuries.
Reasonable and necessary medical and treatment expenses
The insurer may pay for things such as medical, dental and pharmacy expenses, rehabilitation treatment such as physiotherapy and the costs associated with you travelling to and from these appointments.
Weekly payments of compensation for your loss of earnings
Weekly payments of compensation are paid to you as a percentage of your pre-accident earnings.
(i) For the first 13 weeks the maximum is 95 per cent of your pre-accident earnings;
(ii) After 14 weeks the maximum is 85 per cent of your pre-accident earnings and the amount will depend on whether you have total or partial loss of earning capacity.
(iii) After one year, weekly payments of compensation will end if you were at fault or most at fault for the accident or your injuries are assessed as ‘threshold’ injuries as defined by the Motor Accidents Injuries Act 2017 (NSW) which defines them as soft tissue injuries or a psychological or psychiatric injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness.
Paid domestic and personal care if you need assistance while you recover from your injuries
While there is no entitlement to payment of gratuitous attendant care services, that is, care that is provided to you by a family member or friend that you have not been required to pay for, the insurer may pay for paid domestic and personal care if you require professional assistance at home while you recover for your injuries.
It is important for you to seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that you have secured your entitlements. Contact us at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers on 1800 059 278 or via our Contact Page if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and one of our lawyers will assist you. You can also complete our Personal Injury Claim Check here.