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Resolving disputes under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act Dispute Resolution Service (for accidents after 1 December 2017)

The DRS has replaced the Medical Assessment Service (MAS) and Claims Assessment Resolution Service (CARS).

Under the new legislation, the DRS will handle all disputes in relation to:

  1. Merit review
  2. Medical assessment
  3. Claims assessment

If you need help with the dispute resolution services under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act, please contact us today.

Merit Review

If a claimant has a dispute with the CTP insurer in relation to a determination made on the claim the claimant must request that the insurer undertake an internal review of their decision.

If the insurer has provided an internal review and has made a determination that the claimant does not agree with, or failed to notify the claimant of the outcome of the review within the specified time frame, or has denied the claimant an internal review the claimant may make an application for a merit review by DRS.

An application for merit review must be made within 28 days of receiving the insurers decision, or if no internal review was made, within 28 days of the end of the period in which the internal review ought to have been made.

Please note, it is not possible to make a request for DRS merit review without first requesting the insurer undertake an internal review. DRS time frames are strict and late applications may not be accepted. You should consult your specialist lawyer for assistance completing your application for DRS merit review.

Once a reply is received by the DRS they will arrange the merit review and assign a merit reviewer. The merit reviewer will provide reasons within 28 days of receiving the complete application.

A claimant or insurer may request the merit review decision be reviewed by a DRS review panel. This application must be made within 21 days of the date of the initial merit review decision.

Medical Assessment

The claimant may make an application for medical assessment by DRS If there is a dispute between the claimant and the insurer in relation to:

  1. Permanent impairment (E.g. level of whole person impairment)
  2. Whether care is reasonably necessary
  3. Whether treatment and care are related to an injury
  4. Whether treatment and care will improve recovery
  5. The degree of earning capacity impairment
  6. Whether the injury sustained is a “minor injury”

However, to be eligible to make a DRS medical assessment application, the claimant must first ask the insurer to conduct an internal review of their decision.

If the insurer has provided an internal review and has made a determination that the claimant does not agree with or failed to notify the claimant of the outcome of the review within the specified time frame, or has denied the claimant an internal review, the claimant can make an application for a medical assessment by DRS to resolve the medical dispute.

How to make an application

The claimant must make the application for medical assessment by DRS within 28 days of receiving the insurers internal review decision or if no internal review was made, within 28 days of the end of the period in which the internal review ought to have been made. DRS time frames are strict and late applications may not be accepted.

Once the claimant makes an application for medical assessment, the insurer has 14 days to reply, except for disputes concerning non-binding opinion medical assessments where the insurer has seven days to reply.

If the insurer does not reply within the stipulated time frame DRS may make a decision without the reply.

The matter will then be assigned to one or more medical assessors. The medical assessment may be on the papers, via teleconference/videoconference, face to face meeting, or by way of medical examination.

Determination of medical assessment

The DRA medical assessor will provide their certificate as soon as practicable, but ideally within 14 days of the client being medically examined, or if no examination, within 14 days of the assessor completing the assessment. However, in some cases the assessor may take longer to provide their certificate.

If there is an obvious error in the certificate either party may request that the assessor corrects the mistake in the certificate.

Once the insurer receives the medical assessment certificate they must inform the claimant of how and when the insurer will give effect to the medical assessment decision as well as the impact of the assessment decision on their claim.

Further medical assessment

A medical assessment conducted by DRS may be referred for another medical assessment if the injury has deteriorated or if there is additional information about the injury. For example, if a claimant was examined as having under 10% whole person impairment, and their condition deteriorated after the initial assessment, the claimant could then make a DRS application for further assessment in the hope of gaining a whole person impairment assessment of over 10%.

Applications for further medical assessment may be brought at any time. However, only one further medical assessment can be made. Therefore, if a claimant’s condition is deteriorating it is important to make sure that the condition has stabilised, and will not get worse, and there will not be a need for surgery in the future. If surgery is required, it is advised that the further medical assessment be postponed until surgery is complete and the medical condition has stabilised.

As a further medical assessment is the last opportunity to be assessed it is important that the claimant discuss their condition with their lawyer, as well as their relevant medical specialists.

Review of medical assessment certificates

Either party may request that the DRS review a single medical assessment by with a single medical assessor or by a review panel if they believe the decision is incorrect in a material respect. Application for a medical assessment review must be made within 28 days of receiving the certificate of the single medical assessor, and only one review may be made of a medical assessment certificate.

Once the application for review is made, a reply may be lodged by the respondent within 14 days of receiving the application. If the reply is late or does not comply with the rules DRS may decline the reply and make a determination without it.

The DRS will review the application, and reply (if applicable) and make a determination as to whether the initial medical assessment was incorrect in a material respect. The matter will then be assigned to a panel of at least two medical assessors. It is possible that the review may include an additional medical examination.

The appeal panel may accept further material that was not available at the initial medical assessment, however it will conduct the review by way of new assessment of all the mattersin question. A claimant wishing to have new material assessed at the review should discuss with their lawyer any implications that this may have on their case.

The review panel will provide their review certificate as soon as practicable, but ideally within 28 days of the review assessment.

Claims Assessment

The claimant may refer a matter to DRS if it is in relation to:

  1. Damages settlement approval
  2. Miscellaneous claims assessment
  3. Damages claims assessment
  4. Further damages claims assessment

Damages settlement approval

If a claimant is not legally represented, the claimant will need to obtain approval from DRS before they can settle their case.

Miscellaneous claims assessment

Miscellaneous disputes include disputes in relation to:

  • Whether the death or injury has resulted from a motor accident in the state of NSW
  • Whether the motor accident concerned was caused by the fault of another person
  • Whether the motor accident was caused by the injured person (contributory negligence)
  • Whether the claimant has suffered minor injuries and is not entitled to statutory benefits after 26 weeks of the date of accident
  • Whether a serious driving offence was committed (no statutory benefits)
  • Whether the claimant has given full and satisfactory response for non-compliance with a duty or for a delay (E.g. not making a claim within the statutory time frame or not reporting the accident to the police within the statutory time frame)
  • Whether the motor accident verification requirements have been complied with

How to make an application:

In order to refer the dispute to the DRS for miscellaneous claims assessment the claimant must first ask the insurer to conduct an internal review of their decision.

If the insurer has provided an internal review and has made a determination that the claimant does not agree with, or failed to notify the claimant of the outcome of the review within the specified time frame, or has denied the claimant an internal review, the claimant can make an application for a miscellaneous claims assessment by DRS to resolve the dispute.

An application for merit review must be made within 28 days of receiving the insurers decision, or if no internal review was made, within 28 days of the end of the period in which the internal review ought to have been made.

The respondent may reply to the application for miscellaneous assessment within seven days for statutory benefit disputes, 14 days for procedural disputes, and 21 days for fault and contributory negligence disputes.

If the respondent does not reply within the stipulated time frame DRS may make a decision without their reply.

The dispute will then be assigned to a dispute resolution officer who will contact all parties and arrange an assessment. The assessment may be on the papers, teleconferences and videoconferences, or face-to-face meetings.

Determination of miscellaneous dispute assessment

The assessor will make a determination as soon as practicable but preferably within seven days of the assessment. The assessor will provide both parties with a certificate and brief statement of reasons for the determination. Either party may request that an obvious error be corrected in the certificate.

Once the insurer receives the medical assessment certificate they must inform the claimant of how and when the insurer will give effect to the dispute assessment decision as well as the impact of the assessment decision on their claim.

Damages claims assessment

Both the claimant and the insurer may refer a claim for damages to the DRS for assessment of pain and suffering and past and future economic loss.

To have damages claims assessed by DRS the claimant must make a claim for common law damages within two years of the date of accident, and the application for claims assessment with DRS must be made within three years of the date of accident.

Further damages claims assessment

Both the claimant and the insurer may refer a claim for damages to the DRS for a further claims assessment where there is significant new evidence produced in court proceedings after a claims assessor has previously assessed a claim.

If you need help with the dispute resolution services under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act, please contact us today.

Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law approved by New South Wales Law Society. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Matthew is also a member of...
Yanthi S.
01:51 18 May 22
I engaged with Garling and Co to assist me for my weekly payment dispute with the insurance. I was upset with Natasha, as she didn't prepare me to the worse outcome or kind of negotiation in the... hearing. I assumed that as a Lawyer she should experience with the process or the way to solve the case. Even though I asked her what should I do or what would be happened in the hearing a week before but she didn't mentioned anything, and told me not do anything. But in the hearing she and the Arbitrator only gave me less than 5 minute to make decision and pushed me to accept the disappointed outcome and what she said totally different with what she said earlier. I don't trust her at all, her words is not consistent.I would like to express my appreciation to Matthew Garling who had stepped in to handle my weekly payment issue with the insurance. He is very professional, knowledgeable, easy to talk to and very humble. My disappointment earlier has melted away by his kindness and caring to resolve my issue which has came out the great outcome. Now I am satisfied with his expertise therefore I would not hesitate to let him to handle the case I might have in the future.read more
Lynda S
00:34 04 May 22
For such complicated matters, it is extremely important to have a good team in your corner. The right team.Garling and co is just that and much more.They listen to you and care. They support you... during the entire process. You will have so many questions and they always return your calls and reply to your emails.Thank you so much to Renee, who explained everything to me and what to expect in details and really reassured me. The process felt less heavy and stressful because she was there. She was professional and so efficient. She took over my case from previous lawyer and I wish I could have met her first. She was available to answer the many questions I had along the way. There is also Kelli, she was the first person I got on the phone most of the time when I called and she is nice and very helpful, I had so many questions and doubts, I was stressed yet she had the patience to explain and seek answers to my questions.Natasha took over my case towards the end and she also was great in listening and supporting me and made sure to defend my best interests against the other side at all time.The Worker’s compensation process is very stressful, it can last for a long period. In my case it was three years and it is to the upmost importance to have people who treats you well, are professional and efficient.I am very satisfied with the outcome and I hope that this reviews helps the next person.Your assistance made the difference and I would have not been able to do it without your precious help.read more
Melinda B.
23:57 04 Apr 22
Workers compensation and the medical-legal process is a complicated and a difficult process.If you are looking for a highly professional compensation/personal injury lawyer, I would without... hesitation definitely recommend Matthew Garling who is a genuine, caring & dedicated lawyer.Matthew, Allison Luck and co. are extremely professional, clear and concise with all communication and an exceptional support during the whole process of my claim, I felt confident and secure that I had made the right decision having Matthew represent me, they worked tirelessly and where 100% committed to getting me the best possible outcome.My case was complicated and Matthew never gave up fighting for me, he didn’t just take the first option for a quick and easy resolution.He and his team got me the best possible outcome for my WPI and I will be forever grateful for their hard work and diligence. I now have peace of mind knowing I have lifetime medical assistance and payment till retirement age.read more
Jim M.
12:25 27 Mar 22
Garling and Co lawyers you have done again with Success for my TPD claim! Ms. Emma Perkins and her team have assisted my TPD claim with great success after the hard work, She is a very down-to-earth... person, professional, and highly knowledgeable with insurance claim law. She is very approachable and always willing to help and often reply my question of email after business hours. I will most delighted to recommend Garling and Co Lawyers. Ms. Emma Perkins and her team to any person who needs insurance claim law service like me. by Julieread more
Anthony N
22:13 17 Mar 22
I had Garling & Co Lawyers handle my workplace dispute, I could not be happier with the outcome, handled in such a professional way with excellent communication throughout the entire process.Natasha... and Kelli were very understanding in every aspect, requesting information via phone or email was never an issue, fast response times and helpful in every way. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the team @ Garling & Co Lawyers. 👍read more
Yvonne M.
05:03 21 Jan 22
Zee
14:20 15 Jan 22
I would like to thank the entire team at Garling and Co for being in my corner throughout the worst years I've experienced in my life.I chose Garling and Co in the end after being seriously injured... at work and needing representation, something I should have done years prior.I met with over 12 other legal firms in Sydney. Large,medium, small and all in between. Some were friends, some family, some were sharks, many were pressuring, many promised the world, Matthew was not like that.Matthew was the benchmark as he was one of the first I spoke with and ultimately he stood out in the end as I felt he was the most genuine.From the outset to the conclusion, I found Matthew to be very polite, easy to communicate with and extremely down to earth.He explained everything simply, he had answers for any questions along the way. He told me it how it was, not just what I wanted to hear.Matthew is a genuine nice guy that runs a very efficient and professional law firm. I made the correct choice engaging him in my claims and would not hesitate in recommending him.Renee was also terrific in handling my TPD claim which was literally finalised faster then international postage.Allison, Rebecca and Kelli were all great, always.Thanks again Garling and Co.read more
mark S.
06:30 23 Dec 21
I found from my very first meeting With Matthew that he was upfront honest and to the point . He thoroughly investigated my claim and we agreed too proceed.The staff at Garling and Co are wonderful... and helpful and I was kept informed and upto date from day one till the end .They made me feel confident and secure and I know I had the best team possible for my best outcome .I can’t thank Matthew and the team for their wonderful serviceread more
Daniel F.
08:48 10 Nov 21
My wife suffered psychological injury.Never having similar experience she had to get legal advice.Workers compensation law is complex and she needed someone to help her navigate her way through.... There are many compensation lawyers but not all with enough experience and strong reputation . We have finally decided to go with Matthew and his team based on the independent website reviews .Looking back now we have made the right choice .There is lot of hurdles and having trustworthy lawyer with great communication skills on your side can make huge difference .My wife can now try to move on with the compensation she deserved.Thanks to Matthew ,Allison ,Emma,Rebecca and rest of the team. Thank you again.Daniel and Veerayaread more
K B.
07:35 28 Oct 21
When you work for an employer for a number of decades and suffer a debilitating injury, you expect compassion, support and belief that you are genuine. When you don’t get that and then also have to... deal with Workers Compensation Insurers it slowly breaks you.That's when you need amazing support like Matthew Garling and his team. From my first meeting with Matthew I was confident I was referred to the right guy. I couldn’t be more pleased with my outcome. Matthew is the Guru of workers compensation, he is professional, easy to work with, nothings a bother and most importantly he gets great results. Do not think twice about using Garling and Co Lawyers.Thank you Matthew, Renee, Allison and Kelli for your invaluable support.read more
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Yanthi S.
01:51 18 May 22
I engaged with Garling and Co to assist me for my weekly payment dispute with the insurance. I was upset with Natasha, as she didn't prepare me to the worse outcome or kind of negotiation in the... hearing. I assumed that as a Lawyer she should experience with the process or the way to solve the case. Even though I asked her what should I do or what would be happened in the hearing a week before but she didn't mentioned anything, and told me not do anything. But in the hearing she and the Arbitrator only gave me less than 5 minute to make decision and pushed me to accept the disappointed outcome and what she said totally different with what she said earlier. I don't trust her at all, her words is not consistent.I would like to express my appreciation to Matthew Garling who had stepped in to handle my weekly payment issue with the insurance. He is very professional, knowledgeable, easy to talk to and very humble. My disappointment earlier has melted away by his kindness and caring to resolve my issue which has came out the great outcome. Now I am satisfied with his expertise therefore I would not hesitate to let him to handle the case I might have in the future.read more
Lynda S
00:34 04 May 22
For such complicated matters, it is extremely important to have a good team in your corner. The right team.Garling and co is just that and much more.They listen to you and care. They support you... during the entire process. You will have so many questions and they always return your calls and reply to your emails.Thank you so much to Renee, who explained everything to me and what to expect in details and really reassured me. The process felt less heavy and stressful because she was there. She was professional and so efficient. She took over my case from previous lawyer and I wish I could have met her first. She was available to answer the many questions I had along the way. There is also Kelli, she was the first person I got on the phone most of the time when I called and she is nice and very helpful, I had so many questions and doubts, I was stressed yet she had the patience to explain and seek answers to my questions.Natasha took over my case towards the end and she also was great in listening and supporting me and made sure to defend my best interests against the other side at all time.The Worker’s compensation process is very stressful, it can last for a long period. In my case it was three years and it is to the upmost importance to have people who treats you well, are professional and efficient.I am very satisfied with the outcome and I hope that this reviews helps the next person.Your assistance made the difference and I would have not been able to do it without your precious help.read more
Melinda B.
23:57 04 Apr 22
Workers compensation and the medical-legal process is a complicated and a difficult process.If you are looking for a highly professional compensation/personal injury lawyer, I would without... hesitation definitely recommend Matthew Garling who is a genuine, caring & dedicated lawyer.Matthew, Allison Luck and co. are extremely professional, clear and concise with all communication and an exceptional support during the whole process of my claim, I felt confident and secure that I had made the right decision having Matthew represent me, they worked tirelessly and where 100% committed to getting me the best possible outcome.My case was complicated and Matthew never gave up fighting for me, he didn’t just take the first option for a quick and easy resolution.He and his team got me the best possible outcome for my WPI and I will be forever grateful for their hard work and diligence. I now have peace of mind knowing I have lifetime medical assistance and payment till retirement age.read more
Jim M.
12:25 27 Mar 22
Garling and Co lawyers you have done again with Success for my TPD claim! Ms. Emma Perkins and her team have assisted my TPD claim with great success after the hard work, She is a very down-to-earth... person, professional, and highly knowledgeable with insurance claim law. She is very approachable and always willing to help and often reply my question of email after business hours. I will most delighted to recommend Garling and Co Lawyers. Ms. Emma Perkins and her team to any person who needs insurance claim law service like me. by Julieread more
Anthony N
22:13 17 Mar 22
I had Garling & Co Lawyers handle my workplace dispute, I could not be happier with the outcome, handled in such a professional way with excellent communication throughout the entire process.Natasha... and Kelli were very understanding in every aspect, requesting information via phone or email was never an issue, fast response times and helpful in every way. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the team @ Garling & Co Lawyers. 👍read more
Yvonne M.
05:03 21 Jan 22
Zee
14:20 15 Jan 22
I would like to thank the entire team at Garling and Co for being in my corner throughout the worst years I've experienced in my life.I chose Garling and Co in the end after being seriously injured... at work and needing representation, something I should have done years prior.I met with over 12 other legal firms in Sydney. Large,medium, small and all in between. Some were friends, some family, some were sharks, many were pressuring, many promised the world, Matthew was not like that.Matthew was the benchmark as he was one of the first I spoke with and ultimately he stood out in the end as I felt he was the most genuine.From the outset to the conclusion, I found Matthew to be very polite, easy to communicate with and extremely down to earth.He explained everything simply, he had answers for any questions along the way. He told me it how it was, not just what I wanted to hear.Matthew is a genuine nice guy that runs a very efficient and professional law firm. I made the correct choice engaging him in my claims and would not hesitate in recommending him.Renee was also terrific in handling my TPD claim which was literally finalised faster then international postage.Allison, Rebecca and Kelli were all great, always.Thanks again Garling and Co.read more
mark S.
06:30 23 Dec 21
I found from my very first meeting With Matthew that he was upfront honest and to the point . He thoroughly investigated my claim and we agreed too proceed.The staff at Garling and Co are wonderful... and helpful and I was kept informed and upto date from day one till the end .They made me feel confident and secure and I know I had the best team possible for my best outcome .I can’t thank Matthew and the team for their wonderful serviceread more
Daniel F.
08:48 10 Nov 21
My wife suffered psychological injury.Never having similar experience she had to get legal advice.Workers compensation law is complex and she needed someone to help her navigate her way through.... There are many compensation lawyers but not all with enough experience and strong reputation . We have finally decided to go with Matthew and his team based on the independent website reviews .Looking back now we have made the right choice .There is lot of hurdles and having trustworthy lawyer with great communication skills on your side can make huge difference .My wife can now try to move on with the compensation she deserved.Thanks to Matthew ,Allison ,Emma,Rebecca and rest of the team. Thank you again.Daniel and Veerayaread more
K B.
07:35 28 Oct 21
When you work for an employer for a number of decades and suffer a debilitating injury, you expect compassion, support and belief that you are genuine. When you don’t get that and then also have to... deal with Workers Compensation Insurers it slowly breaks you.That's when you need amazing support like Matthew Garling and his team. From my first meeting with Matthew I was confident I was referred to the right guy. I couldn’t be more pleased with my outcome. Matthew is the Guru of workers compensation, he is professional, easy to work with, nothings a bother and most importantly he gets great results. Do not think twice about using Garling and Co Lawyers.Thank you Matthew, Renee, Allison and Kelli for your invaluable support.read more
University of Technology, Sydney
Member of Law Society of New South Wales
Law Society of NSW Specialist Accreditation
University of Sydney
Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales
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