Car Accident Compensation Claims
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be able to make a claim for personal injury compensation under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme. This is governed by the Motor Accidents Compensation Act (NSW) 1999 (MACA) and such claims are overseen by the State Regulatory Insurance Agency (SIRA)
The NSW Compulsory Third Party Scheme only applies to motor vehicle accidents which occur in NSW.
WHO CAN MAKE A CLAIM?
- To make a claim for car accident compensation you must have sustained an injury in a motor vehicle accident.
- You need to be able to demonstrate that the driver or owner of a vehicle, other than you, was partially or completely responsible for the accident.
- Any kind of road user can make such a claim including a driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, motor cyclist, etc.
- If you were partly at fault, you may still be able to make a claim but the compensation you receive will be less than if you were not at fault at all. Examples of where you may be partially at fault include, not wearing a seat, driving whilst drunk, travelling in a vehicle when you know the driver to be drunk, not wearing a helmet when cycling or riding a motor cycle.
There are three (3) special circumstances where you can make a claim under the NSW Compulsory Third Party Scheme regardless of who caused the accident.
- If you are under 16 years of age and a resident of NSW at the time of the accident then you can make a claim for special benefits including the provision of hospital, medical, rehabilitation and attendant care expenses.
- If you were injured in a “blameless accident” you may also be able to make a claim. A blameless accident would include accidents caused by unexplained mechanical vehicle failure, a driver suffering a sudden illness such as a heart attack or an unavoidable collision with an animal on the road. A blameless accident may also be where a pedestrian or cyclist is injured and there is no fault on behalf of the driver of the car.
- If you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident in NSW as a result of the partial or total fault of an unidentified vehicle or an unregistered vehicle then you may still be able to make a claim against the Nominal Defendant.
NOTIFY THE POLICE
You must notify the police of an injury from a car accident within 28 days. Usually the police will turn up to the scene of the accident but if they don’t you must report the accident to the police and obtain an event number.
You should talk to witnesses and obtain the registration details of the vehicle which caused the accident. If you are unable to find out the registration number of the vehicle which caused the accident, then you may be to make a claim against the Nominal Defendant. This would include a hit and run accident. This type of claim is complex and you need to speak to an expert car accident lawyer immediately
HOW TO MAKE A CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in NSW, you need to notify the CTP insurer of the vehicle which was at fault.
You may do this by filling out a claim form. There are 2 types of claim forms:
The Accident Notification Claim Form (ANF)
This entitles an injured person immediately to claim up to $5,000.00 worth of treating medical expenses and/or loss of earnings. You must be able to identify the registration number of the vehicle that caused the accident, have reported the accident to the police within 28 days and obtain an event number.
Once you have completed the Accident Notification Claim Form and sent it to the relevant CTP insurer, then the insurer will let you know within 10 days whether they will pay for early treatment expenses.
The loss of earnings is only payable at the end of the six months from the date of accident and only if the claim does not proceed further. The first priority of the insurer is to pay for medical expenses to assist in your recovery. If you recover and have lost only a short period of time off work and this together with the medical expenses is below $5,000.00, then the insurer will pay for your loss of earnings as well.
However, if it is likely that your treatment expenses and loss of earnings will exceed $5,000.00 or you do not recover from your injuries within six months from the date of accident then you need to complete a Personal Injury Claim Form.
Personal Injury Claim Form
If your treatment expenses and loss of earnings exceed $5,000.00 and/or your condition has not resolved completely within six months from the date of the accident you will also need to complete a personal injury claim form to receive further compensation. This is in addition to the earlier ANF.
This is a much more detailed form requiring you to advise the CTP insurer as to the details of the accident, the details of the parties involved, the injuries sustained and the loss of earnings you have because of the injuries.
You should seek the assistance of an accredited car accident lawyer before the 6-month period has elapsed to see if this form should be completed. It is crucial to complete this form if you want more than $5,000 worth of compensation – and most claims are worth a lot more than $5,000!
To make a claim therefore you need to have undertaken the following:
- Reported the accident to the police within 28 days. If you do not do this you may not be able to make a car accident claim.
- Find out the CTP insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident. The Motor Accidents Authority (Ph: 1300 656 919) can give you the name of the CTP vehicles insurer if you tell them the registration number.
- Complete a personal injury claim form and send it to the CTP insurer within 6 months from the date of the accident.
The claim form can be detailed and complex to complete and if needed you should seek the assistance of your Lawyer to assist you in completing the claim form.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR MAKING A CLAIM?
A personal injury claim form must be completed no later than six months from the date of the accident.
If you do not complete a personal injury claim form within six months (even if you had previously completed an ANF form) then you may not be able to proceed with a claim in the future. You will need leave from the Motor Accidents Authority or the court to proceed with your claim if you have not completed the personal injury claim form and sent it to the CTP insurer within six months from the date of the accident.
You then have a period of 3 years from the date of the accident to either commence a claim in CARS (See Information Sheet on CARS and MAS) or the District Court of NSW, failure to do so may well prevent you from making a claim in the future.
These time limits are very important and should be diarised to ensure your car accident lawyer complies with the time frame. You cannot rely solely on your lawyer to remember these time periods.
Once your claim is received by the CTP insurer they will provide you with a claim number and commence payment of medical expenses whilst they determine if they should accept that their driver was at fault.
If you would like further information about car accident claims, you can;