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Car Accident Injury Lawyers Sydney

Have you been left dealing with injuries suffered from a motor vehicle accident? Are you now looking for specialised road accident lawyers to help you better understand your rights, your eligibility to claim for compensation, how the legal process of making a claim works and how much personal injury compensation you are likely to receive? Then this quick guide from NSW’s premier car accident law firm is the first step toward finding out what you need to know to get your life back on track after your accident.

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Industry Experts: 20+ years of experience

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Key points about car accident compensation

Eligibility

Anyone injured in the accident is eligible to direct their car accident lawyers to apply for injury compensation. This includes the drivers and passengers, riders and pillion passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Injuries can be physical and/or psychological.

Compensation Benefits

Even if the accident was caused by them, a successful claimant can receive income support payments for up to six months. Medical costs can include medical, dental and pharmaceutical expenses, rehabilitation, travel costs to and from appointments, even personal care. 

Time Limits for Claims

To receive back pay following your crash, the CTP insurer needs to receive your claim within 28 days. You can still submit a claim up to three months after the crash, but it’s best to speak to your road accident lawyers and submit your claim as soon as possible.

Fees & Costs

Most compensation lawyers will offer No Win No Fee cost agreements. Make sure you understand how your car accident injury lawyers will charge legal costs, how much will be charged and when the legal costs are payable.

Find out more here.

Who can make a claim?

People who have sustained an injury in a motor vehicle accident in NSW are eligible to make a claim for financial compensation. This option is available to everyone involved in the accident: drivers and passengers, riders and pillion passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. The scheme even covers at-fault drivers judged to have caused the accident for the first six months. 

If your injuries were sustained from an accident with an unidentified vehicle or an unregistered vehicle, you can make still make a CTP claim for personal injury benefits against the “Nominal Defendant”.

Who is not eligible to make a claim?

You are ineligible if your vehicle was uninsured and the accident was mostly (ie. 61% or more) your fault as the driver. You are also ineligible if you have been charged with, or convicted of, a serious driving offence in relation to the accident.

If you are entitled to workers compensation benefits for your injuries, that will exclude you from claiming statutory benefits through the NSW CTP scheme.

Accident verification requirements

To make a successful claim, the motor vehicle accident must be “verified” first.  This requires that the motor accident is reported to NSW Police within 28 days. This is vital because if it isn’t, you may not be able to make a claim for either statutory benefits or common law benefits.

Types of accidents covered by NSW CTP

A motor accident is defined in the Act occurs where the use or operation of a motor vehicle causes death or injury during either:

(a) Driving of the vehicle; or

(b) A collision, or action is taken to avoid a collision with a vehicle; or

(c) The vehicle running out of control; or

(d) A dangerous situation caused by the driving of the vehicle, a collision or action taken to avoid a collision with a vehicle, or a vehicle running out of control. 

These definitions include “blameless” accidents caused, for example, by a driver suffering from a sudden illness (such as a heart attack or stroke), an unexplained mechanical or vehicle failure (eg. brake failure), or a sudden collision with an animal on the road.

NSW CTP insurance covers everyone involved in all these types of accidents including drivers and passengers, motorcycle riders and pillion passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Would you like assistance with your claim?

Complete our free, no obligation confidential case assessment form and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Alternatively, we are available to talk through phone and email. Please contact our experienced workers compensation lawyers to find out how we can help.

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You won’t be required to pay any fees until we win your case.

Industry Experts

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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
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to make a claim for compensation

To make a claim for compensation you need to complete the Application for Personal Injury Benefits Form.  To complete this form you will need the following: –

  • Police event number.
  • Medical certificate showing your fitness for work from your general practitioner.
  • Evidence of your income if you are claiming loss of income
  • Accounts/receipts for medical treatment you have incurred.

Once the form is completed you need to send it to the insurer of the vehicle that you consider is at fault (or if you were at fault, the CTP insurer of your own vehicle).You can do this by contacting the CTP Assist Service on 1300 656 919 and providing them with the registration number of the vehicle at fault.

The CTP Assist Service will then provide you with a name and address of the insurer to send the application form to.  This form should include a completed certificate of fitness form completed by your general practitioner.

2. Is there a time limit for making a claim?

The Application for Personal Injury Benefits Form should be completed within 28 days from the date of the motor vehicle accident.  This will ensure that you receive weekly payments from the date you were unable to work.

You can complete the Application for Personal Injury Benefits Form within three months from the date of the motor vehicle accident however weekly payments will only be commenced from the date you submit the form.  The insurer will also commence payment of medical expenses once you submit the form.

You then have a period of three years from the date of the accident to commence a claim for damages if you are eligible.

These time limits are very important and should be diarised to ensure that you and your lawyer comply with the time limits.

3. What happens next?

  1. The insurer will contact you once you have lodged the claim form, acknowledge receipt and provide advice of the next steps in the process.  This will include providing you with a claim number and the contact details of the insurer.
  2. If you need immediate medical treatment, the insurer will explain what you should do next and how to claim reimbursement for those medical expenses.
  3. The insurer will investigate your claim including reviewing the police report and other evidence they may ask for including medical evidence.
  4. The insurer must tell you within 4 weeks of making claim if they are accepting or declining your claim including a full explanation of their reasons.
  5. If the insurer accepts your claim, they will commence making weekly payments and medical expenses to you within 14 days.

4. What if I disagree with the insurers' decision?

If you disagree with the insurers’ decision you need to request an internal review from the insurer.  This, paperwork will be provided to you with the decision declining your claim.

This will require another person within the insurer (who was not involved in the original decision) to review the matter and make a new decision.

If you are still not satisfied with that outcome you can make an application with SIRA through the Dispute Resolution Service who will appoint an independent person to review the decision on your behalf.  There are limited situations in which legal assistance can be provided.

5. Statutory benefits scheme

Anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident is now entitled to personal injury benefits under a statutory benefits scheme which includes payment of weekly payments and medical expenses. This is similar to the worker’s compensation system.

i.Weekly payments:

Weekly payments compensation is payable by the insurer to you, for income you have lost because of your injury.

Your weekly payments will be payable at a percentage of your pre-accident income.

For the first 13 weeks, you are paid 95% of your pre-injury income.

Between weeks 14 and 26 you are paid up to 80% of your pre-injury income.

At the end of 26 weeks, weekly payments will cease if:-

  • The motor accident was your fault (or mostly your fault, that is the insurer has determined you contributed to the accident by more than 61%); or
  • Your injuries are assessed as being “minor injuries”.

If you are entitled to continue to receive weekly payments after 26 weeks, they will continue at 80% of your pre-injury income.

To be entitled to weekly payments after two years, the injured person must continue to have an ongoing incapacity for work and have lodged a claim for damages.

What is a “minor injury”

There will be a significant argument as to whether an injured motorist has suffered a “minor injury” in accordance with the definition contained in the Act.A “minor injury” is defined as any of the following:-

(a) A soft tissue injury; or
(b) A minor psychological or psychiatric injury.

A soft tissue injury is defined as an injury to the tissue that connects, supports or surrounds or structures or organs of the injury (E.g. muscles, tendons, ligaments, meniscus, cartilage, facia, fibrous tissue, fat, blood vessels and synovial membranes), but not an injury to nerves or a complete or partial rupture of tendons, ligaments, meniscus or cartilage.

A minor psychological injury is defined as a psychological or psychiatric injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness.

If the insurer decides that you have sustained a “minor injury” and you disagree you should contact your lawyer immediately for assistance.

If you accept the insurer’s decision that you have a “minor injury” then statutory benefits of weekly compensation and medical expenses will cease after 26 weeks.

If you have an injury other than a “minor injury” you are entitled to claim further compensation including the following: –

  • Medical expenses and commercial care for life.
    (b)Weekly payments for up to five years.
    (c) Make a claim for common law damages.

ii.Medical expenses:

The insurer will pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses relating to the injury which include: –

  • Medical and pharmaceutical expenses.
  • Rehabilitation and treatment expenses.
  • The cost of travelling to and from appointments.
  • Personal care and help around the home.

No benefits are paid for “gratuitous attendant care services” which means care provided by family and friends which is not paid for.

Medical expenses will cease after 26 weeks if: –

  • The injured person was at fault or mostly at fault (contributory negligence is found to be more than 61%); or
  • The injuries resulting from the motor vehicle accident were minor injuries.

Medical expenses, therefore, will only continue after 26 weeks if you were not at fault in the accident and you have an injury other than a minor injury.

6. Common law damages

You can claim Common Law Damages for your injuries as modified by the MAIA only if: –

  • If you have sustained injuries other than a “minor injury” and
  • The accident was not your fault.

If the insurer accepts both of these requirements, then you can make a claim for common law damages. This entitles you to make a claim for lump sum compensation against the at-fault drivers CTP insurer responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.

To make a common law claim, you must lodge a claim through the at-fault drivers CTP insurer (or the Nominal Defendant if applicable) within three years from the date of accident. As outlined above, lump-sum compensation is only payable for people who have: –

  • More than “minor injuries”; and
  • Were not at fault in the accident.

7. What damages can I claim?

You can claim Common Law Damages for your injuries as modified by the MAIA only if: –

  • If you have sustained injuries other than a “minor injury” and
  • The accident was not your fault.

If the insurer accepts both of these requirements, then you can make a claim for common law damages. This entitles you to make a claim for lump sum compensation against the at-fault drivers CTP insurer responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.

To make a common law claim, you must lodge a claim through the at-fault drivers CTP insurer (or the Nominal Defendant if applicable) within three years from the date of accident. As outlined above, lump-sum compensation is only payable for people who have: –

  • More than “minor injuries”; and
  • Were not at fault in the accident.

8. How to apply for common law damages

You can claim Common Law Damages for your injuries as modified by the MAIA only if: –

  • If you have sustained injuries other than a “minor injury” and
  • The accident was not your fault.

If the insurer accepts both of these requirements, then you can make a claim for common law damages. This entitles you to make a claim for lump sum compensation against the at fault drivers CTP insurer responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.

To make a common law claim, you must lodge a claim through the at fault drivers CTP insurer (or the Nominal Defendant if applicable) within three years from the date of accident. As outlined above, lump sum compensation is only payable for people who have: –

  • More than “minor injuries”; and
  • Were not at fault in the accident.

9. How is my claim for damages determined?

The claim for damages will be determined either by agreement between you and the insurer (with the assistance of a lawyer), or you must lodge an application in the Claims Assessment Resolution Service (CARS) within three years from the date of the accident.  CARS will appoint an independent arbitrator to hear and determine your claim.

As part of the process of making a claim for damages, the insurer will investigate your claim further and obtain information about your medical condition from your treating doctors. The insurer will then arrange for you to be assessed by medical specialists appointed by the insurance company.

They will also ask several questions called “particulars” in relation to the injuries that you have sustained, your impairments and disabilities as well as any loss of income that you are claiming.  This information will assist the insurer to make a reasonable offer of settlement to finalise your claim.

You will need the assistance of a lawyer to resolve your claim for damages.

If you accept an offer of settlement from an insurer and your claim is finalised, then this is a full and final settlement of your rights to non-economic and economic loss.  However, you to be entitled to payment of medical expenses as outlined previously.

Most claims will be dealt with by CARS and determined by an arbitrator.  Only, a very small percentage of claims will go to the District Court of NSW.

10. What legal costs are payable?

In relation to the Statutory Benefits Scheme, there is very limited assistance that can be obtained from a Lawyer.  If you dispute a decision made by the insurer you are able to obtain limited assistance from a Lawyer, depending on the nature of that dispute.

The major decisions that the insurer can make which will affect your ongoing entitlement to compensation will be the following: –

  1. Whether you were at fault or mostly at fault (contributory negligence of 61% or more); and/or
  2. Whether you have a “minor injury”.

If the insurer makes a decision about these matters which is averse to you, then you should seek the assistance of a Lawyer to dispute the insurer’s decision.

If you are entitled to make a claim for common law damages, then the insurer is required to pay a fixed amount of legal costs as determined by the Motor Accidents Legislation.  This amount varies according to the amount of compensation you receive and the stage on which your claim is concluded.

Your Lawyer is permitted to charge an additional amount that may exceed the amount which is payable by the CTP insurer.  If this is the case, then you will be required to pay that additional amount from the compensation that you receive.

You need to make sure you understand how your Lawyer will charge legal costs and disbursements.  This is contained in a Costs Agreement.  How legal fees are charged must be set out in costs agreement between you and your Lawyer.

It is important that you understand exactly how your Lawyer intends to charge legal costs and the amount you will be required to pay the conclusion of your claim.  Most Lawyers will proceed with your claim based on a no win no fee conditional costs agreement.

If you have any questions about the new Motor Accident Scheme or Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation, please feel free to contact us.

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