In NSW, people injured in motor vehicle accidents are able to claim for time of work, medical treatment and costs associated with recovery. What you can get and for how long is determined by the severity of your injuries and whether the accident was your fault or another’s.
When should I make a claim?
As soon as possible! You can lodge an Application for Personal Injury Benefits which should be done within 28 days from the accident. The accident also needs to be reported to police within 28 days.
Statutory Benefits Claim
If you are injured in a motor accident in NSW, you can claim for statutory benefits. These ‘benefits’ are:
- Payment for your lost wages: these are based on your pre-injury wages, but you do not receive 100%. Up to 13 weeks after the accident, you can receive 95% of your wages. This is reduced to 85% after 14 weeks. There are other amounts that are capped.
- Medical treatment expenses: such as surgery, physiotherapy, doctor appointments and medications;
- Paid care and domestic services: such as nursing care, gardeners and cleaners.
These benefits can be claimed for up to 6 months for minor injuries. If your injury is more serious, you can claim for longer. NSW law determines whether a person has minor injuries or not. Because of the severe consequences which attach to having a minor injury, it is common for people to seek legal representation about this.
Common Law Claim
For people who suffer serious injuries, they may be entitled to claim for common law damages. These can include:
- Loss of income for the past and for the future (including covering the past unpaid percentage of wages from the statutory benefit claim)
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life
- Compensation for any scarring or disfigurement
These damages will result in a lump sum amount of compensation. This can be quite significant, depending on the severity of the injuries and impact the accident has had on your life.
In order to be eligible for common law damages, you must receive a whole person impairment (WPI) score from the IME of at least 11%. You will be assessed by an Independent Medical Expert (IME) doctor to determine whether you have a WPI of at least 11%
A common law claim is not made until a much later date, usually about 20 months after the accident has occurred. The reason that these claims are made so long after the accident, is to ensure the individual has reached maximum medical improvement.
When should I speak with a lawyer?
The scheme is designed for individuals to work with the insurer for the statutory benefits part of the claim. People often engage lawyers with statutory benefit claims where there is a dispute about:
- An insurer classifying their injury as a minor injury.
- An insurer refusing to pay for a particular medical treatment.
- The insurer refusing to pay statutory benefits for time off work, or for the amount an insurer pays.
You should engage a lawyer to help with a common law claim. These claims can be complex and worth a lot to a person. Common law claims often involves disputes with an insurer about:
- Whether the person meets the 11% WPI test.
- The extent of the person’s injuries.
- The amount of future loss of earnings compensation a person is entitled to.
- The amount of damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and scarring and disfigurement a person is entitled to.
Accidents while travelling to work
The law says that a person injured travelling to work should be paid workers compensation. This includes a “journey claim” which can be the usual travel from home to work. An accident while traveling to work may be covered by the workers compensation insurer, particularly if it is work related travel and is on the most direct route without any stops. The motor accident insurer will require you to make a claim on your workers compensation insurer.
If your accident did happen while you were travelling to work, you should raise it with the motor accident insurer claims manager to find out if you should make a claim for workers compensation.
We can also help you work out whether workers compensation will need to be involved in your claim.
We provide an initial free appointment for new clients, which can help us understand the nature of your claim, and help you decide if you would like to pursue the claim.
For a NSW motor accident claim, there are two different types of costs, depending on whether you only claim for statutory benefits, or if you also claim for common law damages.
We offer no win/no fee arrangements on a wide range of matters. You will have to pay for things like expert evidence and medical records, but it will cost you nothing to speak with one of our lawyers about what has happened to you. We can discuss the fees for your particular claim with you so you know what to expect.
Who you will work with
You will work with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers:
- Matt Bridger is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law and has over 25 years of experience representing people in personal injury claims.
- Tom Maling is a former Registered Nurse with a strong interest in health and medical law, and is experienced in motor accident cases in NSW and the ACT.
- Gabby Bridger has worked with elringtons since 2014, has a background in psychology and has worked on a range of personal injury and motor accident claims.
To contact us or to make an appointment in either our Canberra or Queanbeyan office: