Hurt in a road accident?
If you’ve suffered as the result of a road accident, you’ll understand the stress, pain and tragedy accidents can cause. Sadly, the experience can often be made even worse afterwards when dealing with insurance companies. Below are a few common questions you might want answers to before you gain legal advice.
Which injuries are covered?
All physical injuries, as long as there is a connection between the injury and the motor vehicle accident, are covered. Some other injuries covered include:
- fatal injuries (claims can be made by dependants or estates)
- injuries to babies in the womb
- pre-existing injuries made worse by the accident, and
- psychological conditions caused by the accident (including witnesses).
Can I make a CTP claim?
Have you suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident? Was the accident caused by someone else or was it partly someone else’s fault?
If your answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’, there is a good chance you may be able to make a Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP) claim to obtain compensation for pain and suffering, loss of wages, medical expenses and more.
What types of accidents are covered?
CTP insurance covers a number of accident types, including:
- a driver injured in an accident where the other vehicle was at fault
- a passenger injured in an accident with another vehicle
- a passenger injured in a single vehicle accident
- a pedestrian hit by a vehicle
- a cyclist hit by a vehicle or hitting an opening door of a vehicle
- a motorcyclist hit by a vehicle, and
- a driver or passenger in a single vehicle accident caused by a defect in the vehicle, which caused the vehicle to run out of control.
Claims, under various schemes, can also be made for personal injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents that occur in other States.
What expenses are covered?
When a claim is accepted, the CTP insurer normally covers all private hospital, medical and pharmaceutical expenses. The insurer will also pay for reasonable and appropriate rehabilitation expenses, such as physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, hire of wheelchairs, crutches and psychological counselling. Travel expenses to attend medical or rehabilitation appointments can also be claimed.
How do I make a CTP claim?
To make a CTP claim:
- report the accident to the police (if you didn’t do this, your legal representative can submit a report)
- lodge the Notice of Accident Claim Form with the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault, within the strict time limits that apply, and
- include a special medical certificate with your claim, which has been completed by a medical doctor.
How long will it take?
After you have made a claim, the CTP insurer must make a decision within 14 days or request further information. Within 14 days of receiving further information, the CTP insurer must then accept or reject the claim. That begins the process.
While all cases are different, most successful claims are resolved 1-2 years after the injury stabilises.
Will my claim result in a court hearing?
In more than 99% of cases, claims are resolved without going to court.
Are there any other damages I can claim?
In addition to medical, rehabilitation and medication expenses you have already paid, you may be able to claim damages (money for your losses) to compensate for pain and suffering, income loss and expenses connected to nurse or home help assistance.
If someone dies in an accident, can anyone else make a claim?
In cases where a person dies in a motor vehicle accident, the dependants of that person can claim for the loss of the income they depended upon. If children are involved, the claim must be made within three years of the child’s 18th birthday. If there are no dependents, the deceased’s estate can claim for funeral expenses.
Who pays for it?
Owners of all registered motor vehicles in Queensland must pay CTP insurance to cover personal injuries to other people caused, or contributed to, by the driving of that vehicle. If you lodge a CTP claim you are suing the insurer, not the driver involved in the accident. The insurer covers the cost of expenses under the CTP scheme, costs of defending an action for damages and any eventual settlement amount.
What about WorkCover?
In most cases, if your accident is linked to your work, you can make a claim under both the CTP and WorkCover schemes. Like CTP claims, WorkCover claims should be lodged quickly. If your claim is accepted by WorkCover you can receive benefits for lost wages, which are not available under the CTP scheme. However, you won’t be able to make a damages claim against your employer unless the accident was caused by negligence on the behalf of your employer.
What if the insurer refuses to pay?
If the CTP insurer has rejected your initial claim for compensation, or if they reject your claim for a medical or rehabilitation expense, you can appeal the decision.
Will it cost anything to find out whether I can make a claim?
At Jeff Horsey Solicitors we are more than happy to advise you on how to handle your particular situation. Please phone us on 5665 6000 to make an appointment.