In New South Wales, the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 provides a compensation system for persons who are injured in motor vehicle accidents 

Any person injured in a motor vehicle accident is covered by the NSW CTP scheme and can submit a claim. This includes drivers and passengers, motorcycle riders and passengers, cyclists and pedestrians. 

There are two types of claims available to persons involved in motor vehicle accidents: claim for benefits, or claim for damages.  

Initial steps

Immediately after an accident, it is essential to call the police if anyone is hurt, if property is damaged, or if the other driver fails to stop or give their details. It is an offence to leave an accident scene without exchanging relevant information with the other parties involved in the accident. NSW laws require an accident to be reported within 28 days.  

Next, it is important that any persons who are involved in a serious accident see a doctor, as the extent of their injuries may not be immediately evident. This will also provide a contemporaneous record of any injuries a person has sustained during the accident.  

CTP Claim for Benefits

Through a claim for benefits, there are three types of payment: 

  • Loss of income and 
  • Medical treatment and care, or 
  • Funeral expenses. 

To make a claim for benefits, an injured person is required to directly notify the insurer of the at-fault vehicle to begin the claims process. An injured person must attempt to find out the registration plate number of the at-fault vehicle before making a claim.  

Next, and within 3 months of the date of accident, an injured person is required to make a full claim with the insurer of the at-fault vehicle (if more than one vehicle was involved) or the insurer of the vehicle (if the accident was caused by only one vehicle) using the ‘Application for Personal Injury Benefits’. The insurer will then make a decision in relation to the claim.  

Personal injury benefits can be income support payments, medical expenses and/or vocational rehabilitation programs while you recover. 

Claim for Damages (Common Law Claim)

All motor vehicle owners in Australia are required to take out a compulsory third-party (“CTP”) insurance against liability for the death or personal injury of others arising out of motor vehicle accidents.  

Under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017, a person can receive compensation through a negligence claim for personal injury or wrongful death. A person can make a common law motor vehicle accident claim if: 

  • They suffered more than minor injury; 
  • Their injury was due to another driver’s failure/fault; and 
  • The accident occurred in New South Wales.  

If the at-fault driver is unidentified or is uninsured, a claim can be made against the Nominal Defendant. If the vehicle is uninsured, the accident must have occurred on a road or in a public place for the Nominal Defendant to be liable. 

Examples of driver negligence include: 

  • Drug and alcohol impairment;  
  • Fatigue;  
  • Speeding;  
  • Distracted driving (manual distraction (such as texting), visual distraction (watching a screen instead of the road), or cognitive distraction (such as talking to someone, even on a hands-free device)); and  
  • Tailgating.  

An injured person can also commence a common law claim in circumstances where the other driver was not negligent. This occurs in circumstances where the other driver may have failed to stop in time, changed traffic lanes without properly checking, or reversed into the injured person’s vehicle. In these circumstances, the injured person may still be entitled to compensation. 

From 1 October 2007, a claim may now be brought by an injured person pursuant to the “Blameless Accident” provisions. This allows an injured person to make a claim where he or she cannot prove negligence by another driver but the accident was inevitable. This may cover circumstances where there is an unexpected mechanical failure, or accidents caused by a stray animal. 

In regards to damages, an eligible injured person could claim for damages such as:  

  • loss of income (past and estimated future); and 
  • general damages (pain and suffering), however, only in cases where an injured person has suffered more than 10% whole person impairment. 

Time Limits

In regards to claims for benefits, there are fixed time limits: 

  • To receive weekly income payments from the accident date, a claim must be submitted within 28 days of the date of accident; 
  • Weekly income payments will not be payable from the date of accident for claims submitted after 28 days after the date of accident; 
  • To otherwise receive weekly income payments, a claim must be submitted within 3 months.  

In regards to common law claim in New South Wales for motor vehicle accidents, an injured person has between twenty (20) month to three (3) years from the date of injury to commence common law proceedings. In circumstances of death or more than 10% whole person permanent impairment, a claim can be submitted at any time. 

Emily Wright and our team are specialist personal injury lawyers who can assist you with your claim on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. If you would like advice in relation to a personal injury claim, please reach out to Emily Wright and Littles Lawyers today. 

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