If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident in NSW on or after 1 April 2023, your claim will be governed by the Motor Accidents Injuries Act 2017 (“the Act”) and the Motor Accident Injuries Regulations 2017 (“the Regulations”).  

In summary, the Act and Regulations provide: 

  1. All persons (whether at fault or not at fault) injured in a motor vehicle accident may have entitlements to statutory benefits for the first 52 weeks (12 months) from the date of accident. These statutory benefits include weekly benefits for wage loss due to incapacity to work because of the injuries, and reasonable and necessary medical treatment expenses.  
  2. After the initial 52 weeks (12 months), only persons who are not or not mostly at fault for the accident AND have suffered not a ‘threshold injury’ (as defined by the Act) are entitled to claim statutory benefits beyond this initial 52 weeks (12 months) period and may be entitled to common law damages. We will explain this in detail at the below paragraphs.   

What is a ‘Threshold Injury’?

Section 1.6(1) of the Act defines threshold injury as:  

  • A soft tissue injury; and/or 
  • A psychological or psychiatric injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness.

Subsection (2) defines a ‘soft tissue injury’ as: 

(2) “A soft tissue injury is an injury to tissues that connects, supports or surrounds either structures or organs of the body, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, menisci, cartilage, fascia, fibrous tissues, fat, blood muscles and synovial membranes, but not an injury to nerves or a complete or partial rupture of tendons, ligaments, menisci or cartilage.” 

The Regulation further provides [Clause 4]:  

“An injury to a spinal nerve root that manifests in neurological signs (other than radiculopathy is included as a soft tissue injury for the purpose of the Act.” 

Each of the following injuries is included as a minor psychological or psychiatric injury for the purpose of the Act:-  

  • Acute stress disorder; and 
  • Lump Sum Compensation Claim 

 

Under the Act if your injuries are assessed as more than a threshold injury, you have a right to claim common law lump sum compensation for damages from the at-fault driver responsible for the accident that caused their injuries.  

Common Law Damages

There are two types of damages that may be awarded as compensation under the Common Law Damages claim:

1. Damages for economic loss 

This is a claim to compensate you for any lost wages or any wages which you may lose in the future as a result of the injuries sustained by you. We also make a claim for any loss of past and future superannuation, as well as any income tax paid on past wage losses by the insurer (Fox v. Wood).  

2. Damages for non-economic loss 

This is a claim for pain and suffering, loss of amenities of life, reduced life expectancy and/or disfigurement. To be entitled to make a claim for non-economic loss, your level of permanent impairment must be agreed by the insurer, or assessed by the Commission at 11% Whole Person Impairment (WPI) or higher.  

The CTP scheme is a complex one and if you have sustained injuries (physical and/or psychological injuries) from a motor vehicle accident, we highly recommend you seek legal advice. The Head of our NSW team, Jessica Cheung is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law. If you believe you have sustained a personal ijury and would like professional legal, reach out to Jessica and her team for a confidential discussion at no costs to you.   

*The intention and purpose of this article is to be used as a guide only. 

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