Canberra Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers
Looking for the best Canberra Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers? Look no further than United Legal. Have you been involved in a Canberra Car or Motor Vehicle Accident? Have you been injured in a Canberra Motor Vehicle Accident and you’re not sure what to do next? Read on and we’ll tell you.
If we still haven’t answered your question by the time you finish reading, give us a call and we will be only too happy to answer any question you have free of charge.
No question is silly, we’ve probably heard it before.
Canberra Car Accident Lawyers Advice
If you have been involved in a bingle on ACT roads? Looking for the best Canberra Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers?
The most important thing of all is your health.
Don’t muck around with it. If you have been hurt in a car accident get yourself to the doctor or the hospital as soon as possible. We know this sounds like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this. You don’t get any prizes for being “tough”. You certainly won’t get any credit from the insurance company. In fact, if you sit around in pain and don’t get to a doctor, many insurers will use that against you. The number of times we’ve had to listen to insurers say:
“If they were really hurt in the car accident why did they wait two weeks to go and see a doctor? Their pain must be caused by something else that wasn’t our fault.”
The first doctor’s appointment following your motor vehicle accident in Canberra
When you see a doctor after your accident please make sure you tell them about anything that hurts. Make sure that the doctor records it all, even if you have to ask them to do so. Doctors are often extremely busy and want to focus on your major problem on the day. Often, it’s the lesser problem that you forgot to mention that persists long term.
More reasons to see your Doctor
The other reason you need to see your doctor as soon as possible is that most doctors are actually pretty good at helping you with your injury. Most of the medical experts agree that early treatment (like physiotherapy) really helps your chances of recovering quicker.
Doctor’s referrals for treatment
If you need treatment, and most injured people do, your doctor is the person best placed to give you a referral and monitor your progress. More importantly, unless you have a referral for treatment from your doctor many insurers will refuse to reimburse you for that treatment.
If you need treatment, do what ever you need to do to get it. If you don’t have treatment its common to hear insurers claim:
“Well they can’t have been hurt that badly, they didn’t get any treatment.”
The early stages after an injury in a car accident are important. Irrespective of whether you decide to make a claim or not the advice is still the same. Get to a doctor, make sure you report everything and get any treatment your doctor thinks you need. If your doctor doesn’t seem interested or you’re not happy with what they have to say, find another one.
If you decide to make a claim, you will be well on your way to making sure you’re getting off on the right foot.
The short answer is No. In Canberra, ACT this answer may very well change in the coming months with the proposed changes to the law about motor vehicle accidents being proposed by the Barr Government. We will be posting more about those proposed changes on our website in the coming weeks.
There isn’t much you need to start the claim process. You will need to know where the accident happened, when it happened and have the registration of the car that caused or partially caused the accident. You will also need the name of the driver of the car that was at fault. Sometimes the at fault driver may be the driver of the car in which you were a passenger. Sometimes the driver at fault may be a family member or friend. That will not impact your right to make a claim.
Did the Police Attend the Accident?
If the police attended the accident, the attending officers will usually give you a police incident number which can be used to get a copy of the police report down the track. You will need that number when filling in The Motor Accident Notification Form.
If the police did not attend the accident (they often do not) you should complete and online police report or attend a police station and report the accident formally as soon as possible. The online police report is often easier and quicker. You have the option of printing or saving a copy.
This is the first form you will need to fill in to make sure your claim is under way. It is important for several reasons. If you complete this form and get it to the insurer of the “at fault car” within 30 days with a Motor Accident Medical Report Form they are required to pay up to $5,000 of treatment expenses even if they haven’t decided if their driver was at fault. It’s a pretty compelling reason to get this form in as soon as possible.
Benefits of completing the Motor Accident Notification Form
We should be able to complete this form with you in less than half an hour. Its not particularly difficult and protects your rights going forward. Even if you decide not to proceed to making a formal claim the filing of The Motor Accident Notification Form ensures you will be reimbursed for any of your treatment expenses. Your doctor can complete the Motor Accident Medical Report Form with you.
This is the form we will complete with you once you have decided to make a claim. Completing this form does not mean you will be in a court any time soon. The thought of going to court scares most sane people and we completely get it.
You have six months from the date of the accident to get this form in if you haven’t seen a lawyer. You will have 30 days after you have seen a lawyer. This form is not difficult. It will take us no more than 30 minutes to complete it with you. Our strong advice to you if you are unsure whether you want to take this step or not is to take it. You can always change your mind down the track. Deciding to make a claim after time limits have lapsed is not always possible or easy.
Once your forms are in to the insurer, they have to let us know whether the forms are compliant. Next the insurer is required to confirm whether they think that their insured driver was wholly or partly at fault. Usually who is at fault is obvious to us but not so obvious to the insurer. It is for that reason that if the police did not attend that you do the on line police report as soon as possible.
Questions from the Insurance Company
The insurer will then normally ask a series of questions. Those questions might be about your injuries, the treatment you have had or how the accident happened. We will help you answer those questions.
We or the insurer might ask your doctors for copies of medical records.
We will at an appropriate time have you medically examined by specialist to get reports for your claim. How many specialists you need to see will depend on the type and extent of your injuries.
Sometimes will may be able to get reports from your GP or treating doctors. At other times we will need specific specialist to deal with your specific requirements.
These medical reports are essential to your claim.
We are only lawyers after all and your problems are of a medical nature. Don’t worry about the costs of these reports if you are unable to afford to pay for them. We have funding options available to pay for them which means you will not be out of pocket. The payments can be deferred until you get your money from the insurer at the end of your claim.
Once we have those medical reports we can really start to put your claim together. We will use those reports to work out what we think your claim is worth. We inevitable ask our specialists whether you need any other form of treatment or whether the injury will impact on you in the future.
Making a complete recovery
Even if you make a complete recovery and you are feeling great it’s still reassuring to know that a specialist thinks your injuries will not impact on you in the future. Or if the injuries are going to impact on you in the future you need to know how before you complete your claim.
You need to know, as much as is possible how an injury is going to impact on you in the future and what you will need to minimise its impact. Will you need treatment when you’re in your seventies or eighties?
The insurer may want to have you medically examined by doctors chosen by them.
That’s usually not a problem. The law recognises that people who have been previously injured are often susceptible to further injury or an aggravation. The only thing that matters is that we know about any prior injury up front.
Even if you have made a previous claim for an injury, that doesn’t necessarily stop you from making a further claim. The truth really will set you free.
One of the most common questions we get asked is whether the injured person needs to do anything differently just because they have made a claim. The answer is an emphatic NO. The most important thing you can do to help yourself is to live your life as if no claim has been made. Get treatment because you need treatment. Go to work if you are physically able to. If going to the gym makes you feel better, then go to the gym. By the same token, if you are physically struggling to complete your work consult your doctor. If a certain treatment has stopped working, ask the doctor to try something else. Don’t be bullied into going back to work early if you aren’t up to it.
The courts like to reward injured people who have given it their best shot at getting on with life. Courts find it hard to compensate those people who haven’t tried their best to get back to work.
So, making a claim should not change the way you go about your day to day life.
That’s the million-dollar question. Unfortunately, the answer depends on so many different things. These include:
- Is it clear who was at fault?
- How serious is the injury?
- How much is the claim worth?
- Who is the insurer?
- Do I want to wring every single last cent out of the insurer?
- Have I got all the right medical reports?
- Is the insurer making serious offers?
- Does the insurer actually get my claim?
Many cases settle before court.
The size of the claim and which insurer is involved, are usually the most important factors that will dictate when your case will settle.
Under the current law, the insurers have to attend a formal settlement conference and make a formal offer before we can even commence a claim in court.
We can request settlement conferences at any stage throughout the process.
Even once the formal court claim stage has commenced the Courts usually require the parties to attend mediations before any hearing date is allocated. You will have many opportunities to explore settlement of your claim before you ever see the inside of a court room.
That depends on how injured you are and how the injury affects your day to day life. There are many potential parts to a claim. Some or all of them might’ apply to you.
Everyone that has been injured because of a car accident is entitled to make a claim for pain and suffering, even if the injury subsequently resolves.
This will change if Chief Minister Barr has his way with proposed changes to the law. You can claim for medical expenses that you have had to pay for.
You might be entitled to make a claim for future treatment expenses.
These expenses might include what you have spent on painkillers or other treatments like physiotherapy or massage.
Claim for Economic Loss.
If you have lost wages and we can prove that this has happened because of your injuries, you can make a claim for what we call economic loss. If your injury is going to affect you into the future this part of your claim can often be quite substantial.
You might also be entitled to make a claim for the costs of a cleaner if you need one or recover an amount of money if a family member has to help you with house work, maintaining your garden, or even having to drive you around.
Whilst we may not be able to work out how much your case is worth at the first meeting we can make sure that you are on the right path to ensuring you get everything you are entitled to.
Little things like keeping diaries of when people help you out or keeping all your medication receipts are really important.
If we get those basic things right at the start, working out how much your claim is worth down the track is a lot easier.
Finally, the most important thing we’ve learnt from dealing with injured people over many years is that sometimes the best thing we can do as lawyers is to shut up and listen. Its amazing what you can learn when your client is comfortable enough to actually speak with you on that one to one level. Its our favourite part of our job.
There are some basic things that we usually need from anyone that has been injured. Keeping a diary is important. You should use that diary to record things like medical appointments, when you take medication and when you get any help from a family member or friend. Recording how you feel is also important.
If you are making a claim for loss of income we will likely need to get to us your tax returns, payslip and other wage records. Keeping all your receipts together helps too. We will need to speak with family and or friends and or work colleagues if your injury is more serious so that we can understand from them how the injury is impacting on you and indeed on them.
Most importantly we will need to meet with you on a regular basis to make sure your claim keeps moving.
Not surprisingly we offer our services for car and motor vehicle accidents claims on a no win no fee basis.
What does that actually mean though? What that means is that if you do not win your case you will not have to pay us for any of the work that we have done on your case.
When you do win and you get your money, that’s when we get paid. It’s that simple.
We don’t take a percentage of you claim. We charge on an hourly rate which we will discuss with you when we first meet. The first consultation though is always free if you decide not to go ahead with your claim
Frankly we are sick and tired of hearing from other law firms about how great they think they are and why they are the best at what they do. Like I keep telling my wife size doesn’t always matter.
The only question that should matter to an injured person is: How are you going to help me?
Our answer to that question is simple. We will treat you like a real human and actually listen to you. You may not know it yet, but no one knows your case better than you.
We get that the right to help you with your claim is our privilege and we are grateful for that.
We promise to do our absolute best for you and never sell you out because we want to be paid. Its that simple.