If you or a loved one was involved in a car or motor vehicle accident, whether in Canberra or other states, you should know about your legal rights.
A motor vehicle accident can be frightening and bring devastating impacts such as life-threatening injury, loss of income, etc. However, a third-party insurer can’t provide all the information you need at a time like this. You have one chance to make a claim, and it’s crucial that you take legal advice from experienced lawyers who can represent you in court and demand maximum compensation. Here are a few things to consider when making a motor vehicle accident claim in Canberra.
Claiming your statutory benefits after the motor vehicle accident in Canberra
It is crucial that you claim statutory benefits from the accident within 28 days. To make a claim, you must file an application for Personal Injury Benefits Form available on the SIRA website. The timely completion of the application allows insurers to immediately evaluate and commence payments related to your weekly wages and other medical expenses. The application will require the following documents –
- Police event number
- A medical certificate from your physician that includes details of your injury and your inability to resume work
- Evidence of income – if you claim loss of income
- All receipts and other evidence of the medical treatment for the injury
Irrespective of fault, anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Canberra can claim compensation for medical treatments and other weekly payments for up to six months after the motor vehicle accident. To make a claim, you can be a passenger, driver, pedestrian, motorbike rider, or cyclist. The claim is valid even if the motor vehicle is unregistered or unidentified – indicating hit and run cases.
However, the court will demand strong evidence. Hence, if the accident was majorly your fault, your motor vehicle was uninsured, or you are or have been facing a charge of serious driving offences, you are not eligible to make a claim. In some cases where the accident can be serious and possibly fatal, the Police will attend the scene of the accident and issue a police event number. Keep the event number safe because it is crucial for your claim.
In the case that the Police don’t attend the scene of the accident, you must contact the Canberra Police directly. Reporting the accident to the Police creates important records that can prove the authenticity of your case when you make a claim. Moreover, it helps people avoid making false or exaggerated claims.
What happens after I receive statutory benefits?
After you successfully claim statutory benefits, the next step is weekly payments and medical reimbursement. You will receive weekly compensation in the case you are unable to work due to the injury and face a loss of income. The medical reimbursement is dependent on the details of your injury and can continue for up to six months.
After four months, the insurer will decide the extent of your injury and deduce whether the accident was your fault. The Motor Accidents Injuries Act categorises the injury based on your medical records. A minor injury can refer to a minor psychological injury or a soft tissue injury. The Act refers to a soft tissue injury to a spinal or nerve root injury that can result in neurological signs. At the same time, a psychological injury is an injury that doesn’t fall under-recognised psychiatric illnesses.
Hence, in the case of a minor injury or if the accident was predominantly or entirely your fault, the insurer can cease your weekly payments after 26 weeks of the claim. However, in the case of ligament damage, tendon damage, neurological injury, or head injury – a lawyer can help deduce whether it’s a minor or non-minor injury. Moreover, if you disagree with the insurer’s final decision, you must contact an experienced lawyer immediately to challenge the decision with evidence.
Keep your medical records safe after a motor vehicle accident in Canberra
Ideally, after a motor vehicle accident in Canberra, the first step is to seek medical treatment immediately. Besides the health-related factors, it also ensures a clinical record of your symptoms, injuries, and treatment. These records are crucial evidence for your claim in court.
Most of the time, hospitals and the medical staff will focus on the most significant injury
that requires immediate attention. However, they may undermine or ignore other “insignificant” symptoms such as body aches, in the process. Unfortunately, these minor injuries can become a serious problem in some cases if left untreated. And, if your doctor hasn’t recorded these minor injuries, it can create problems in your claims later. The insurer can claim that this injury has no relation to the accident due to the lack of medical records.
Hence, you must ensure that your physician records ALL symptoms – major or minor – after the motor vehicle accident. These records can exist as prescriptions, doctor notes, hospital records, or other official documentation. The insurance company will initially confirm whether your injury was a direct result of the motor vehicle accident in Canberra. Hence, any discrepancies can result in a serious problem in court.
Demanding compensation for motor vehicle accidents in Canberra
You could make a claim and demand lump-sum compensation for your injuries if the insurer identifies your injury as “non-minor” and the accident was not predominantly or entirely your fault. In the case that both of these factors are in your favour, you can continue with the claim.
A lump-sum compensation covers two types of damages –
- Non-economic loss – Your pain and suffering due to the accident and diminished quality of life.
- Economic loss – Past and future income lost due to the motor vehicle accident.
You can demand compensation for non-economic loss. However, you must undergo a whole person impairment. For compensation, the impairment level must be more than 10%, and the insurer or an independent doctor from SIRA must agree to the diagnosis.
If the motor vehicle accident prevented you from earning as much money as before the accident, you could demand compensation. The financial compensation will cover past and future loss of income and include the loss of superannuation.
However, there is a legal deadline. The court requires applicants to claim their compensation within 24 months of the accident. If you cannot claim compensation within this timeframe, your weekly payments will end. To claim compensation, a lawyer can help guide you through the process and complete the application for Common Law Damages, to submit to the CTP insurer. After the submission, the insurer will continue your weekly payments and medical reimbursement until the court finalizes your claim.
Choosing the right law firm for your claim
One of the most critical decisions regarding your claim is selecting the right lawyer to represent you in court. You have one chance to demand compensation and ensure financial security for yourself. However, with an inexperienced lawyer, things can easily go wrong.
The lawyer you choose must be an accredited specialist in compensation law and must be experienced in dealing with similar cases. Your lawyer must also advise you on the legal outcomes and let you know about the chances of success and the timeframe needed to resolve your case. These crucial factors are usually covered at your initial consultation.
Since you’ve come this far, it shows that you care and are trying to make the best decision about your claim. Educating yourself is the first step. However, without the proper legal guidance, you can make costly errors that can significantly impact your claim. You will be fighting your case in court against insurance companies and investigators. These professional litigators have enough experience to understand how to defend claims. They know what they need to look for at the beginning, and their questions can dig deeper holes in your claim, reducing your compensation limit. Hence, to fight back, you need an experienced professional who understands the fine print of the legal system and gives you the upper hand.
Talk to a United Legal lawyer today
United Legal has a team of experienced lawyers who understand the complexity of each case. We represent you in court to demand the maximum compensation possible. Moreover, we explain your legal rights and build a strong case based on the available documentation and circumstances. Our in-depth understanding, years of experience, and expertise allow us to deal with legal matters while you focus on your healing. Contact one of our lawyers to determine your eligibility for a motor vehicle accident claim in Canberra during an obligation-free discussion.
United Legal has a no win – no fee policy to encourage our clients to seek justice without the financial limitations. In the case of a successful claim, you will be required to pay an appropriate fee that covers the work involved by the United Legal team. Take the first step and talk to one of our lawyers to begin the process on your claim.
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