Making a Claim for a Motor Vehicle Accident Injury in the ACT
Published 22 Jul 2015
Author: Gerard Malouf
It is an unfortunate circumstances when we are involved in a motor vehicle accident and even more significant if we have sustained injuries form that accident.
It is imperative that we understand that there are basic steps that need to be undertaken to ensure that your rights to claim compensation for the injuries you have sustained are protected.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the ACT and if the accident is not your fault then you can claim compensation for the injury that you have sustained which is referred to as pain and suffering, your medical expenses, any wage loss you have sustained and medical expenses and future wage loss.
It is important therefore that you understand that there are significant time requirements that must be complied with. These are expressed in the steps below.
- It is important that a notice of claim be made in writing to the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault. An individual normally would have 9 months after the motor vehicle accident to do this or 9 months from when the symptoms first arise.
It is important to comply with these procedural requirements so as not to prejudice your rights to make a claim.
- It is important to obtain and complete a Motor Accident notification from (often referred to as MANF). This form will provide the insurer with enough information and material to open up a file and investigate the claim. Once this form is completed, the insurer will usually attend to payment of medical and treatment expenses up to the first $5,000.00 provided you can show that someone else is at fault. The main provision here is that the Motor Accident Notification form must be completed and submitted to the insurer within 30 days. In due course the insurer will ask for additional information and may even contact your treatment providers which will include your Doctor, your physiotherapist and rehabilitation provider.
- The MANF is sent to the insurer. They will of course confirm receipt of the claim form and provide you with a claim number. It is this claim number that should be provided to your Doctors and treatment providers and they should be requested to forward their accounts directly to the insurance company.
Am I entitled to claim for loss of wages or loss of my earning capacity?
Under the provisions of the Act, a claim can be made for financial hardship on the basis that you have not been able to return to work because of your injuries. The insurer may make this payment on a without prejudice basis and without any admission of liability. In the normal course however, to claim for economic loss/wage loss you must attend to the following:-
- Provide proof of what your earnings were at the time of the accident, a letter from your employer or pay slips, a tax return for the last year. Your entitlement to claim will include:-
- your past wage loss that is, time off from work from the date of the accident until when you returned to work whether on a full-time basis or even part-time basis;
- a claim for future economic loss that is, inability to return to work on a full-time or part-time basis and/or even your reduced capacity to work;
A claim for non economic loss (often referred to as general damages but colloquially known as pain and suffering). Should I see a lawyer?
Well the simple answer for that of course is yes. If you have a medical condition you see a Doctor. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you need to see Specialist Lawyers who specialize in this area of work. Gerard Malouf & Partners is such a firm.
It is important however, that you see us and/or a lawyer generally within a short period of time. The lawyer must provide the insurer with notice of the claim within 1 month of first formally consulting and receiving instructions from the client.
In due course your Solicitor will also write to the insurer and request Reports from treating Doctors that they may have obtained and will definitely make representations in terms of claiming reimbursement of any expenses you have incurred.
There are time limits.
Yes it is important to ensure that the basic steps referred to above are adhered to. There are strict time limits that is, a claim must be made within 3 years from the date of the accident or 3 years from when the injuries are first recognized.
Court Proceedings must be commenced within 3 years and therefore, it is important to lodge the claim and the claim form as soon as possible. There are a number of insurers that deal with claims in the ACT but the predominant insurer is NRMA.
The following are preliminary important steps that you must comply with:-
- Report the accident to the Police within 28 days or as soon as you can.
- Obtain the registration number of the other driver, the name and address and other particulars from that driver also.
- Always obtain photographs showing the damage to your car and/or to the other car.
- Immediately see a Doctor after the accident. Make a point of also going to the Doctor 3 or 4 days after the initial consultation as usually other injuries and symptoms are not readily noticeable until 3 or 4 days after the accident.
The above is a very basic guide to assist you in working your way through the initial stages after you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident.
It is important to ensure that you contact Gerard Malouf & Partners to protect your entitlements and to make sure your claim is managed and dealt with in the appropriate manner so as to fairly claim all compensation that you are reasonably entitled to.