Has Your Life Been Ruined in a Car Accident?
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Car Accident Injury Compensation
Car accidents can be extremely stressful, painful and traumatic events that can leave individuals, friends and families physically and psychologically damaged, sometimes for life. In the latest figures available, the Road Safety Council of Western Australia reported 194 fatalities and 235 critical injuries on WA roads in 2016. Many of us have experienced, either directly or indirectly, the pain and suffering caused by a road accident.
Despite these types of accidents being relatively common we often feel embarrassed or guilty talking about these events. This is a significant problem because the Insurance Commission of Western Australia (“ICWA”) provides road injury insurance to more than 1.8 million drivers and 2.8 million vehicles in WA. If you have been injured on the road please contact Separovic Injury Lawyers for free – expert – no obligation legal advice regarding a potential personal injury compensation claim. We have vast experience in this field and can provide you with an expert assessment of any potential claim.
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Frequently Asked Questions
I Have Been Injured in a Road Accident, Can I Claim Compensation?
You can make a claim for personal injury compensation if:
- you were a motorist, motorcyclist, commercial vehicle operator, recreational vehicle operator, passenger, public transport user or pedestrian and were injured in a road accident caused by another person’s negligent driving;
- you were financially dependent on a close relative or de-facto killed in a road accident; or
- the other vehicle involved in the accident could not be identified.
What If I Was Partly at Fault?
None of us like to make mistakes and it is natural to feel uncomfortable if you were partly at fault in causing an accident. It is very important to know that you may still be able to claim compensation if you:
- contributed to the accident and were partly at fault;
- were under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- did not follow road rules;
- were not wearing a seatbelt;
- were not wearing a helmet while riding a motorbike, scooter or bicycle; or
- were riding unrestrained in an open-top vehicle.
Please note, however, that it does need to be established that a driver or owner of a motor vehicle (other than yours) was at least partly at fault in order to make a claim for compensation. There are exceptions to this general rule in the case of catastrophic injury.
What If I Was Totally at Fault or Another Party Was Not Negligent?
If you were completely at fault or where it is not possible to establish the negligence of another party and you were catastrophically injured, you are still able to claim for compensation. The State Government introduced the Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme on 1 July 2016 to provide lifetime treatment, care and support to everyone catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident in WA.
What Entitlements Can a Motor Vehicle Compensation Claim Provide?
If you are injured in a car accident you can claim compensation for ‘general damages’, financial loss, medical treatment and miscellaneous expenses.
General damages include compensation for specifically for your injuries and:
- pain and suffering;
- loss of enjoyment of life; and
- permanent disability or loss of function caused by the injury.
As of 1 July 2018 the maxim payable for general damages in Western Australia is $418,000. This is a sliding scale which applies on a percentage of injury basis. There is a threshold amount, currently $22,990 which in effect requires general damages to be assessed at 5.5 % before there is any award. When claiming for general damages a person injured in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to claim by way of the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943 and the Civil Liability Act 2002. General damages are assessed using the law governing common law damages which has been developed over hundreds of years by Australian judges and courts.
Road accident compensation claims for financial loss can include:
- any loss of income suffered from the date of the accident until the date of settlement;
- future loss of income if the injured person’s future earning capacity is negatively affected;
- reduced scope of employment which in the future may theoretically result in a loss of income; and
- any past or future loss of superannuation.
Motor vehicle accident compensation can be claimed for crash related:
- Ambulance expenses;
- Past and future hospital treatment;
- Past and future nursing services;
- Past and future medical services;
- Past and future X-rays, CT and CAT scans, MRI’s and Ultrasounds;
- Past and future medication;
- Medical aids and equipment;
- Past and future dental services;
- Past and future rehabilitation services; and
- Past and future therapy services.
Motor vehicle accident compensation can be claimed for crash related:
- Domestic support services paid;
- Care services provided by friends or family (gratuitous);
- Travel costs;
- Wheelchair expenses; and
- Modification to home and vehicle expenses.
We will organise for you to undergo relevant specialist medical assessment of your injuries and symptoms. These assessments help to determine the severity of your injury and how it may impact your future capacity to work and your general enjoyment of life. In WA a threshold system is used to calculate the level of compensation awarded for pain and suffering and general damages.
How Can I Make a Claim for Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation?
If you are the driver or owner of a vehicle that is licensed in Western Australia that has been involved in a car accident, you are required by law to report the accident, if it resulted in an injury to anyone.
ICWA make it easy to report a crash and offer an online crash report system. If you are not an owner or driver of a vehicle you can use this report to inform ICWA that you have been injured in a road accident and that you are lodging a claim for personal injury compensation. You can also request a ‘Notice of Intention to Make a Claim Form’ direct from ICWA. You are expected to do so within 6 months of the date of the crash. However, if you have not done so this would not usually disqualify your claim as ICWA would need to establish prejudice which is a difficult onus to establish.
How Long Will a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Take to Settle?
This will depend on:
- Whether liability for the accident has been admitted;
- How serious your injuries are;
- What treatment and/or rehabilitation you require;
- How long it takes for your injuries to stabilise; and can also depend on
- How long it takes to negotiate a settlement with ICWA and their legal representatives.
Separovic Injury Lawyers will provide you with regular updates as to the progress of your claim and advise as to when it is likely to be settled. Many claims are finalised within 2 years from the date of accident.
Why Appoint a Personal Injury Lawyer to Manage My Claim?
The majority of personal injury law claims in WA are settled by negotiation. This is an adversarial system where the insurer is under no obligation to provide you with an equitable level of compensation. Most insurers will appoint legal representatives to negotiate on their behalf and given that this is a specialist and highly technical area of the law you place yourself at a significant disadvantage if you do not have legal representation to safeguard your interests.
Separovic Injury Lawyers have worked hard to establish our reputation as tough and tenacious negotiators. Please contact us if you would like to ensure that you maximise all of the compensation you deserve to receive.
Who Pays for My Motor Vehicle Injury Compensation?
The Insurance Commission of Western Australia provides motor vehicle injury insurance to drivers and vehicles in WA. This road accident injury insurance applies to all WA vehicles upon licensing and a large portion of vehicle registration fees are allocated to the ICWA investment portfolio. ICWA also uses revenues made from its $4.5 billion investment portfolio to meet its motor vehicle compensation commitments. ICWA’s mission is to provide equitable insurance services to all WA road users.
Can I Make a Claim for a Superannuation Total and Permanent Disability Lump Sum Payment?
In addition to your motor vehicle accident claim, you may be eligible to make a Superannuation Total and Permanent Disability (“TPD”) benefit claim, if you have been rendered totally or partially unfit for work. If you were previously injured at work or in a car accident and have already received a lump sum payment, this will not preclude you from receiving a further lump sum payment from a Superannuation TPD claim.
Why Should I Contact Road Trauma Support?
Road Trauma Support WA is a state-wide counselling service which assists anyone affected by road trauma, regardless of when the incident occurred or what level of involvement the person had, direct or indirect. The counselling services are free of charge and a medical referral is not required.
Separovic Injury Lawyers has formed a strong relationship with Road Trauma Support WA and encourages anyone who has been impacted by a road accident to get in touch with them.
Do I Have to Make a Road Accident Compensation Claim Within a Particular Time Frame?
In order for a valid claim to be made, a Writ of Summons must be filed in the District Court within three (3) years from the date of the accident; otherwise the injured party will be statute barred from making a claim. For minors the period has been extended.
Anyone involved in a road accident should as soon as practicable:
- Seek medical attention;
- Complete an online Police crash report
- Notify ICWA of your potential claim; and
- Seek legal advice regarding your potential claim.
If you are unsure about completing any of these steps please contact Separovic Injury Lawyers and we can assist you.
What Can I Do to Assist the Progress of My Road Accident Compensation Claim?
The conduct of a personal injury compensation claimant can have a significant impact on the outcome of a claim. Claimants should take the following matters into consideration:
- It is helpful to keep a detailed diary of events which records the impact of your symptoms, the treatment you receive, work time lost due to injury and treatment and travel expenses;
- Don’t be stoic and avoid getting treatment. This might lead to a belief that you are not as injured as first thought. You should follow the advice of medical practitioners and seek treatment as advised;
- Don’t give a statement to Police or ICWA without first obtaining legal advice;
- Be aware that sometimes surveillance is used to check up on personal injury compensation claimants;
- Realise that sometimes social media content can be taken out of context and could harm your claim for compensation;
- You should focus on your treatment and rehabilitation until your claim has been settled; and
An expert personal injury compensation lawyer will make it much easier to navigate the legal system
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