Car Accident Compensation – Lawyer Explains
As a motor vehicle accident lawyer in Sydney, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects that a motor vehicle accident can have on my clients lives. Clearly, compensation is available. If you were injured because of a motor vehicle accident this will be relevant to what you need to know explained by me, having managed thousands of car accident compensation claims.
Just to be clear, a motor accident is defined as meaning an accident involving the use or operation of a motor vehicle that causes death or injury to a person. Regardless of what vehicle you were in or what vehicle you were struck by, the law, process and compensation payout is generally the same. That’s why car accident compensation is commonly used by our clients even if they were struck by a motorcycle or truck, for example.
Can I claim car accident compensation?
Yes, pending that you meet the definition I explained above, that the accident involved use or operation of a motor vehicle that caused your injury. If you were not mostly at fault and your injury meets the threshold i.e spinal nerve injury, fracture, rupture of a tendon, cartilage, meniscus or ligament, tear or nerve injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), for example, then you could be entitled to a payout. That payout can take into account your future loss of earnings and pain and suffering.
What am I entitled to?
Provided you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of the extent of your injuries, you can claim car accident compensation for your losses including:
That is in addition to your compensation claim from the motor vehicle accident. It does not affect it. To find out more about Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) claims click here.
Car accident compensation payout explained (common law damages
Unlike income benefits (wages and medical expenses) car accident compensation as described above is limited to those who have suffered non soft tissue or recognised psychiatric injuries such as PTSD etc.
The compensation payout for a motor vehicle accident is divided into two parts- economic loss (loss of income) and pain and suffering. Economic loss covers your loss of income and includes not just your actual income, but also any income that you could have otherwise earned but for the accident. This can include income from opportunities that you may have been working on in your own time that may not have turned into a profit at the time of the accident. Because it wasn’t income yet then it doesn’t get included in your income support payment however it can be claimed in your payout compensation claim.
The second entitlement is for pain and suffering (non-economic loss) and is applicable to claim if your non-soft tissue or recognised psychiatric injury, like PTSD exceeds a 10% whole person impairment threshold.
Car accident compensation for pain and suffering, although slightly increases slightly yearly is currently at $605,000.
Unlike the first entitlement, there is an eligibility requirement to meet to claim pain and suffering and that eligibility is that your injuries exceed a 10% whole person impairment threshold. The amount of pain and suffering compensation you claim will depend on the extent of your injury, your age and the extent of the pain and suffering that you are likely to suffer because of the accident.
If you’re unsure whether your injury meets the eligibility requirement for pain and suffering compensation, our motor vehicle accident compensation lawyers can refer your physical or psychological injury to a relevant expert for assessment and advise you about your eligibility. We also have written directly about it in detail. Here.
I am Injured due to a car accident. How do I make a compensation claim
Lodge a completed Application for Personal Injury Benefits claim form along with your Certificate of Capacity to be completed by your GP, and you, and submit it to the Insurer of the vehicle at fault by email or post within 28 days of the accident. You can find the relevant claim the insurer will get in contact with you shortly after doing that. Of course, get in touch with the insurer you submitted the form with if you don’t hear back within two days.
Then, follow your treating doctors advice for treatment unless you have doubts and want a second opinion of course. The insurer will be in the meantime making a decision within 3 months about whether it will be accepting you to claim benefits and a payout or just benefits based on the eligibility i.e whether you were mostly at fault and have injuries that do not meet the threshold injury definition. If the insurer denies you are eligibility to a payout because it decides your injuries as not meeting the threshold, get in contact and we will give you our free opinion during our free claim check. Whilst the insurer does accept a lot of claims for payouts with a dispute they do sometimes get it wrong like all people resulting in us applying for review and having their decision set aside.
If you disagree with the Insurer’s determination, it impacts your eligibility to a payout. Please contact our motor vehicle accident lawyer to consider applying for review, failing that may mean our motor vehicle accident lawyer will refer the dispute to the Personal Injuries Commission who will organise for your injuries to be assessed by an independent doctor who will make a binding decision about whether your injury meets the threshold or not which determines your eligibility to a compensation payout.
Once your eligibility for a car accident compensation payout is sorted our motor vehicle accident lawyer will then organise for your injuries to be assessed to check your eligibility to include pain and suffering compensation to be included in your payout by checking if either injury exceeds the 10% whole person impairment threshold
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to claim income support payments and medical expenses immediately from the date of the accident, you should lodge the Application for Personal Injury benefits within 28 days. The time limit is 3 months from the date of the accident however you may not be able to claim income support payments before the date you lodge the application if you lodge outside of the 28 days.
Yes, you can but the extent of compensation benefits may be less if you are wholly or mostly at fault. If the accident was wholly your fault, you are still entitled to claim medical expenses and income support payments for time off work for the first six months.
The permanent disability rating is determined by Independent Medico-Legal doctors. They assess your injuries to determine your whole person impairment rating based on the American Medical Association Guidelines. The disability rating can vary from 0% to 100% which is directly related to the benefits of motor accident compensation benefits.
If you have a soft tissue injury physical, your injury would be considered a minor injury which means you would not be able to receive wages and a lump sum payout for your future losses. Minor psychological injuries are considered to be symptoms rather than serious diagnosises that are non minor injuries, such as post-traumatic stress order for example.
It is never too early to know where you legally stand. Our experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers based in Sydney, Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool and Wollongong can advise you about your claim from beginning to the end. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, you can consult a lawyer at any point in your claiming process. However, it is important to see a lawyer as soon as possible to receive information about the best way forward prior to being out of time.
Our team of motor vehicle accident lawyers work on a No Win No Fee basis, which means you do not pay for our legal costs unless you receive compensation. The amount of costs our lawyers charge from your compensation amount is outlined clearly in the free claims assessment consultation.
The answer depends on your injuries and how long does it take for them to be stabilised. Generally speaking, a motor vehicle accident claim can take between 1 to 2 years. Feel free to reach us for free and clear legal advice.
Normally, you’d need to exchange contact details and information to lodge a motor vehicle accident claim however if you are involved in a hit and run accident, this cannot be an option. That’s why it is recommended to contact an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer to seek assistance to plan the motor vehicle compensation claim steps. You can read our Hit and Run Accident Claims page for further information.
When to Hire a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
I hear you asking, ‘Can I make a car accident compensation claim without a lawyer?’ In short, yes it’s possible to pursue a claim independently, or with the assistance from the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA). Do I recommend it, no! Here’s why-
Obviously, my bias comes from being a motor vehicle accident lawyer and having seen the value to my clients of having an experienced lawyer act on their behalf. Having a lawyer means that you’ll have a professional ensuring that your claim progresses correctly and efficiently while taking all potential losses into account, in support your claim, ultimately helping you to maximise your payout.
Our experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers will also act on your behalf in negotiating with the insurer to finalise your matter, so you won’t have to deal with the insurer directly during the negotiation process. We’ll be able to relay offers of settlement to you and advise you of what a good range of compensation is in your circumstances and make recommendations to you. It’s peace of mind for you- you’ll know what to expect because we’ll ensure you don’t go in blindly. Our experience means that you’ll feel supported every step of the way.
In circumstances where your claim doesn’t settle during negotiations, your payout and claim value will be determined by a tribunal member at the Personal Injury Commission (‘the Commission’)- similar to a judge determining a matter in court, but more informal.
While most of our matters settle without the need to go to the Commission, our lawyers are very experienced with the Commission and are well versed in what is relevant in the decision-making process and what evidence is required to support your claim. We can advocate on your behalf and prepare your matter in the best possible way.
So now that you understand why you need a motor vehicle accident lawyer act on your behalf, I hear you asking ‘How much will it cost me?’ – nothing upfront. Our motor vehicle lawyers work on a No Win No Fee basis which means that our legal costs are deducted from your compensation payout if you get one. We hate being blind sighted, so, in addition to our duty as lawyers, we ensure that we’re super transparent about our costs and disbursements from the start.
What to Look for in a Motor Vehicle Lawyer– Explained.
When choosing the right lawyer to represent you, you should consider:
- Experience: Look for a lawyer who has experience handling accident compensation claims similar to yours. No one wants a lawyer who is a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ so choose an experienced compensation lawyer who only deals with compensation claims.
- Reputation: Check their websites online and their reviews for good feedback.
- Fees: For car accident compensation claims, your lawyer shouldn’t charge you anything upfront – including disbursements. Ask about whether the lawyer acts on a No Win No Fee basis and its terms!
What to expect from your Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Our motor vehicle accident lawyers will guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and entitlements, gather and handle all the relevant evidence and paperwork, and engage in negotiations with the insurance company and/or represent you in the Commission. Imagine getting your entitlements to compensation without wondering whether its correct. We’re here to take the burden out of the compensation process so you can focus on your recovery- and all of that on a No Win No Fee basis. Contact us on 1800 952 898, or fill out the form for a free consultation.
No Win No Fee Car Accident Lawyers Sydney
The team at Withstand Lawyers can assist you to get you the maximum compensation possible in the best approach. You can meet our friendly car accident lawyers in Sydney and Parramatta. Our fees are on a No Win No Fee basis meaning that you do not pay any money out of pocket for our legal fees. It also means that if we do not get you compensation then you do not pay for our legal fees. Call us on 1800 952 898 or fill the form to get professional advice.