If you’ve been injured in a motor accident in Perth, TGB's Tim White outlines the process to get compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a motor accident in Perth, TGB’s Tim White outlines the process to get compensation.
Western Australia’s motor accident compensation system is fault based, so you only have a claim if you are injured in an accident when someone else is at fault.
Third party insurance doesn’t cover you for injuries that you suffer due to your own negligent driving.
You can be partly responsible for an accident and still have a claim. For example turning across the path of another car at an intersection, you would be likely be mostly at fault, but not totally. Your claim for compensation is reduced by the extent to which you are responsible.
Following the accident – “What should I do?”
Immediately after an accident you need to obtain full details of the driver of the other vehicle, and if the police attend be sure to get the police report number too. If the police don’t attend you need to go to a police station and report the accident.
It goes without saying that it is important to obtain whatever medical treatment is necessary, and ensure that it is documented accurately. If you go to hospital, it is helpful to get a copy of your discharge summary.
Making a compensation claim
The next step is to make a claim with the Insurance Commission (IC of WA). The Commission has a standard claim form that you need to carefully complete and send in.
What can I be compensated for?
A number of areas are covered, including:
– Pain and suffering
– Past loss of income
– Past medical expenses
– Voluntary help around the home
– Future loss of income
– Future medical expenses
– Future help around the home
The amount of compensation paid for each of these areas varies depending on the extent of your injuries and your individual circumstances. For example, one variable circumstance is the impact of the accident on your work and your ability to earn income. If you are in a physical job a quick return to full time work can be difficult. At best you may be able to perform light duties or only work part time. In this situation you would be entitled to compensation for lost income, which may be ongoing.
These concepts are complex, which is why it is important to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer who is aware of what information needs to be obtained. This helps injured people focus on their recovery, while the claim is managed in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
When can my claim settle?
Before compensation can be determined, injuries need to stabilise so an understanding can be gained of the long-term impact. A formulated claim is put forward to the Insurance Commission covering all the areas you have suffered losses in. This would be explained to you in some detail before any figures are put to the Commission.
Do I have to go to court?
Most claims can be resolved by negotiating with the Commission, so court is unlikely. The out of court settlement process is quicker and more efficient. Court is only necessary on the rare occasions when both parties negotiate but cannot come to an agreement.
Do I have to pay all of the legal costs?
No. The majority of the legal costs are paid by the Commission. There may be a gap in the costs, but again this should be explained to you in detail, if it occurs. Also you are not required to pay the fees until your claim concludes so there are no bills along the way, and the fees are often recouped from your settlement payout.
Time limits and thresholds
There are strict time limits that apply with motor accident claims. So it is important to seek legal advice soon after the accident. If you miss these time limits you may miss out on compensation. There are also complex thresholds that apply to certain parts of your claim, so it is extremely important these are considered by an experienced lawyer early in the claim process.
Will you see someone initially without charging?
Yes, our firm can offer a free initial interview. This assists our lawyers to determine if we can add value and be of benefit to you with your claim. It will also give you a chance to ask any important questions you have about the process involved, legal costs and other matters.
It is important to remember that each claim will different based on individual circumstances.
If you have been injured in a motor accident in Western Australia, made a claim, and would like to organise a free initial interview, register your details or call Tim White at our Perth office on (08) 9211 5800.
If you have not made a claim, disregard this publication.
Did your accident occur in South Australia? Click here