Am I Eligible for Car Accident Compensation Payouts? A Roadmap to Damages Claims
If you’ve been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible to claim lump sum compensation. This article deals with cases where an accident occurred on or after 1 December 2017. (For accidents occurring prior to this date, please contact us for further information and assistance.)
For those injured in a motor accident on or after 1 December 2017, the law provides for 2 types of compensation.
- Statutory benefits; and potentially
- Lump sum compensation for damages
Many people, whether claiming statutory benefits or not, may have a claim for lump sum damages and don’t even know it! It is critical that you check to see whether you have entitlements to lump sum damages.
Note: This article deals primarily with eligibility to make a lump sum damages claim. For more information on the statutory benefit system please visit https://sklegal.com.au/services/motor-accident-compensation-claims/
Lump sum compensation
Lump sum compensation may be available if:
- You were not at fault in the accident; and
- You do not only have a ‘minor’ injury as defined under the scheme.
Were you at fault?
Lump sum compensation for damages claims are available if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and not at fault. If your actions caused the accident then you cannot make a claim for damages and may only be entitled to some limited statutory benefits.
What type of injury did you sustain? The difference between “minor” or “non-minor” injury
The type of compensation that you may be eligible for is dependent on the type of injury.
Minor physical injuries include soft tissue injuries that are not complete tears or ruptures of ligaments or muscles, or a spinal injury that does not result in clinically identifiable radiculopathy (referred pain).
Minor psychological injuries are generally psychological injuries that are not a recognised psychiatric illness. However, they specifically also “acute stress disorder” or an “adjustment disorder” and if you are diagnosed with one of these 2 disorders only you will be determined to have a minor injury.
If the only injuries sustained the accident are “minor injuries” then you:
- Cannot receive statutory benefits beyond 26 weeks from the accident (other than in some very limited circumstances); and
- Cannot claim damages in respect of the accident.
If one or more non-minor injury has been sustained in the accident you have a potential entitlement to statutory benefits and a claim for damages, even if the injury has completely healed.
It is very important to get properly examined and diagnosed as soon as possible. Obtaining radiology such as x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s at an early stage can help your claim. The insurer will make an assessment to determine whether your injuries were minor or not, within 3 months of your claim lodgement.
Non-minor injuries include (but are not limited to):
- Spinal injuries resulting in indefinable radiculopathy;
- Damage to organs;
- Injury to nerves;
- Complete or partial rupture of tendons, ligaments, menisci or cartilage;
- Recognised psychiatric injuries such as PTSD but not an “acute stress disorder” or an “adjustment disorder”.
Making a claim for Damages
There are two possible types of damages you can claim.
- Past and future loss of earnings including superannuation; and
- in cases of Whole Person Impairment of 10% or greater, non-economic loss (pain and suffering compensation). The maximum amount that can be awarded for Non-Economic loss damages is currently around $521,000.00.
For the Whole Person Impairment threshold to be met, injury needs to be determined to have resulted in greater than 10% whole person impairment. There are specialist doctors who provide such assessments.
Generally, a claim on the insurer cannot be made less than 20 months following the accident, (unless you exceed a threshold of ‘Whole Person Impairment’).
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, Schofield King lawyers’ team of specialists can help you determine your eligibility, obtain necessary medical reports and make a claim for damages.
To find out whether you are eligible to make a Damages claim, please contact us.