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Compensation: Road Accidents and Injuries

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Injury from a road accident can be sustained on almost any area of your body, but most likely your head, spine (back) and neck. And since most accidents happen due to negligence, reckless driving or simply an irresponsible attitude to the road rules (alarmingly, mobile phone use while driving is fast becoming a common cause of accidents) then you could be entitled to compensation. But what are the accidents from which you can claim accident compensation in NSW? 

If You Are The Driver or a Passenger:

You are entitled to claim accident compensation for personal injuries if you have been involved and injured in a motor vehicle accident and you were not at fault. If you were a passenger in a car crash, in most cases, you or anyone involved in an accident on the roads is eligible for compensation for personal injury. This is the case whether the driver is known to you, is a relative, wife or husband etc., and provided the vehicle is registered they will have Compulsory Third Party (Green Slip) insurance which includes you in their cover.

Green slips only protect the driver from third party personal injury claims, but not injury to the owner or driver of the vehicle. CTP Green Slips don’t cover property damage either, including damage to the vehicle. In rear- end crashes, the most usual collision occurring in drivers no matter their age, invariably the driver in the car behind is at fault and will carry the liability. 

Bicycle and Pedestrian crashes:

If you ride a motorcycle or pedal along on a bicycle you are vulnerable to reckless drivers and those who feel they are the only ones who should be on the road. If you’re a cyclist or you’re a motorbike rider and a motor vehicle hits you and you are injured, then you are entitled to claim compensation for personal injuries. Also, if you are a pedestrian hurt when hit by a vehicle, you can claim accident compensation. 

Passengers on buses and in taxis:

If you have been injured while being a passenger on a bus you have a right to accident compensation because bus drivers have a duty of care to their passengers and must safeguard them from preventable injury. This also applies to taxis. If you have been injured while riding in a taxi you are deemed eligible for accident compensation from whoever is at fault. The accident might be the fault of the taxi driver or some other road user, but whoever is at fault, their insurer will deal with your claim. 

Uninsured or Unknown Driver: 

In some cases, you can claim accident compensation in NSW even if you are unfortunate enough to have been injured in a collision in situations from any of the above scenarios where it is the fault of the other driver whose vehicle is unregistered (which deems it uninsured) or where the driver fails to stop.

You should seek legal advice because you might be eligible to claim against what is known as the Nominal Defendant. The police can supply information about the registration number, or you or your personal injury lawyer can ask any witnesses to the accident or place an advertisement in a newspaper asking for anyone who saw the crash to come forward.

Your solicitor can help you with this ‘due enquiry and search’ since it is your responsibility to conduct it. In the event that you are unable to search out the ‘hit and run’ driver, the vehicle is then considered unidentifiable and the claim can be made. Your personal injury lawyer can help you with the accident compensation claim forms and advise you with regard to medical certificates etc. 

When nobody is to blame

These accidents are called ‘blameless’ when the driver has suffered a sudden illness, or there is a sudden engine or machinery malfunction or failure, or in unpreventable accidents such as running into an animal. There are, however, restrictions for all accident compensation to road users in this category. For example, drivers injured in single car crashes, drivers at fault, (if they were the ones who suffered the sudden illness) or drove the car whose machinery malfunctioned or failed. 

The types of injuries claimable

You can claim for financial or economic loss or for personal injury, or both. Economic loss includes past and future reasonable and necessary medical, hospital and rehabilitation, attendant care and home modification costs and financial losses you suffer because of your injuries. With regard to non-economic loss, the amount of compensation and who is eligible to claim is limited and paid only to those whose injuries result in permanent impairment. Your personal injury lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you with your claim.

Be sure to make all claims within six months of an accident, and report the accident to the police within 28 days.

Changes due this year

NSW Government CTP Green Slip reforms set to come into effect in December 2017 are aimed at providing better support for people injured on the state’s roads and to reduce costs for third party insurance for the owners of vehicles.

The changes mean that for the first six months after an accident all injured road users, at fault or not, will be eligible for accident compensation and benefits. Also, if they need to take time off work; if they need medical treatment and home care they will be able to claim weekly payments. However, after that time, benefits will only be granted to people injured in accidents where they were not at fault and who sustained serious injury.

But you can make a common law claim, so talk to your solicitor.

Anyone injured in an accident can claim weekly income for two years or up to three if they decide to make a common law claim, and this includes reasonable medical and other costs. Anyone seriously injured in an accident will be entitled to claim weekly income for five years; this also includes expenses for medical treatment and care costs for life. They can also claim under common law for pain and suffering and past and future financial loss.

If you need legal advice with regard to your claim for personal injury compensation don’t hesitate to call PK Simpson Injury Compensation Lawyers directly on (02) 9299 1424 or email enquiries@pksimpson.com.au.

 

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