In Queensland, any person who is injured in a motor vehicle accident where they were not at fault will generally be entitled to receive the benefits of our Compulsory Third Party scheme. This CTP scheme is governed by a piece of legislation called the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994. The system is “fault based” which means the insurer of the driver who was at fault, will generally be liable to compensate anyone who is injured as a result of the collision.
What are the benefits?
A CTP insurer is obliged to quickly determine whether they accept liability after they receive a completed and signed Notice of Claim form. This form needs to be submitted to the insurer by anyone injured in the accident within one month of first consulting a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim or within 9 months of the accident, whichever is earlier.
Because entitlements to rehabilitation services under the scheme do not arise until a claim form is lodged and liability established, it is best practice to submit a claim form as soon as possible after the accident.
Once the CTP insurer acknowledges liability, it is required to make available reasonable rehabilitation services to the claimant. This will include the payment of medical expenses and any rehabilitation that is reasonably required and recommended by treatment providers.
In some cases, rehabilitation can involve enormously expensive items such as making modifications to a home or motor vehicle, rehousing in catastrophic cases and funding 24/7 care and assistance in the most extreme cases.
Negotiating a lump sum payment
Once injuries arising out of the accident have “stabilised”, a claimant is entitled to negotiate the payment of lump sum compensation. The scheme is based around a “once and for all” resolution of any claim. Consequently, it is important for a claimant to fully understand their entitlement to compensation before entering into settlement negotiations with the insurer because once a deal is done, there are generally no second chances.
The CTP scheme in Queensland requires a claimant to participate in a compulsory settlement conference with representatives of the insurer before they are permitted to commence any court action. Statistically, the majority of CTP claims are resolved without the need for a Court to determine the matter.
Reporting Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motorists and their passengers need to be aware of an obligation imposed by sec. 34 of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 to ensure that notice of any accident is given to a police officer.
In any accident where there is an injury has been sustained, a report must be made to police. Where the police do not attend the scene of the accident, there is a form provided in the regulations to give the appropriate notice. You can also report the incident at your local police station. They will provide you with a copy of the report for your records.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, and because of the finality that attaches to any settlement reached with a CTP insurer under the Queensland scheme, it’s always a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This will ensure that the injured person receives all of the benefits that they are entitled to.