Under Section 83 of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999, once the insurer has admitted liability, they must pay reasonable medical expenses and the injured person can make a claim for financial hardship (wage loss).
The purpose of this legislation is to protect injured persons harmed in motor vehicle accidents so they are not left in financial stress if they require treatment. Compensation would cover medical expenses including medical assessments, appointments with health and medical practitioners and other treatment expenses, as well as loss to income as a result of the injury.
What is the Motor Accidents Compensation Act?
The Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 establishes a person’s rights to compensation in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of whether or not they have insurances such as personal injury cover. When someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident, they can claim compensation for their medical treatment and economic loss.
To be eligible for this form of compensation, you will have to have been involved in a motor accident within the past 6 months, demonstrate “fault” of the owner and/or driver of a motor vehicle (in most cases the vehicle which caused the accident is considered to be “at fault”), and prove that your injuries were a result of this accident. In this context, a motor accident refers to an accident involving the use or operation of a motor vehicle that causes death of or injury to a person (either another driver or a pedestrian) and is caused (whether or not as a result of a defect in the vehicle) by:
- driving a vehicle
- a collision, or accident taken to avoid a collision, with a vehicle
- a vehicle running out of control
The most common types of motor accidents that are likely to lead to injuries or fatalities include rear-end, angle, and sideswipe crashes.
In cases where the accident is fatal, an individual may also be eligible for compensation following a motor accident if they witness death as a result of a motor vehicle accident or if they are an immediate member of the victim’s family (parents and/or children).
Section 83 of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 States
(1) Once liability has been admitted (wholly or in part) or determined (wholly or in part) against the person against whom the motor accident claim is made, it is the duty of an insurer to make payments to or on behalf of the claimant in respect of:
(a) hospital, medical and pharmaceutical expenses, and
(b) rehabilitation expenses, and
(c) respite care expenses in respect of a claimant who is seriously injured and in need of constant care over a long term, and
(d) attendant care services expenses in respect of a claimant who is seriously injured and in need of constant care over a long term (being services provided by a person with appropriate training to provide those services, but not including services provided by a person who is related to the claimant or any services for which the claimant has not paid and is not liable to pay), as incurred.
(2) The duty of an insurer under this section to make payments applies only to the extent to which those payments:
(a) are reasonable and necessary in the circumstances, and
(b) are properly verified, and
(c) relate to the injury caused by the fault of the owner or driver of the motor vehicle to which the third-party policy taken to have been issued by the insurer relates.
(2A) If the MAA Medical Guidelines approve particular treatment as appropriate treatment, or particular procedures as appropriate procedures with respect to the provision of rehabilitation services or attendant care services, in respect of any matter, any treatment, rehabilitation services or attendant care services provided to the injured person that accords with the approved treatment or procedures is taken to be reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of subsection (2)(a).
Note. Subsection (2)(a) also requires that treatment and services be necessary in the circumstances.
(3) An insurer may agree to make payments to or on behalf of the claimant in respect of attendant care services provided by a person who is related to the claimant or by a person other than a person with appropriate training to provide those services.
(5) A payment made under this section to or on behalf of a claimant before the claimant obtains judgement for damages against the defendant is, to the extent of its amount, a defence to proceedings by the claimant against the defendant for damages.
(6) The amount of a payment made under this section to or on behalf of a claimant is to be included in the damages recoverable by the claimant for the purposes of any reduction of those damages by reason of the contributory negligence of the deceased or injured person.
Making a Motor Accidents Compensation Claim
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident and think you may be eligible under Section 83 to make a compensation claim, here’s what you need to know.
How to Make a Motor Accidents Compensation Claim
To make a motor accident compensation claim, speak with a personal injury lawyer that has experience in motor vehicle accident compensation as soon as possible. An experienced legal team will be able to guide you throughout the process, ensuring that your claim is submitted properly and you have all the right documentation required to move your claim forward, such as insurance information, accident notification forms, and medical documents.
Will You Go To Court
If you’re concerned about whether or not you will have to ensure court proceedings, don’t worry – taking your case to court is a last resort. In NSW, compensation claims generally need to go to the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) to determine disputes before they go to court. The PIC tries to deal with claims on paper or through meetings, rather than by formal hearings. However, if the dispute cannot be resolved by the PIC,, then you may need to commence court proceedings.
How is Compensation Calculated in Motor Accident Claims?
The role of compensation is to compensate a person for the loss they have experienced as a result of an accident and the resulting injuries. Compensation is designed to put the injured party back into the same or similar financial position they were in before the accident. Therefore, compensation is dependent on the degree of injury and impairment and other relevant particulars, and each claim outcome will vary depending on those circumstances. For example, the amount of compensation needed for an injury that requires short-term rehabilitation before essentially returning to normal functionality is going to be less than someone experiencing whole person impairment.
As part of the claim, the injured party may receive compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Cost of care (domestic assistance)
- Economic loss (including past and future lost wages)
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident and Need Help with Your Claim? Contact BurkeMead Lawyers Today!
If you’ve been injured in a motor accident and need assistance with making a claim, contact BurkeMead Lawyers personal injury law team today!
Our personal injury lawyers regularly go to see injured people at home or in the hospital when they cannot get to us. We obtain as much information as possible from the individuals and documentation available to fully understand how the accident occurred and who was to blame. All motor vehicle claims are settled for a tax-free lump sum and legal costs are included in the award of compensation.
Our expert lawyers are here to help. Call 1300 292 700 or email [email protected]
About the Author
Emma Mead is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law, accredited by the Law Society of NSW. She is also a National Accreditor Mediator and has a Graduate Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution. She specialises in all personal injury and family law disputes, locally and across New South Wales.