If you have been injured, for example in an incident at work or a car accident, you may have the right to claim compensation. You do not have to be legally represented to pursue a workers compensation or CTP claim.
In New South Wales the system allows an unrepresented claimant to pursue their workers compensation claim themself through the Workers Compensation Commission or their CTP claim through the Motor Accidents Authority Claims Assessment and Resolution Service.
The availability of these services may prompt some to ask – why should I engage a lawyer in my compensation claim if I can do it myself? Here are three good reasons why we think its important that you consider using a lawyer to pursue your claim on your behalf:
- Compensation law can be confusing to an injured person who is not familiar with the technicalities of the legal process. There are various “heads of damages” that can be claimed that may not be immediately clear to an unrepresented claimant. Further, in both workers compensation and CTP compensation claims, there are additional entitlements that can be claimed if a claimant’s assessable injuries exceed applicable thresholds of whole person impairment. Lawyers who specialise in personal injury are well-versed in the intricacies of the legislation and will act in their client’s best interests to ensure that everything that they are entitled to is claimed.
- In some situations, a workers compensation or CTP insurer may deny liability for a claim due to one reason or another. Often an insurer will cite technical reasons for the denial which can be confusing to a claimant who is not familiar with the legislation. Some unrepresented claimants will accept the insurer’s decision on liability and subsequently believe that they are not entitled to any compensation. Whilst it is true that in some claims the insurer’s denial of liability is justified, there are other situations where the denial can be challenged or liability can be proportioned between the two parties to the claim – resulting in a compromised settlement that will still provide the claimant with a positive financial outcome.
- In CTP claims it is not uncommon for an unrepresented claimant to be offered a settlement sum from the insurance company responsible for their claim. It can be tempting for an unrepresented claimant to accept the insurer’s offer of settlement but it is unwise for them to do so if they are not aware of their full entitlements under the relevant legislation. It is our experience that our solicitors can negotiate a settlement sum well in excess of what the insurer had previously offered an unrepresented claimant. The insurer will also provide an amount to contribute towards the claimant’s legal costs. In many cases the final settlement sum can be 10 or more times what the insurer initially offered! This results in more money in the pocket of the claimant – even after the cost of the legal representation has been deducted from the settlement sum.
It is important to be aware that some settlement agreements extinguish your right to make any further claim relating to your injuries. As such it is very important that you are aware of your full entitlements before agreeing to finalise your claim and signing away your rights.
A specialist personal injury lawyer can provide you with information and advice as to your entitlements and the worth of your claim.
The best weapon you can have in your claim against an insurance company is information!