New South Wales drivers will now be paying less for their Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Green Slips and there’s a bigger safety net to protect those who suffer an injury in a road accident. The changes are part of a new scheme rolled out in December by the State Government. Green Slips are compulsory for all vehicles in NSW and the new CTP scheme promises to deliver significantly reduced premiums and a refund is in the pipeline in March for many vehicle owners.
One of the aims of the CTP reforms under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 was the rehabilitation of victims of motor vehicle accidents and a return to health as soon as practicable.
The new scheme allows anyone with an injury resulting from a road accident, whether at-fault or not, to quickly claim compensation via weekly income support, and for medical expenses, loss of income, treatment and care but only for up to six months.
A lump sum compensation is retained for any claimant with a long-term injury, however, to continue receiving income payments after 24 months, the injured person must be deemed as having an ongoing incapacity to work. A common law claim for damages for economic loss and non-economic loss for anyone with a more serious injury can still be made under the new scheme.
At fault and not at fault
For the first six months, the new CTP scheme applies whether the claimant was at fault or not. This was designed to remove the necessity for insurers and personal injury lawyers to decide on fault and agree on compensation. In the past, these negotiations often went on for years before settlement, making it more stressful for anyone with an injury when the focus should have been on recovery. These benefits can continue for up to two years, as long as the claimant has more than a minor injury and they were not at fault in the accident. Medical benefits may go on as required, and for life if necessary.
The former scheme was, in essence, adversarial because, for many claims, there was so much debate over the level of injury, fault, the degree of fault, and compensation amounts. Claims settlement was often very costly and protracted by legal debate and endless medical assessments. And also, insurers had to make provisions for payouts many years after the accident.
On the Australian Medical Association NSW website doctors are advised that if they have any patients with an injury as a result of a vehicle accident it’s important to have them submit a CTP claim not more than 28 days after the accident to make sure the patients access the full scope of benefits available. To guarantee back pay of weekly income payments, claims should be lodged as soon as possible, however, claims can be lodged within three months of the accident.
These new CTP benefits can include:
- weekly income if they can’t work
- reasonable expenses for medical treatment
- if home help is needed, attendant care services are available
- rehabilitation programs
- funeral expenses
The AMA says patients won’t need to engage a lawyer to lodge a claim or to receive the first six months of benefits. However, the advice from many personal injury lawyers is that strict time limits apply to motor accident claims so they highly recommend anyone injured in an accident whether major or seemingly minor – the symptoms of whiplash e.g. can appear immediately or up to months after an accident – to contact a lawyer to ensure you do not miss out on any compensation or benefits to which you are entitled.
For further information on the new scheme visit www.sira.nsw.gov.au.
For all motor vehicle accident claims and compensation entitlement information, call PK Simpson Personal Injury Lawyers on 02 4810 0179.