In light of Rural Road Safety Month, Attwood Marshall Lawyers Compensation Law Associate, Tina Davis, discusses what to do if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, and how Queensland’s ‘CTP’ Insurance Scheme works to help people injured on our roads.
September is Rural Road Safety Month, which could not come at a more integral time. Queensland’s road toll continues to climb in 2021, with at least 80 per cent of motor vehicle related deaths happening on regional roads.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, but unfortunately risky road behaviour continues to be a significant issue in regional areas and the major cause for motor vehicle accidents. Many drivers do not adhere to speed limits and put others at risk by getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking illicit substances, using mobile phones whilst driving, driving while fatigued, or ignoring caution signs when driving through wildlife dense areas.
So, what happens if you are injured as a result of another driver’s negligence or you are a passenger or a pedestrian? You will be covered by that driver’s CTP insurance. Whether you are a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicycle rider, or pedestrian, if you have suffered injuries due to the negligence of another person on a Queensland road, then you are entitled to make a claim against the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault.
CTP insurance (compulsory third party insurance) is exactly as it states. This insurance is compulsory for all vehicles and is in place to protect anyone who may be injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident involving the covered vehicle. CTP insurance is included and paid as part of motor vehicle registration.
CTP insurance does not cover property damage, it only covers compensation for injuries to people caused by the driver of the registered vehicle who was at fault in the accident.
In order to make a CTP claim, you need to be able to identify the vehicle and driver who caused the accident, and their vehicle needs to be registered.
You must also establish that the accident or your injury was caused at least partially by the negligence or fault of the driver of the vehicle in question. Sometimes this can be a difficult issue to determine, but in most cases, drivers are at fault in some way. Many people don’t proceed with a claim thinking the other driver isn’t at fault, but the law has established a very high duty of care for drivers of vehicles. For example, if you are a passenger in any car involved in an accident where you are injured, you will have a claim – it may be against both drivers, but you cannot be held at fault (unless you purposely interfere with the driver). You can even bring a claim against a family member who was driving. It doesn’t cost them anything – the CTP insurance picks up the tab (unless they are driving an unregistered car or are affected by alcohol or drugs).
Pedestrians and bicycle riders are also owed a very high duty of care because of the imbalance between a vehicle and a person. Usually, the driver of the vehicle will be held at fault in some way. Most injured pedestrians and bicycle riders suffer severe injuries and it is always wise to get some advice if you are injured. You may be surprised to learn you have a substantial claim for damages!
What happens if you cannot identify the vehicle that caused the accident?
If you are unsure as to the identity of the vehicle that caused your accident, or if that vehicle is found to be unregistered or uninsured, then you may still be able to lodge a claim. In these cases, a claim would be pursued against the Nominal Defendant who acts as the CTP insurer. (However, please note that for Nominal Defendant claims, strict time limits apply). You must complete and serve your claim form within 9 months of the date of the accident!
If the police did not attend at the scene of your accident, you should attend at your local police station as soon as possible and report the accident. You will be given a QP reference number for your report. You will need this number to complete your Claim Form.
Making a CTP Claim
The CTP claim process moved to a more modern and digital platform at the end of 2020. After rigorous testing and refinement, a digital claim form for CTP insurance claims can now be submitted electronically via the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) website, providing injured road users a faster and easier way to lodge their claim.
The digital CTP claim form allows easy submission of supporting documents, data validation and input of personal information.
When preparing to lodge your CTP claim, it is important to keep a good record of the details of the accident, the other driver and their vehicle, including registration details and details of any other persons and vehicles involved in the accident, this makes it much easier to complete the CTP claim form.
Photographs of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle/s can also be helpful in demonstrating the impact of the accident.
You must obtain a medical certificate from your GP or a medical specialist to accompany your claim form. A medical certificate will assist the CTP insurer to understand what your injuries are and their impact, which will play a part in the insurer’s considerations about funding treatment and rehabilitation to assist your recovery.
You should talk to your doctor about your injuries and whether you will need rehabilitation. If you need rehabilitation, it is important to get your doctor’s opinion on what type of rehabilitation they would recommend. A copy of any treatment referrals will need to be sent to the insurer.
The CTP insurer will pay for your rehabilitation expenses provided they are reasonable and appropriate and are related to the accident you were involved in. If you have receipts for treatment already paid, then your receipts can also be sent to the CTP insurer for their consideration.
The claim timeline
After your Claim Form has been lodged, the CTP insurer is required, within fourteen days, to respond as to whether your form is compliant (lodged correctly) and whether they will fund your rehabilitation expenses.
The insurer is required to provide their decision on liability (who is at fault) within six months from receipt of your compliant form being received, and attempt to resolve your claim as soon as practicable.
During the course of the claim’s process, you may need to provide certain information, documents or records to the CTP insurer, and attend for medical assessments. You will also be required to take all reasonable steps to recover from your injuries, including receiving medical treatment, rehabilitation, returning to work or taking steps to find other work, or to re-train if you are unable to return to your usual work.
What compensation will I be entitled to claim?
Compensation in all matters is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The compensation amount that you may receive will depend upon your injuries and your specific circumstances. The amount you receive may also depend upon whether you were found to be contributorily negligent (partly at fault). Compensation usually includes an amount for general damages (pain and suffering), past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, and in some cases, a claim for care and assistance.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers – helping you lodge a CTP claim to get the treatment and support you need
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to get trusted legal advice from an experienced compensation lawyer at the earliest opportunity. Strict timeframes apply in motor vehicle accident claims and although you may not realise the extent of your injuries early on, if you wait too long to make a claim, you may lose your right to entitlements altogether.
We take on all motor vehicle accident claims on a No Win, No Fee basis. What this means is that you can discuss your matter with a compensation lawyer, find out where you stand, and get your claim underway with no upfront costs.
Contact our Compensation Law Department on 1800 621 071 any time to get trusted advice.