If you've been injured in a car crash in New South Wales caused by the fault of another driver, you could be entitled to compensation but you have to lodge your claim quickly as strict time limits apply.
Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation Claims Lawyers NSW
Whether you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, motorbike rider or pillion, if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident in NSW caused by the fault of a driver of a motor vehicle, or the rider of a motor bike, you could be entitled to compensation under the New South Wales Motor Accidents Compensation Act.
If you are entitled to compensation, the compensation will be payable by the Green Slip insurer of the vehicle or bike, that was driven, or ridden, negligently so as to cause the accident.
What do I do if I’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident?
If you need to make a car accident claim, there are two things you need to do quickly, to protect your rights:
report the accident to the Police as soon as possible after the accident; and,
lodge a Personal Injury Claim Form within six (6) months of the date of the accident.
1. Report the Accident to the Police
When you contact the Police, at least provide them with the following information:
the time and date of the accident;
the location of the accident; and
the registration number of the vehicles involved (if you don’t know the identity and registration number of the vehicle at fault see below)
Once you have provided this information to the Police, the Police should issue you with a reference number, known as an Event Number. You will then be able to note this number on the Claim Form.
Note: You can report the accident from hospital, if you are injured, by calling the Police on 13 14 44.
If you do not know the identity and registration number of the vehicle at fault that does not prevent you from lodging a claim, however, there is a process that needs to be followed. Because the NSW Green Slip insurance scheme is compulsory, all vehicles or motorbikes involved in accidents in New South Wales are deemed to be insured. If the vehicle cannot be identified after “due enquiry”, then your claim is to be made against the Nominal Defendant. Essentially, each of the insurers participating in the NSW Green Slip insurance scheme agree to take their turn to insure unidentified vehicles.
“Due enquiry” involves you making reasonable enquiries to identify the vehicle or its owner or driver at the time of the accident. This usually involves making enquiries of any witnesses to the accident and placing advertisements in local newspapers in the public notices section of the paper.
The Claim Form must be lodged with the Green Slip insurer of the vehicle at fault within six (6) months of the date of the accident.
Once you have completed the Claim Form you will need to send it to the Green Slip insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident.
It is extremely important to ensure you complete the Claim form accurately.
There is another form that you may want to lodge with the Green Slip insurer, but it is not mandatory that you do so. This form is known as an Accident Notification Form. If you choose to lodge this form it must be lodged with the insurer within 28 days of the date of the accident. Lodging this form may entitle you to some preliminary compensation in relation to expenses incurred in receiving treatment as a result of the accident and loss of income. This preliminary amount of compensation is capped at $5,000, and priority is given to treatment expenses over loss of income.
How can we assist with your motor vehicle accident claim?
We are motor vehicle accident lawyers lawyers. We act for people making car accident claims (claimants) as a result of injuries they have sustained following a motor vehicle accident; injuries which have caused them to suffer some form of loss. Typically, the loss will result from one or more of the following:
an inability to work;
an inability to care for one’s self;
an inability to perform one’s usual domestic duties i.e. cleaning the house, mowing the lawn;
a need to incur expenses on receiving treatment; or
a loss of function causing pain and suffering.
When we act for a claimant the first thing we do is ensure the claimant is aware of the time frame within which the claim must be made. There is an applicable time limit for every claim type, and if the claim is not made within that time limit, the claimant is not entitled to make the claim “as a legal right”… the claimant will require the leave of the Court to make the claim “out of time”.
Once a motor vehicle accident claim has been made our attention turns to evidence. Ultimately, if a claim does not settle it proceeds to a hearing, and the Judge will decide the case based on the evidence available. In broad terms, the Judge will have to decide two issues:
is the Defendant (the insurer’s client) liable for the claimant’s losses (“liability”)? and
if it is, how much is the claimant entitled to by way of compensation (“quantum”)?.
These issues will be decided by the Judge based on both expert and lay evidence.
Expert evidence is given by an expert in a particular field. Such an expert is known as an expert witness. In personal injury compensation claims, experts in the fields of medicine, car accident reconstruction and accounting regularly give evidence. Such experts provide opinions about the facts and circumstances relevant to the claimant’s motor vehicle accident, injuries and losses.
Evidence of the “facts and circumstances” relevant to the claimant’s car accident, injuries and losses, is given by lay witnesses. The most important lay witness could be you, if you are the claimant.
Evidence about liability in compensation claims
It is important at the outset to recognise that for most of us, our memory of events will fade over time. Accordingly, if you may need to rely upon a person’s lay evidence to support your motor vehicle accident claim, you should take steps to have that evidence committed to writing as soon as possible. We can assist in having this done.
Once the lay evidence is gathered, consideration should turn to whether any experts should be engaged to provide opinions as to the Defendant’s liability.
Evidence about quantum in compensation claims
Lay evidence is equally important to support the quantum of a claimant’s claim. A claimant can give lay evidence as to how the injury suffered by the claimant in the accident, affect him or her. A claimant’s family and friends can give evidence of the care and domestic assistance provided by them to the claimant, as a result of the claimant’s inability to attend to such matters after the accident, as he or she could prior to the accident.
The role of barristers (counsel) and solicitors in compensation claims
A little about the roles of barristers and solicitors in relation to personal injury claims.
In New South Wales, there are two main types of lawyers – barristers and solicitors.
Barristers specialise in Court work and advice.
We are solicitors who specialise is managing our clients’ motor vehicle accident claims and we’ve been doing this since 1969.
How will we manage your compensation claim?
provide preliminary advice about the law and evidence;
engage and brief counsel to provide final advice about the law and evidence;
provide advice about the claims and litigation process;
correspond with and interview witnesses;
correspond with and engage appropriate experts to provide evidence;
collate evidence and submit to this to counsel, the insurer and Court;
correspond with you, the insurer, the Court, process servers and any other relevant person or entity;
issue all Court documents necessary to prosecute claims;
prepare documents necessary for any mediation, settlement conference or hearing;
brief counsel with all documents necessary for counsel to appear at any mediation, settlement conference or hearing; and
manage the finalisation of settlement documentation (if applicable).