DETRIMENTAL AFFECTS THE MOTOR ACCIDENT INJURIES AMENDMENT BILL 2013

Published 18 Jun 2013

We represented a young 22 year old male who left school in year 9 and, having received no formal education after year 9, has known nothing else other than manual labours since that time.

Our client was involved in a motor vehicle accident whereby the driver at fault fell asleep at the wheel colliding with a tree. Our client suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and shoulder which amounted to a whole person impairment of less than 10%.

Our client’s claim proceeded through the procedural elements under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 and was fought with significant opposition from the insurer. After multiple CARS applications being filed and invitations to compulsory conferences being rejected, delaying the whole process by 12 months, the matter proceeded to a CARS hearing

At the hearing, significant discussion submissions about our client’s future economic prospects, and in particular his potential wage loss, were made. The evidence put forward buy the insurer itself argued that at best, given our client’s injuries, he would be able to do sedentary type work. It was argued that given the claimant’s educational level a personal trainer of sought would be the most suitable course of employment. Evidence led identified that a maximum amount a personal trainer would be able to achieve was some $350.00 less than the weekly wage our client was receiving at the time of the accident.

 A decision was ultimately made and our client received some $385,000.00 for his future wage losses which comprised of 2 years future economic loss at full rate while our client attempted to secure employment and then the balance of his working life at a reduced loss rate of $350.00 per week.
 
The incident occurred on account of no fault of our client. 

Our client lost his vehicle and struggled to meet his daily expenses as he had become accustomed to earning a high income in excess of $1,000.00 per week. Our client’s life was devastated with no fault of his own and unfortunately, like many young persons, he did not have income protection.

The result in this matter was fair and reasonable taking into consideration the future losses that our client may suffer both financially and medically.

Under the new regime proposed in the Motor Accidents Injuries Amendment Bill our client’s current circumstances would be bleak.

In the new system it would firstly disregard wages received by our client over the statutory benefit regardless of his wage level.

On top of this such payments would cease after 5 years regardless of whether our client is back at work or how much he is earning. He would lose all entitlements to future payments regardless of his actual losses.

In realty, had our client’s claim been decided under the new regime his claim, which had a total value of in excess of $600,000.00 would be worthless.

The justice in this circumstance would be destroyed, cause a significant detriment to the claimant’s standard of living, and the insurer would be the victor, all for a reduction in premium of $100.00.