In NSW alone, more than 30 people are hospitalised by motor vehicle accidents every day, according to data from the state government. In order to claim compensation under the compulsory third party (CTP) insurance scheme, injured parties must be able to prove they were not at fault. Once liability has been confirmed, medical panels and the court will then decide whether the affected person meets the specific criteria relating to damages.
In the case outlined below, one woman shows just how difficult meeting these requirements can be.
Background of the motor vehicle accident
On March 13, 2010, a woman (aged 50 at the time), was involved in a motor vehicle accident. The insurer admitted liability.
Following the incident, the woman followed correct procedure and filed a claim for compensation under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999, and a claim for monetary damages with the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).
On February 21, 2011, the woman was assessed to see whether treatment for neck, back, shoulder, hip and leg strain was necessary. The professor concluded it was not.
More than two years later (October 2013), the woman pursued a further assessment for permanent impairment. The doctor stated her injuries did not meet the criteria of a whole-person permanent impairment (WPI) of 10 per cent. The SIRA states that a person can only receive non-economic loss damages if the injured party has a whole-person permanent impairment of more than 10 per cent as a result of the accident.
Following the previous assessment, the woman requested another assessment of permanent impairment. This doctor concluded that her injuries amounted to a WPI of 17 per cent.
How did the insurer respond?
While previously admitting liability for the accident, the insurer did not agree that the woman's injuries exceeded the WPI minimum of 10 per cent.
The medical panel was instructed to review all evidence relating to the woman's injuries. This included medical reports and further assessments. They concluded that, with the exception of soft tissue injury to the woman's cervical spine, no other injuries were caused by the motor vehicle accident. Therefore, her WPI was assessed at zero per cent.
If you've been injured in a motor vehicle accident that wasn't your fault, always ensure you have expert lawyers on hand to guide you through what can be a complex process. For more information, get in touch with the motor vehicle accident lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners today.