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Got into a motor vehicle accident? Understand your compensation payouts

Although road accidents are slowly declining, that doesn’t mean that the liklihood of getting into a car crash is as well. Budget Direct found that of the 100,000 registered drivers in Australia, 64% of them were involved in a car accident — no matter if they were driving or not — at some point in their lifetime. 

 

Depending on how you are involved in the accident, your next move could change dramatically. The amount of compensation you could receive will vary based on your personal details and that of the accident. 

 

This article will guide you through the process of filing a claim and help you understand how you can earn the maximum benefit from your accident.

 

How does motor vehicle compensation work?

Receiving compensation will largely depend on how severe your injuries are, when you initially filed your claim and your level of fault in the accident. The reason compensation exists is to help you pay for medical expenses and return back to your life before the car accident happened as closely as possible. There are also time limits to filing a claim based on where the accident occurred, as each state has its own policies. 

 

These policies include determining the level of fault a driver may have in causing the accident. Some states, such as New South Wales and Victoria, are considered no-fault states where there is no need to establish legal blame for a car accident. Where in all other states the opposite is true. 

 

Along with your lawyer’s knowledge about the event and their experience working in motor vehicle accidents, there are several outside factors that will play a part in your compensation amount:

 

  • Lifestyle pre-injury.
  • Employment status.
  • Extent of your injuries.
  • Accident details.
  • Age.
  • Experience level of your lawyer.

 

As mentioned, the goal of compensation is to help you get back to the life you lived prior to the incident. This means that compensation courts will award certain amounts based on the factors above. For example, if you lived an active lifestyle by travelling and mountain biking before the accident, you could win additional motor vehicle accident compensation as opposed to someone who lived a rather sedentary lifestyle.  

 

Steps you need to take

Every state holds its own policies and laws surrounding what to do after an accident. Knowing the state-specific rules while on the road can help you take the right steps in the case of an accident. 

 

To the best of your ability following an accident, your priority should be checking on the other party. Put your car in park, apply the hand brake and turn on your hazard lights. If it is safe to exit your vehicle, do so to check on the other party. If they are injured, call for emergency services by dialling 000. If help is needed, you must stay on the scene until authorities arrive. 

 

Once the scene has been cleared, and you are safe to continue, there are several steps you should take for your claim — even if you’re not sure you will file. 

 

While not necessary by law for every state (such as Western Australia) it’s recommended to file a police report after a motor vehicle accident. A police report will set up a paper trail of the events of the collision and can come in handy as you try to recall the event to your lawyer. 

 

When you file the report, you will need the other party’s name and address. If the other party is unable to provide their information due to injury, note this on your file to use in defence for not collecting this information. 

 

You will also want to collect additional information about the accident like:

 

  • The year, make and model of the other vehicle involved (if there was one).
  • Pictures of the accident scene.
  • The other party’s email address, license information and phone number.
  • Insurance name of the other party.
  • Time, date and location of the crash.
  • Traffic features such as road alignment, weather or traffic controls.

 

Filing a report with the police is especially essential in accidents that involved general damages that add up to $3,000 or more and personal injury resulting in bodily harm.

 

Finally, although each state varies on how long you have to file a claim, the number you should keep in mind is 28. No matter which state you live, 28 days gives you just enough time for your injuries to be fully realised, file a claim and qualify for full benefits. Failure to do so can result in not only fewer benefits but could disqualify you from any motor vehicle accident compensation at all. 

 

Filing with insurance

Your insurance scheme will dictate what happens after you get in an accident. Your insurer will determine your level of fault, how much compensation you receive and what of the accident is covered. 

 

In Victoria, for example, you will file a Transport Accident Commission (TAC) claim which can include medical expenses, return to work support, economic loss, a lump sum payment and more. They don’t, however, cover damages to your vehicle or non-medical items. If you registered your vehicle, you also paid for TAC insurance so contact your car registration provider if you are unsure of your TAC insurer’s contact information. 

 

You will file a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claim no matter where you live in Australia. It is included when you register your vehicle (unless you live in New South Wales where you will need to allocate separate coverage). CTP is insurance that will cover you in the case of injury or death. CTP only covers physical damages, not property damage like harm to your car. Adding comprehensive coverage on top of CTP is helpful to cover all of your bases. 

 

Following state-specific law surrounding proper car accident procedures can help you more easily navigate a motor vehicle accident compensation claim. 

 

Getting compensation for your accident

To earn compensation for injuries after a car accident you must not only follow the proper steps, but also make sure you qualify for compensation. Anyone injured in a car accident — be it a pedestrian, driver, motorcyclist, or bicyclist — is entitled to compensation (except for specific at-fault states).

 

Sometimes it’ll seem obvious who is at fault for an accident, but other times the CTP insurer may receive conflicting stories about how the accident took place, or there may be details of the accident that further complicate the situation, like shared fault. The percentage of fault can trip up insurers in a multiple car collision. It’s not uncommon for your insurer to cover a portion of the damages where the third party covers the rest. 

 

In situations where the fault is not clear, a witness to the accident can come in handy. Be sure to collect the information of anyone standing nearby or anyone who pulled over to help. Traffic cameras and your own photographed evidence will also be used to determine fault. 

 

Outside of fault, your injury level and lifestyle prior to the accident will determine how much compensation claim payout you receive. Minor injuries that only require a short time out of work (if any at all) will have a smaller payout than that of a full-body personal injury claim. 

 

Even if you have minor injuries you may still be eligible for CTP compensation for your reasonable, and necessary treatment, therapy and care. You could also earn based on economic loss, proven future care, and medical expenses. This includes any pain and suffering you may be experiencing including mental anguish and loss of quality of life.

 

How much you can expect to earn?

Each accident claim is unique, and knowing how much you will win will fall on the details of many moving parts. There are two methods for determining the amount of compensation you will receive: the Multiple Method and the Per Diem rate.

 

The Multiple Method considers your special damages and multiplies them on a scale of 1-5. Special damages are the monetary losses you’ve incurred because of the accident. The more significant your injuries, the higher on the scale your compensation will be multiplied. 

 

Factors that are used to determine a multiplier include:

 

  • Expected level of ongoing treatment.
  • Length of your recovery.
  • Medical evidence of your injuries.
  • Level of fault of the other party.
  • Severity of your diagnosis and treatment. 
  • Type and level of permanent impairment.
  • Options offered by physicians regarding future prognosis.

 

Per Diem is simply calculating general damages and the number of days you will live in pain or in a compromised condition. After figuring the level of pain and the number of days, as a result of the injury, you will be out of work, they will apply this determination to your rate of pay to the equation. For example, you may be out of work for three months because you’re receiving physical therapy treatment for a loss of function in your hands. This could qualify you for a larger pay out for a shorter period of time. 

 

It can be difficult to choose which method to use, so working with a law professional can help you calculate the pain and suffering you may be experiencing. 

 

Paying for compensation

Once fault and compensation are determined, the insurance companies will provide the payout. For minor injuries, you could see up to $70,000 in compensation, whereas extreme injury compensation could earn nearly $2 million. A pain and suffering claim, on the other hand, could result in up to $120,000 as you recover psychologically while regaining your daily routine. 

 

The average claim duration is around 18 months from starting the claim to finally seeing compensation. Because car accidents can affect you in innumerable ways, your compensation will be completely up to the details of your circumstances. 

 

If you’re working with a no win, no fee law firm like Gerard Malouf & Partners, your legal fees can be paid with your compensation. 

 

Getting legal advice from a compensation claim lawyer

Because there are so many nuances to filing an accident claim, like determining if you need a claim form, or if calling the police is legally necessary, a personal injury lawyer can offer legal advice. Your law professional can sit down with you in a no-obligation consultation to map out your claim, understand the type of case you may have ahead of you and then set the details moving forward.

 

You may come to find out more regarding your case such as the ability to file multiple claims at once. This could include not only physical injuries, but mental anguish, a plea for more compensation due to new injury information or lost wages. These issues do not always come to light right away, and a law professional can help you file multiple claims while you recover from the road accident. 

 

Additionally, regulations in your state may have changed, or you may be caring for a loved one at the same time as tending to your own injuries. With so much on your plate, a law professional from Gerard Malouf & Partners can get you the compensation you deserve

 

We specialise in maximising the compensation results from your legal claim and are the leading car accident compensation claim lawyers in Australia. Give one of our law professionals a call today and get started on your claim. 

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