If you have been recently involved in a car accident, you know how stressful it can be dealing with the aftermath of it all. From the physical and mental damage to filing a personal injury claim
, the entire situation can feel overwhelming and stressful. It’s so important to seek legal advice from professionals who know about compensation law and can guide you through the process. Here are some of our best tips to help get you started.
How to know if you are eligible for compensation after a car accident
Even if you are unsure if you are eligible for compensation
, it’s important to start the process as soon as possible. Note that payouts are not just awarded to people who have been in accidents involving a car but also include collisions with a bus, train, bicycle, motorcycle or truck. There are a few different types of car accident compensation claims
that you can make:
Different types of car accident compensation
The reasonable settlement amount for a car accident can vary widely from one case to another, depending on the specific circumstance. There are four main types of compensation claims that can be filed, which can also help determine the payout amount.
- Compensation for lost wages or reduced earning power (economic loss)
One of the more common types of claims that can be made is for what is called economic loss. Keep in mind that it can also apply to economic losses stretching over several years. You and your legal team can claim economic losses even in the case that your Wage Price Index (WPI) from the accident is assessed at 10% or less. In some cases, you can claim for superannuation value or past and future loss of earnings, and also potentially extend any income support.
- Compensation for pain and suffering (non-economic loss)
If your quality of life has been negatively impacted as a result of a car accident, you may be entitled to injury compensation. These damages are part of a category known as common law claims, or lump-sum compensation. You’ll have to look at long-term harm as opposed to the cost of the immediate aftermath of the situation. In order to be eligible for non-economic loss, you cannot be at fault for the motor vehicle accident. Talk to your lawyer about a “no-fault” accident, which is when no one was fully responsible, even if you were partially at fault. If the other party was a fault, you need to have ample evidence and proof that this is true.
- Compensation for medical expenses (personal injury benefits)
Often, people who have been in a motor accident were injured as a result of the collision and have to worry about ongoing medical expenses. Most of the time the compensation claims are called statutory benefits. The additional income is supposed to support medical expenses for the months that immediately follow an accident. The maximum you may qualify for is 95% of pre-accident expenses for the first 13 weeks and up to 85% after that.
- Compensation for the loss of a loved one (funeral expenses and financial support)
The trauma that comes from losing a family member can cause serious mental fatigue and financial loss to those left behind. There are two kinds of compensation that can be claimed here, including:
- Funeral expenses and related legal costs: These compensation claims can cover funeral services and burial as well as a coffin or transportation services.
- Financial support: You can file a claim to get financial support after you lose someone who supported you financially or materially. If you are a dependent of a victim of a motor vehicle crash, you may be able to make a claim for necessary income or services.
Why you might need legal advice
Seeking legal advice after a motor accident might be one of the best things that you can do after the incident. The process can be confusing and varies depending on the location of the road accident. In order to get the maximum compensation, you need to adhere to timelines and submit the right evidence to support your claim.
A legal professional or motor vehicle accident lawyer can guide you along the way and ensure that you have everything you need to proceed correctly. From timelines to important documents, it can be comforting to know that you have someone on your side along the way.
Gerard Malouf & Partners
are successful when it comes to working with people who have been victims of motor vehicle accidents. We’ve won 35,000 insurance claims, which translates to hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. Let’s look at one example now.
A Sydney Passenger Compensated With $165,000 After a Vehicle Accident
A client from Western Sydney had sustained some major physical injuries as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident when they came to GMP Law
for help. After getting to know the case inside and out, our team was able to find a solution for the victim. After an informal settlement conference in 2022, the client received a sum of $165,000.
How to successfully file a personal injury claim
Filing a motor vehicle accident injury claim has several requirements, some that you might be unaware of unless you seek legal advice. For example, you may still be entitled to compensation if you were involved in an accident as a pedestrian.
Keep in mind that if you are unable to make the claim yourself because you are in the hospital, another person can do so for you instead. This could be helpful in getting the ball rolling. Use this strategy to get the process started and ensure negotiations with the insurer of the responsible party do not take too long to begin.
Here is a brief breakdown of the steps you’ll need to take to file a claim, and how a personal injury lawyer can help:
- Make notice of a claim: The first step is for the applicant to give notice of a claim to the person or organisation that you are seeking compensation from. Include the time, date, location and circumstances of the incident.
- Share the information: The next thing to do is provide all corresponding documents and information to the respondent.
- The compulsory conference: Both parties must take part in the compulsory conference before the court proceedings begin. Sometimes things can be figured out here instead of continuing to court.
These steps have many particular requirements, which may seem overwhelming to someone who has just experienced a serious car accident. Let’s take a look at some of the most important documents to include when sharing information:
- Accident reports: You can get this from the police officer who reported the accident.
- Medical notes: Contact the hospital where you received care to prove that you were injured in the accident.
- The claimant’s cognitive, vocational and functional capacity: This helps with a claim of non-economic damages and mental struggle.
- Accident event number: This number will prove that the car accident really did occur and will be useful in court.
- The perpetrator’s registration number of their vehicle: Try to get the registration number of the car that is most at fault in the accident.
- Details of the accident: Mostly found in the accident report, the accident details are important to determine who is at fault. You should also be sure to recount the accident to your lawyer and insurer.
- Proof of economic damages: These include things like pay stubs and other economic information that proves that you lost money and working capacity as a result of the accident, or that you spent money as a result of a death or injury.
How to work with insurance companies
One of the most daunting tasks that most people face after a car accident is how to work with your insurance company, which is another example of how important it is to have all the necessary documents. This is because insurance companies will require proof of the accident, whether it was your fault or not.
Sometimes, people feel overwhelmed with all the details that are required at this step. Working with a legal professional can help with this. They can also provide you with expert legal advice to ensure that you aren’t omitting any necessary information throughout the process that the insurance company needs.
Insurance companies play a big role in the final compensation amount. Because of this, it’s important to adhere to the timeline set by the courts in your state. Let’s break down the most important deadlines in each Australian state:
- New South Wales: You can file a personal injury benefits claim as the result of a car accident up to three months after the incident has occurred.
- Victoria: In this state, you have six years from the date of an accident to file a common law support claim. However, you may have longer if you are citing extenuating circumstances.
- Canberra/ACT: The claimant has 30 days from the date of the collision to get expenses paid for, up to $5,000. After that, you have three months to seek personal injury compensation.
- Queensland: The deadline is 9 months after the accident or after the injury becomes apparent to lodge a claim in Queensland.
- South Australia: Make sure that you file your claim up to six months after the accident or six months after the other vehicle has been appropriately identified.
- Northern Territory: You can file a claim six months after the initial incident occurred, but not after unless there are extenuating circumstances that can be proven.
- Western Australia: Make a claim up to three years after the collision. Keep in mind that you should do it sooner if possible in order to make the process easier.
Staying in line with these deadlines will benefit the insurance process. It will ensure that your claim is eligible for the full potential benefits associated with experiencing a car accident and will make filing the claim easier for all parties involved. .
While the case may be pushed through the process without a hitch, there are some situations that aren’t as straightforward. For example, if you cannot agree with an insurer about what you are owed, there may be a point of contention. In this circumstance, you will likely find that having a legal expert can be a great advantage.
Why Gerard Malouf & Partners
If you’ve been hurt and feel you’re entitled to motor accident compensation, call Gerard Malouf & Partners at 1800 004 878 or send an email inquiry
to learn how to best pursue your motor vehicle accident claim today.