Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Lawyers – Adelaide
Our injury lawyers will help you get fair compensation
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, either as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist and have sustained an injury you may be entitled to compensation. It is important that the incident is reported to police and that you promptly seek medical attention and obtain legal advice. Scammell & Co. have solicitors who are experienced in motor vehicle accident injury claims and can help ensure you get maximum compensation.
Compensation for motor vehicle accident injuries is provided though the Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP) of the driver of the motor vehicle. The Insurance premium is paid when the car is registered in South Australia. The Compulsory Third Party Insurance scheme is managed by the Motor Accident Commission (MAC) which instructs one of the insurance companies – AAMI, Allianz, QBE and SGIC to manage claims for compensation due to personal injury.
You may receive claim forms from the insurer. We generally advise clients to discuss their claim with a solicitor before they fill out and submit their claim form, so that their claim is not adversely affected by what they disclose in the form.
Claimants have a six-month window of opportunity from the date of the accident in which to lodge their claim forms.
Our solicitors are happy to speak with you over the telephone or in person. The first half hour of the first meeting is free. Scammell & Co. also offers a no-win, no-fee arrangement for these matters.
Click on the questions below to reveal the answer:
I have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. What happens now?
- name and address of the other driver;
- cite their drivers license;
- car registration details;
- vehicle make and model; and
- vehicle insurance cover.
If the accident is minor, no one has been injured and the vehicle damage is estimated at less than $3,000, there is no legal obligation to report the accident to police. It is however recommended that you do so, because in many circumstances injuries do not become apparent until some time after the accident. It may also be difficult to determine the extent of any property damage. Insurers will also ask for the police report number to determine a property or personal injury claim.
If the accident has resulted in an injury or death, then the CTP insurer should be advised of the claim. The Compulsory Third Party regulator will also need to be contacted to determine which insurance company will manage your claim.
You are required to formally lodge any claim for personal injury within the specified period of 6 months following the accident.
An experienced Scammell & Co. personal injury lawyer can assess your case to determine potential entitlements.
I have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. Should I seek legal advice regarding my claim?
When an individual suffers injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident, the claim is dealt with initially by one of the Approved Insurers, namely AAMI, Allianz, QBE and SGIC. Although the insurer’s claims managers are competent with these cases, in our experience, the injured party would have benefited if they had instructed a solicitor.
Prior to signing or agreeing to any settlement of your claim for compensation, it is best to seek independent legal advice as to whether the offer provided by the insurer is fair and reasonable. The settlement is a once and for all payment and covers not only compensation for past losses, but also your entitlement to future losses.
If your compensation exceeds the sum of $25,000, you will be able to recover a proportion of your legal costs, or alternatively the insurer will contribute to your legal costs. The total amount paid in damages is made up of not only the settlement amount, but also amounts paid by the insurer for things like medical expenses throughout the duration of your claim. An experienced solicitor will be able to assist you regarding this aspect of your claim.
Additionally, for adults the Limitations of Actions Act (1936) also imposes a 3-year limitation in motor vehicle claims. This means that you have 3 years from the date of your accident to either finalise your claim, or alternatively file related court proceedings to protect your interests.
Do you do "no win – no fee"?
Scammell & Co. offers a “no win no fee” arrangement for motor vehicle accident claims. This means that we do not charge you for our legal fees unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for your claim.
If you succeed in your claim, the insurer will ordinarily pay a large portion of your legal fees.
In the event of a motor vehicle accident, who can make a claim under the CTP system?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and the vehicle at fault is registered in South Australia, you are entitled to make a claim against the South Australian Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme.
Similarly, if you are a passenger involved in a single or multiple vehicle accident, you are also entitled to make a claim, even if the driver at fault is the driver of the vehicle you are in.
Generally, if you are at fault for causing the accident, you will not be able to make a claim, but there are some exceptions.
If the driver at fault is either uninsured, unregistered or unknown, then the claim will be made under what is governed by the Nominal Defendant Scheme.
If the vehicle at fault for the collision is registered interstate, then the claim for personal injury will be managed by the relevant state’s compulsory third party scheme, not the South Australian scheme.
I’m at fault for a motor vehicle accident causing an injury. Am I liable to pay?
As an at fault driver, currently you do not have to pay towards the injury claim or any excess. This may however change when the CTP Scheme becomes fully privatised on 1 July 2019. Once this occurs, the private insurers will have liberty to charge their own set premiums or any applicable excesses.
However, there are some circumstances where the insurer may seek to recover directly from you the amounts paid to the injured party. These include, if you as an at fault driver:
- Were under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Drove an unregistered vehicle;
- Drove in a reckless manner such as speeding;
- You were unlicensed or disqualified from driving;
- You drove an unworthy vehicle.
I have sustained an injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident. What compensation am I entitled to?
If you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault, or not entirely your fault, you may well have a claim. There is a threshold test for the injuries you suffer that you must exceed before you are entitled to claim pain and suffering. It is important that advice is sought as soon as possible so that your rights are preserved.
There are a number of different components that make up compensation payable to you.
In the first instance, you should be entitled to payment of medical expenses up to the date of settlement of your claim. Past economic loss (ie time off from work) is covered if the appropriate supporting documentation (such as medical certificates, letters from doctors) are provided to the insurer. This payment however is made at the end of a claim.
Further to this, the legislation sets out that in order to have access to certain heads of compensation, your injuries must meet a prescribed threshold. This prescribed threshold is determined under the Injury Scale Value (ISV).
What this means is that in order to be entitled to other heads of damages, such as pain and suffering, and economic loss, your injury must be assessed as meeting certain thresholds. For example, in order to be entitled to claim pain and suffering, otherwise known as general damages, your injury must exceed an ISV value of 10, whilst to be compensated for any future loss component, your ISV must exceed 7 points. Additionally, section 56A(5) of the Civil Liability Act 1936 legislates that any compensation for economic loss, whether past or future, is discounted by 20%.
Additionally, there is compensation payable for gratuitous services provided by family members specifically by a parent, spouse, domestic partner or child. This entitlement however, does not arise unless the ISV exceeds 10 points, and the services are provided for a period of 6 hours per week, for a consecutive period of 6 months.
Clearly, this is quite a complex area of your injury claim. It is strongly recommended that you seek independent legal advice to ensure you are adequately compensated for your injury.
What is the Injury Scale Value (ISV)?
In July 2014, the State government made significant changes to the previous compulsory third party scheme. A number of these significant changes have unfortunately had the effect that an individual’s claim to compensation is limited.
The ISV is a list of recognised injuries. Each type of injury is essentially assigned with a range item number. Each item number is then further assigned a range value depending on the severity of the injury. Each ISV item number or point then has a regulated prescribed monetary amount.
Below is a table with some examples:
|145||Minor foot injury||0-3|
Examples of the injury:
A simple metatarsal fracture, ruptured ligament, puncture wound or similar injury Comment about appropriate level of ISV An ISV of 2 or less will be appropriate if there is a straightforward foot injury, for example, a fracture, laceration or contusions, from which the injured person will fully recover
|81||Moderate cervical spine injury – fracture, disc prolapse (herniated disc) or nerve root compression or damage||5-15|
An ISV for this item will be appropriate if—
(a) there is a herniated disc for which there is radiological evidence corresponding to an anatomically correct level of objective neurological impairment; and
(b) there are symptoms of pain and 3 or more of the following objective signs that are anatomically localised to an appropriate spinal nerve root distribution—
(i) sensory loss;
(ii) loss of muscle strength and/or corresponding trophy;
(iii) impaired reflexes;
(iv) unilateral atrophy; and
(c) the impairment has not improved after non-operative treatment
|88||Moderate thoracic or lumbar spine injury—soft tissue injury||5-10|
The injury will cause moderate permanent impairment, for which there is a clinical history and examination findings that are compatible with a specific injury for which there will be 2 or more objective signs.
Comment about appropriate level of ISV An ISV at the top half of the range is appropriate if there is a whole of person impairment of 8% caused by a traumatic soft tissue injury 5
|91||Serious shoulder injury||16-30|
The injury will involve serious trauma to the shoulder causing serious permanent impairment.
Examples of the injury
• A crush injury
• A serious fracture with secondary arthritis
• Nerve palsies from which the injured person will partially recover
• Established non-union of a clavicular or scapular fracture despite open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF)
• Established non-union of a clavicular or scapular fracture if surgery is not appropriate or not possible, and there is significant functional impairment
Additional comment about appropriate level of ISV An ISV at or near the top of the range will be appropriate if there is whole person impairment for the injury of 25% and the injury is to the dominant upper limb.
What is important to understand is that if you have suffered multiple injuries in a motor vehicle accident, it is only the dominant injury that is assessed. There is however some scope for an increased range to be applied of up to 25% in certain circumstances. Additionally, the assessment can only be performed once your injury has stabilised.
What is the Lifetime Support Scheme?
The Lifetime Support Scheme (LSS) is a regulated no-fault scheme that provides assistance to individuals who have suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident in South Australia. The service includes funding for treatment, care and support. The LSS is a relatively new scheme that came into operation on 1 July 2014.
This means that even if you are at fault for a single vehicle accident, you may still have access to necessary and reasonable treatment if you sustain lifelong injuries or significant injuries. These significant injuries include brain injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputations, severe burns and blindness.
This is something that has not previously been offered to at fault drivers. A common example on our roads are accidents on our country roads where a high-speed accidents can occur when kangaroos jump out unexpectedly.
In order to participate in the scheme, you, a carer or an advocate will need to complete the relevant application form and the merits of the application will be assessed. If an unfavourable decision regarding eligibility is made, there is scope to dispute the decision. Any eligibility dispute must be lodged within six (6) months of receipt of the initial decision.
I have been injured in a bicycle accident. Am I entitled to make a claim?
With cycling participation in South Australia on the rise, so too are the number of reported cases of bicycle accidents. Statistics reveal accidents involving bicycles have increased 1.4% per year over the past decade. Due to these accidents cyclists can sustain minor or serious injuries – even death, and have the potential to cause long-term psychological issues.
Despite the rise in bicycle-related accidents, whether they occur on a road, bikeway, footpath or in a park, most cyclists are unaware of their rights to make a compensation claim under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme. For example, if a cyclist is injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the driver, then the driver’s insurer will pay the cyclist’s reasonable and necessary expenses over the course of the claim. These expenses may include past and future medical costs, general damages, wage loss, out of pocket expenses and ongoing care and assistance costs. Legal fees incurred by the injured cyclist are usually covered as well. If the cyclist is killed in the accident, the victim’s family members may also be entitled to make a ‘dependency’ compensation claim for their loss.
Scammell & Co. offers ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements for injured cyclists, and our dedicated team of injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to protect your legal rights and help you get fair compensation.