Late developing MVA injuries – when is it too late to make a claim?

If you have been involved in a motor accident and initially felt fine but are now suffering injuries that you believe are the result of that accident you may be able to claim compensation under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW).  

Who can make a claim for compensation?

Regardless of whether you were a driver, passenger, rider or pedestrian, if you have suffered an injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Can I claim compensation if I was the “at fault” driver?

A Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme is in force in New South Wales. That means that all vehicle owners are required to prove that they have a policy of CTP insurance when they register their motor vehicle. This applies to the owners of motor bicycles as well as cars and trucks.

CTP does not cover an “at fault” driver of a vehicle. However, if you are a passenger, rider, pedestrian or the driver of another vehicle injured as a result of another driver’s actions you are able to make a claim on the CTP insurance held by the negligent (“at fault”) driver.

What types of claims are covered by CTP insurance and are there any time limits for making a claim?

If you have been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence you may be able to make a claim for personal injury damages. The type of claim you make will depend on the severity of your injuries and any damages you have suffered.

Accident Notification Claim – If your injuries are relatively limited then you may only need to make an Accident Notification Claim. This type of claim needs to be lodged with the CTP insurer of the negligent driver within 28 days after the date of your accident.

Compensation for these types of claims is limited to a maximum of $5,000 and is compensation for expenses incurred in the six month period after the accident.

Personal Injury Claim – If your injuries end up being more serious then you may need to consider making a Personal Injury Claim. This type of claim covers ongoing injuries that will last for more than six months and/or significant loss and damage including loss of wages that is likely to exceed $5,000. Personal Injury claims need to be made in within 6 months of the date of the accident.

Are any other types of claims for compensation possible?

If you are in the unfortunate position of having lost a family member as a result of a motor vehicle accident you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

What if I can’t identify the driver who was at fault?

Sometimes it is difficult or even impossible to identify the driver who caused the accident.

If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident it is still possible to claim compensation. In circumstances where the driver cannot be identified the claim is made against the Nominal Defendant. Claims against the Nominal Defendant also need to be made within 6 months of the date of the accident.

What if the time allowed for making a claim has already expired?

If you are outside the time limits discussed above, we may still be able to make a claim on your behalf. For claims made outside the timeframes allowed by the legislation an extension needs to be obtained from a relevant court.

In order to bring a claim out of time special circumstances need to be demonstrated to show why the claim should be allowed. Things that will be taken into account include the length of any delay and any reasons for the delay in lodging your claim. For example, if you were hospitalised for a significant length of time and your injuries were severe, this may be a relevant consideration.

It is very important that any delay is not extended unnecessarily otherwise your right to claim compensation could be jeopardised.

Always seek advice and the sooner the better

Being injured in a motor vehicle accident can have a serious impact on your quality of life as well as the lives of your family and those closest to you. We understand that this can be a very stressful time for you and the time limits imposed by the legislation can be an added stress. We are always happy to talk to you and advise you as to what we think is the best way forward for your particular situation.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please email us on [email protected], or phone us at Lismore on 02 6621 2481, Ballina on 02 6686 2522 or Byron Bay on 02 6680 8525.