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New scheme for injured motorists presents new challenges

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Slater and Gordon lawyers are urging NSW residents to act quickly if they are injured in a motor accident with the introduction of major changes to the state’s compulsory third party (CTP) insurance laws.

The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 – which comes into effect today – requires injured motorists to lodge claims in the first 28 days after an accident. Failure to do so will mean they will miss out on compensation they would have received up until that point.

The largest and already widely discussed change delivered under the new system is a move from a lump sum payment system to a mixed fault/no-fault weekly payments structure. Access to lump sum payments will be restricted.

Senior Slater and Gordon Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Genevieve Henderson said the new approach had radically changed the CTP insurance system.

“The new laws are complex for those making claims, with issues around the level of injury and complex issues around fault,’’ Ms Henderson said.

“Injured motorists need to be aware of their rights, particularly in relation to the 28-day time limits – or they could lose part of the financial support they are entitled to.

“Most people don’t think they will ever be in a road accident but they need to know what the process is in the unfortunate case that it does happen.”

Ms Henderson said under the new system, injured motorists would be dealing more closely with the insurer as there will be more check points for the person claiming support.

She also said the weekly payments available to an injured motorist had been capped at less than a person’s wage loss.

“Financial compensation is crucial to all people injured in road accidents, but particularly important to people in industries such as trade professions, aged care and nursing who rely on their physical fitness to perform their job,” Ms Henderson said. 

“I am pleased that this new scheme does seek to provide compensation to someone with the type of injury – a more than minor injury – that genuinely stops the not-at-fault motorists from working.

“However, it is really important for motorists to understand the new system as well as they can, so that they don’t miss out.’’

Ms Henderson said the laws also called on motorists to report an accident to police in order to receive an “event number” – without which they would not be able to make an insurance claim.

The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 was passed on by the NSW Parliament on March 30 this year.

For more information go to http://www.greenslips.nsw.gov.au