Recent Amendments to the NSW Motor Accidents Scheme
There are some recent changes to the NSW motor accidents legislation that injured people and treatment providers should be made aware of. These were brought about by the enactment of the Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Act 2022 (NSW).
AMENDMENTS AS TO PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
The first of the amendments involved improvements to the efficiency of the motor accidents claims process that applies to all CTP personal injury claims. The legislature has now removed a clog on the claims process which required all injured persons to seek an internal review of a decision made by the insurer regarding a whole person impairment threshold dispute. Claimants can now lodge a dispute directly with the Personal Injury Commission without having to wait for the insurer to conduct a review.
The legislature also put an end to a further clog on the system, which required injured claimants to wait an inordinately long period of time before lodging a claim for damages or settling their claim. People who wish to bring a claim for damages (as opposed to the basic statutory entitlements of weekly benefits, home care and treatment) no longer have to wait 20 months after the subject incident. For those claimants whose injuries do not exceed the 10% threshold, they do not have to wait two years after the accident before settling their claim.
These are welcomed changes to the claims process which will bring about greater productivity and improved efficiency within the motor accidents scheme.
AMENDMENTS AS TO BENEFITS AND ENTITLEMENTS
The wording under the legislation has been changed. The term “minor injury” broadly referred to a soft tissue injury or unrecognised psychiatric illness. Those types of injuries are now referred to as “threshold injuries”.
Prior to the statutory amendments, injured claimants who were wholly/substantially at fault or sustained only threshold injuries were only entitled to the basic statutory entitlements for a period of 26 weeks. That period of entitlement has now been extended to 52 weeks.
In the event that the insurer asserts contributory negligence on the part of the claimant (alleging he/she was partly to blame for the accident) weekly payments will drop down after a period of one year, rather than six months.
The changes also introduced a mechanism for allowing claimants to receive back payments in circumstances where they lodge their claims for weekly benefits after the 28-day time limit. Provided a proper explanation is provided to the insurer, those back payments can now be made.
The NSW motor accident scheme is an intricate and complex system. It is imperative that you obtain competent legal advice in relation to your claim for compensation and/or damages arising from a motor vehicle accident.
Parramatta City Legal Pty Ltd has been prosecuting claims for personal injury damages for over 20 years. Our team of lawyers, consultants and barristers have over 100 years of collective legal experience in running Personal injury claims.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident or any other circumstance, please feel free to contact our office to take advantage of our free initial consultation and written advice. Our initial attendances upon you are strictly confidential, obligation free and protected by privilege.