Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation (ACT)
Updated on Nov 03, 2022 • 5 min read • 282 views • Copy Link
Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation (ACT)
The Australian Capital Territory introduced the Motor Accident Injuries Act Scheme in 2020. The scheme establishes a person’s rights to compensation in a motor vehicle accident. When someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident in the ACT, they can claim compensation for their medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This page looks at some important considerations when seeking motor vehicle accident compensation in the ACT.
Making a motor vehicle accident compensation claim
When a motor accident is serious enough to cause injury, all parties must exchange information and notify the police. If one of the parties involved in an accident refuses to provide contact details or leaves prior to the arrival of the police, the injured party or a witness should attempt to record their number plate. The ACT government has a register of number plates that reveal the insurers of registered vehicles. Once a claimant knows the name of the insurer, they can use the approved forms to make a claim. The claimant needs to provide full details about the accident, including a police report number. The claimant also needs to have their doctor complete a form detailing the injuries sustained in the accident.
What is covered?
The provisions of the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2019 are designed to minimise disputes between injured parties and insurance companies. Under the MAI Act Scheme, the injured party has a statutory entitlement to defined benefits from the relevant insurer (the insurer of the at-fault driver). Under these defined benefits, if someone dies as the result of a motor accident in the ACT, the at-fault driver’s insurer is liable for the funeral expenses and death benefits for the deceased’s dependents.
If someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident, they can access defined benefits, including payments for medical treatment. Under ACT law, the insurer must pay for treatment that is necessary and reasonable. However, this means that a claimant must obtain clearance prior to receiving a particular treatment; otherwise, an insurer may decide that it was unnecessary or unreasonable.
In addition to medical treatment, the relevant insurance company is also liable to pay income replacement for up to five years. In the first 13 weeks after an accident, a person who cannot work at all will receive 95% of their average weekly earnings. If the person is still unable to work after that time, they receive 80% of their average weekly earnings. The law encourages a claimant to earn as much as they can, given the extent of their injuries, and any income earnt will reduce the liability of the insurance company.
In addition to this support, some claimants will be able to access a lump-sum payment to compensate for their pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. These quality-of-life payments are only paid to someone who has serious injuries with long-term consequences. Eligibility for this type of payment can only be assessed when the injured person reaches their maximum recovery, typically between six and 18 months after the accident. A whole person impairment (WPI) is a medical assessment made by an independent medical expert.
Motor vehicle accident compensation review
When someone is unhappy with an insurance company’s offer of compensation, they can apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of the decision. ACAT’s role is to examine relevant insurers’ decisions and make decisions relating to the application of the MAI Act.
It is important to make a compensation claim as soon as possible. In the ACT, the injured party must make their claim within 13 weeks of the accident. It may be possible to make a claim after this deadline if the injured person has a reasonable excuse for the delay, especially if the nature of the injuries made it impractical to claim within the 13-week timeframe. Even if a claim is accepted after the limitation period, the claimant cannot ask for payment of backdated lost wages.
Common law negligence claims
Sometimes it is necessary to sue the at-fault party for negligence. A driver in the ACT has a duty of care to other drivers on the road, so when someone negligently causes a serious personal injury, the injured party has a right to compensation. However, common law personal injury claims are only available to individuals with a WPI over a specific limit. A claimant can obtain a much higher amount of compensation through a common law claim as it will cover the following:
- All current and future lost wages;
- Lost superannuation; and
- A lump sum of compensation for general damages, including loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.
Our experienced solicitors can assist you in making an initial claim, gather evidence to dispute a decision, represent you at ACAT, and prepare a common law claim for negligence.
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