If you have been injured in a car accident, motor cycle accident, truck accident, tram accident, bicycle accident or as a pedestrian, you may very well be entitled to claim accident compensation for your injuries under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (also known as the “MAIA”).
The Personal Injury Lawyers handle all motor accident injury claims, from whiplash injuries to catastrophic injuries such as amputation injuries, internal injuries, serious head trauma resulting in brain injury, paraplegia, quadraplegia and tetraplegia cases.
People sometimes think that because they have suffered a simple whiplash injury in an accident, which seems to improve in the weeks or months following the accident, it is not worthwhile making a claim or there is no need for a claim to be made.
Even "minor" injuries can become debilitating - don't assess your own situation
Unfortunately, what often appears to be a minor injury following an accident, can end up being quite a debilitating injury over time. For example, whiplash injuries to the cervical spine (neck) can end up resulting in recurrent headaches, migraines, and muscle spasms and ongoing pain and restriction in the neck, upper back, shoulders and arms. Similarly, a whiplash or jarring injury to the back can result in long-term lower back issues over time, causing problems with sitting, standing or walking for extended periods and ongoing back pain and stiffness.
Don't assess your injuries yourself. Sometimes, the full extent of an injury does not come to light until many months or even years after the accident and can deteriorate over time. This can be very debilitating on every day functioning and employment. It is therefore important you take steps to investigate your claim entitlements and protect yourself if you have suffered any motor accident injury, even if you consider it to be a simple or minor injury, as this may not be the case in the future. You may be missing out on significant compensation that you need to ensure you and your family are protected now and in the future.
And remember, time limits do apply to your motor accident claim. If you leave it too late, you may no longer have a right to make a claim. You should contact The Personal Injury Lawyers to investigate your entitlements to claim without delay.
And if you have sustained whiplash injuries in a car accident, you may like to request a FREE booklet prepared by the University of Queensland Whiplash Research Team, providing advice on whiplash injuries and the treatment recommended for such injuries, by clicking on the link: Send me a free copy of "Whiplash Injury Recovery - a Self Help Guide".
What sort of compensation are you entitled to?
If you do have a motor accident claim, injury compensation which you may be entitled to claim includes:
- Compensationi for pain and suffering and loss of your amenities of life;
- Loss of past and future wages or business profits (including loss of superannuation payments);
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses that you have incurred and are likely to incur in the future;
- Past and future Care costs;
- Out of pocket expenses;
- The Compulsory Third Party Insurer (or "CTP Insurer") has obligations under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, to meet your medical & rehabilitation needs during your motor accident claim, to ensure that you get the treatment and assistance you need for your injuries. They will fund such things as physio treatment, surgery, specialist treatment, hospitalisation costs, medication expenses, counselling, medical aids and devices, home and vehicle modifications as well as the provision of care and assistance where required;
- Where your injuries stop you from returning to work and you are struggling financially, you may be also entitled to an advance payment on damages to assist you financially whilst you are waiting for your motor accident claim to finalise;
- If your motor vehicle accident injury occurred on your way to or from work, during a work break, or during the course of your work, you are most likely entitled to claim workers' compensation benefits (or Workcover Statutory Benefitsi as they are also known), whilst you are recovering from your accident injuries. For more information on what such benefits mean to you, click on the term workers' compensation benefits.
How much compensation will you receive ?
Injuries affect everyone in different ways. A minor injury to some, may impact on another person to a much greater extent. The purpose of compensation is to compensate an injured party for the loss and damage they suffer as a consequence of the injury. The more the injury or injuries impact upon your pre-accident lifestyle and employment, the more compensation you will receive.
Because of the subjective nature of compensation payments for personal injury claims in Queensland, it is not possible to state a specific compensation amount for a certain injury. It will depend on what loss and damage is suffered because of that injury.
Some of the more dominant factors that impact upon compensation payments are the extent of the injury sustained as well as age, occupation, recreational interests and health of the injured party at the time of the accident occurring.
To give you an idea however of what types of compensation payments are being made in Queensland for motor accident claims, we have obtained the following statistical data from the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (otherwise known as MAIC), the body that regulates Compulsory Third Party insurance claims in Queensland in respect to car accident claims made in Queensland during the 2015 financial year (1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015):-
- There were 4731 motor accident claims in Qld in 2015;
- The average compensation payment for minor injuries was $69,365;
- The average compensation payment for moderate injuries was $139,938;
- The average compensation payment for serious injuries was $296,970;
- The average compensation payment for severe injuries was $519,058;
- The average compensation payment for critical injuries was $1,853,200.
Note that these are average payments only and every case is different. For example, The Personal Injury Lawyers case summary database provides the following case scenarios:
- A 42 year old woman, sales consultant, who suffered a simple whiplash injury to her cervical spine in a rear-ender motor vehicle accident achieved compensation of $400,000 because of the impact the injury had on her pre-injury lifestyle and employment, despite her whiplash injury being described by doctors as a "minor" injury;
- In the case of Austin v Parmalat Australia Ltd (2013)QSC 227, Mr Austin sustained a minor head injury when a milk crate fell on his head whilst unloading his work truck, however, the impact of the injury upon Mr Austin’s employment and occupation as a truck driver was such that he was awarded damages of $1,052,000.00 for his claim.
Of course, in cases of very serious injury and catastrophic injuries such as brain injury, paraplegia or amputation for example, compensation will be much higher than the figures discussed above, resulting in compensation payments involving multi-milliions of dollars. Examples of this from The Personal Injury Lawyers case summary database are:
- A 62 year old male labourer received over $2,000,000 for a below knee amputation injury to his left leg from a head on collision accident;
- A 15 year old male, who sustained paraplegia in a car accident but had recovered exceptionally well from his injuries and was pursuing tertiary studies for a professional career as a Merchant Banker, achieved over $4,000,000 in damages;
- The catastrophic injury case of Susan Delaney, who sustained extreme head injuries in a motorcycle accident leaving her in a vegetative state, resulting in a damages payment of over $9,000,000 by the insurer AAMI (Delaney v AAMI (2013) QSC).
Entitlement to lifetime care and assistance for catastrophic motor accident injuries
As from 1 July 2016, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and suffer catastrophic injuries including, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, severe burns, permanent blindness or multiple amputations, you will be entitled to lifetime care and assistance under the National Injury Insurance Scheme or NIIS. The scheme is not fault based, meaning that it does not matter whether the person who is suffering the catastrophic injury was responsible for the accident or not. They still have entitlement to claim for the following assistance in relation to their injuries:
- Medical expenses;
- Rehabilitation expenses;
- Ambulance transportation;
- Prosthetics, aids and appliances;
- Home and vehicle modifications;
- Education and vocational training;
- Care, including respite, attendant and domestic.
Precise legal processes must be followed to protect your claim
Strict time limits apply to all claims
Under the law that regulates motor accident injury claims in Queensland, STRICT TIME LIMITS APPLY in relation to placing the CTP Insurer on notice of your claim and for pursuing Common Law Damages. If you fail to comply with such time constraints, it may very well result in you not being able to proceed with your claim. You should contact The Personal Injury Lawyers to see what compensation rights you do have in relation to your injury and how to protect such rights.
For FREE LEGAL ADVICE* concerning whether you have a claim to pursue, contact our personal injury solicitors at The Personal Injury Lawyers on 1300 782 202 (available outside normal business hours) or submit this Free Appraisal Form.
If you would simply like to know more about motor accident claims, you can request one of our Claim Information Packs which will provide you with more information about your claim and what steps you need to take to protect and pursue your motor accident claim, by submitting your Request for Claim Information Pack. (available outside normal business hours) or submit this Free Appraisal Form.