The National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) is presently in the process of being implemented in Queensland. The Scheme is being introduced to cater for those who suffer catastrophic injuries in car accidents, workplace accidents and other accidents in Queensland who do not have a right to recover personal injury compensation or damages to assist them with the medical treatment, aids and care they need to help them with their injuries.
The NIIS will not affect Common Law rights to sue for car accident injuries
The Personal Injury Lawyers have advised previously of the Scheme's introduction during 2016, with those suffering catastrophic injuries in car accidents having a right to seek assistance from the Scheme from 1 July 2016. See our article on the NIIS at the following link: Car accident victims to receive assistance from NIIS.
There were initially some concerns that this Scheme would impede the rights of those who suffer serious injuries in car accidents from being able to pursue their Common Law rights of seeking damages and compensation in the Courts for the negligence of the driver who caused their injuries.
Yesterday, the Queensland Government submitted legislation in respect to the implementation of the NIIS in Queensland and made it clear in a public statement that the NIIS would not take away the Common Law rights of car accident victims to seek full compensation for the injuries they sustain in a motor vehicle accident, when the accident has resulted from the wrongful act or omission of another person. In the Government's press release it was recognised that the Queensland people did not accept the removal of Common Law rights to sue in work injury claims introduced by Campbell Newman during his time in Government and the Queensland Labor Party had heeded the public's wishes in this respect when considering the National Injury Insurance Scheme implementation in Queensland.
In the statement released yesterday, the Labor Government stated:
“Furthermore, the State Government have put forward a model to deliver this that will not only provide this coverage; it will also protect all existing rights for those who are catastrophically injured where there is fault established.
“That means that those people will continue to have the ability to pursue their common law right to seek full compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, as they do now, should these people choose to exercise that option once the NIIS is implemented.
“That design component of the model is very important – we must have a scheme to cover people who currently have no form of coverage if injured, but it’s important that such a scheme does not cut existing rights for those people injured in accidents where there is fault.
“The proposed model put forward by Government gets this balance right – it levels up coverage for those who currently have no cover, and protects rights for those that do.
“The Queensland electorate rejected the Newman Government’s removal of rights to sue for workplace injuries and it is important that all sides of politics acknowledge the public’s desire to preserve those rights here, for motor accident victims."
For those who are not aware of the legislation introduced by the Newman Government, taking away the rights of injured workers to sue for injuries sustained in the course of their work, this legislation was introduced in October 2013. It provided that an injured worker must achieve a degree of permanent impairment for their work injury of more than 5% before they had any right to seek Common Law damages for their work injury. This resulted in a huge injustice for many Queensland workers who were unable to seek damages for injuries sustained that stopped them from continuing in their usual work duties. In particular, in cases involving manual labourers who may suffer injuries assessed at less than 6% permanent impairment, but were no longer, due to the injury, able to pursue their usual work as bricklayers, tilers, removalists, electricians or plumbers etc, and many of whom were not eligible to retrain into more sedentary and lighter duties such as administration or office work.
When the Labor Government came to power on 31 January 2015, they repealed the Newman 6% rule, bringing back the rights of all workers in Queensland to be able to sue for work injuries sustained in the course of their work, whatever the degree of impairment impairment relating to the injury. Unfortunately however, those that have suffered their work injury during the period of the Newman legislation are still subject to the rule. So if you sustained a work injury during the period from 15 October 2013 to 30 January 2015, you are still required to achieve more than a 5% degree of permanent impairment for your work injury to have any entitlement to sue for proper compensation for the loss and damage sustained because of the injury.
For more information about the Campbell Newman restriction on work injury claims, go to our article on the subject at the following link: Restriction on workplace injury claims in Queensland
The NIIS is being implemented in all Australian States, and will start in regard to car accident injury victims from 1 July 2016, as indicated above, however, it is intended to eventually assist any person in Queensland who suffers a catastrophic injury or medical condition for which they need help with care, medical treatment or medical aids. The purpose of the Scheme is to ensure all those who suffer serious medical conditions or injury will have the care and support they need. So this will include those who suffer injury in the workplace, from a slip and fall event in a public place, medical malpractice, or who are involved in a car accident, whether the injury is casued by the fault of another or their own act or omission.
Have you sustained an injury through the negligent act or omission of another person?
If so, you need to contact us here at The Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as possible so we can advise you as to whether you have a right to seek compensation or damages for your injury, as well as to whether you have a right to assistance under the NIIS. This may be very important for you where you cannot obtain help from the insurer of the at-fault party whilst you are waiting for your personal injury claim to resolve.
Strict time limits apply to personal injury claims in Queensland and notice periods also apply under the legislative schemes that govern personal injury claims in Queensland. So it is very important that you contact us as soon as possible following your injury to ensure that you are not missing out on your entitlement to claim significant compensation or damages.
You can contact us by telephoning us on 1300 782 202 or you can submit one of our Free instant claim assessment forms on our website. We also have a Livechat service which you can utilise or you can leave a message through our Livechat Service and we will contact you. All initial consultations are FREE of charge, are 100% percent confidential and are without any obligation. You can also request one of our FREE claim information packs.