Can I Represent Myself In My Own Motor Vehicle Injury Compensation Claim?
Well you could, but this recent Brisbane District Court decision is a stark reminder of the dangers those injured in a motor vehicle accident face when representing themselves in their claim.
On 9 March 2011, Mr Crane was in a car accident that caused him to suffer injuries to his back and shoulders, right knee, and also his forehead, nose and teeth which had struck the steering wheel from the force of collision.
Liability was admitted by the CTP Insurer, Allianz, and there was no doubt that Mr Crane had been involved in the car accident, which required him to be taken by ambulance to Redland Hospital.
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Claimant Sought Over $100,000 for dental and medical costs In His Motor Vehicle Accident Claim
Despite claiming $101,000 for dental and medical costs, Mr Crane did not produce any documentation to support his claim at trial. Allianz produced hundreds of pages of medical, dental and other documentation, and also called two expert medical witnesses, an orthopaedic surgeon and a psychiatrist.
Based on the evidence presented at trial, the District Court concluded that the whiplash injury Mr Crane sustained in the accident resolved approximately three weeks after the accident, and that he had not suffered any dental or psychiatric injuries as a result of the collision. This was despite Mr Crane’s evidence that he continued to suffer great pain and discomfort and was unable to return to work.
Court awarded only $2,360.00 And Claimant Was Forced to Pay Allianz $36,952.95
After considering all of the evidence presented, the Court awarded Mr Crane a sum of only $2,360.00. The amount of the judgment was the first misfortune to Mr Crane. Unfortunately, it did not stop there.
The legislation that applies to motor vehicle accident injury claims in Queensland is designed to encourage early resolution of claims. Because Mr Crane had rejected an offer of settlement previously made by Allianz, which was higher than the amount awarded by the District Court, Mr Crane was ordered to pay Allianz’ legal costs at a sum of $36,952.95. Not only did Mr Crane not receive any compensation in his motor vehicle accident claim, he was laden with a debt repayable to Allianz in excess of $30,000.00.
Crane v Boyd and Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd  QDC 177 is just one example of where things can go manifestly wrong for those claimants who choose to make a motor vehicle accident claim without the expert advice of a personal injury lawyer.
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