If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is very important to ensure you adhere to the strict time limits imposed by the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999. There are various time limitations for lodging a claim, which are explained as follows:
- The incident must be reported to the NSW Police within 28 days of the accident;
- The Accident Notification Form (ANF) is to be lodged within 28 days of the accident;
- The Motor Accident Personal Injury Claim Form (PICF) must be lodged within the first 6 months of the date of the accident;
Court proceedings, if they are issued, are to commence within 3 years of the date of the accident.
With respect to point 1 above, once you have reported the incident to the Police, you must remember to obtain an Event Number (it is 9 digits long, and begins with the letter “E”). Further, once you have reported the incident to the Police within the time frame, they will usually then conduct investigations into the matter and nominate a vehicle as being responsible for the incident. This should then assist you in the claim, if it is the case that the vehicle nominated as being responsible for the accident is the other vehicle your said accident.
With respect to point 2 above, this form is not compulsory, however if it is lodged within the required time frame, you will be automatically entitled to receive up to $5,000 worth of treatment and income/economic loss should you require this within the first 6 months. You must remember to have the medical certificate at the back of the form completed by your GP or treating specialist and attach it to the form before lodgement.
Should you continue to need treatment and/or continue to sustain income loss because of the motor vehicle accident for a period longer than 6 months, then it is imperative that you lodge the Personal Injury Claim Form, mentioned at point 2. In fact, it is compulsory that you lodge this form with the first 6 months of you accident so that you can secure any future rights and entitlements to compensation for the injuries that you sustain as a result of the motor vehicle accident. You must also remember to have the medical certificate at the back of the form completed by your GP or treating specialist and attach it to the form before lodgement. For further information on how to complete this form, you will need to seek legal advice.
Once your form has been lodged against the relevant CTP insurer, they will then provide you with a response as to their decision on liability. If they admit liability, they will then be responsible for paying for all of your reasonable and necessary treatment expenses. This will continue until such time that you no longer require the treatment and/or when you make a lump sum claim.
The Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 allows for various heads of damage which you will be able to claim by way of lump sum, namely:
a) past and future treatment expenses
b) past and future economic loss
c) past and future care and domestic assistance (for assistance provided on a commercial basis or for assistance provided by family and/or friends)
d) an amount for your pain and suffering (also known as non-economic loss)
For more information and advice as to how to make a lump sum claim, please seek legal advice.
It will be very difficult to initiate court proceedings if you have not lodged your claim form correctly. For further advice on whether you will need to commence court proceedings in your claim, please obtain legal advice.
Other things to remember if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident is to obtain the names and contact details of witnesses to the incident, seek immediate medical attention, and maintain a folder/diary of all receipts/invoices for treatment, copies of all documents and claim forms you have completed, keep a log of the kilometres travelled to and from your medical appointments, and a log of all domestic or care and assistance provided by your friends/family.