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What is involved in making a claim for compensation following a motor vehicle accident?

By | Articles, Compensation, Insurance

Motor vehicle accidents can often lead to confusing and stressful times. They are occurrences people often do not consider until they themselves are involved in an accident. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should be aware of the initial processes which will be involved should you make a claim for compensation.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident – in Queensland – and decide to make a claim for compensation, the initial process is governed by the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (QLD). This ensures that any claim made by any injured person follows the same process and involves the same steps.

The first step you have to take if you wish to make a claim for compensation following a motor vehicle accident is to serve the CTP Insurer of the other driver, commonly known as the Insured, with a Notice of Accident Claim Form. This form provides formal notice to the CTP Insurer of their Insured that you are seeking compensation for the accident which occurred, and contains all relevant information about the people and vehicles involved, the details of the accident and the injuries you have suffered.

It is important to remember that if you wish to make a claim for compensation, the Notice of Accident Claim Form must be served on the CTP Insurer within 6 months from the date of the motor vehicle accident. However, if you decide to consult a solicitor about the possibility of making a claim for compensation following a motor vehicle accident, you are then required to serve the Notice of Accident Claim Form within 1 month from the date you met with your lawyer.

After you have served the Notice of Accident Claim Form on the CTP Insurer, they will have 14 days to assess the Notice of Accident Claim Form and provide a compliance response. This is a formal response confirming that your claim for compensation is compliant with the requirements of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (QLD).  Once you have compliance, the CTP Insurer should then offer to meet your reasonable rehabilitation costs.

From the date of compliance, the CTP Insurer then has 6 months to undertake investigations into the accident. These investigations allow the CTP Insurer to fully understand the circumstances of the accident and to determine whether they admit or deny liability for the accident. During this time, you should consider getting further and formal medical assessments of your injuries, and gathering information about the damage you may claim, such as lost wages and medical or pharmaceutical expenses.

After the 6-month investigation period has passed, the CTP Insurer has to provide notice as to whether they accept liability for the accident. It is at this time that they will likely also attempt to make an assessment of your damages and attempt to resolve your claim through making you a written offer of settlement. With any offer made by the CTP Insurer, it is important that you understand the process and the offer being made.

The offer needs to include any amount you are entitled to claim for:

  1. General damages
  2. Economic loss
  3. Medical expenses (past & future)
  4. Care and assistance
  5. General out of pocket expenses

When any offer is made, it is important to make sure that the offer includes everything you may be entitled to claim as any settlement is a once and for all settlement.  For this reason, an injured person may choose to seek assistance and advice when negotiating a settlement

It is common that the parties involved in a motor vehicle accident will attend a compulsory conference to discuss the accident and their offers of settlement. Claims for compensation are commonly settled at this stage, however if you do not accept the offer of settlement, you will then have to make a formal Claim for damages in Court.

The process involved in making a claim for compensation following a motor vehicle accident has been streamlined by the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (QLD) however we understand can still be an overwhelming and confusing. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and are considering making a claim for compensation or have any questions about what is involved in making a claim for compensation, contact our Gold Coast Lawyers team for an obligation free consultation.

Are you covered if your Airbnb guests injures themselves

Are You Covered if Your Airbnb Guests Injures Themselves?

By | Articles, Insurance

This is the first question that you should ask yourself if you are considering renting your property on Airbnb.

Are you renting your whole house or unit on Airbnb or perhaps just renting out a room?  Have you got the right cover? What will happen if one of your guests injures themselves or worse still, dies due to a fault with your property?

If you think your home building and contents insurance will cover you in the event of an accident, you may be in for a rude shock.  Household insurance will generally only cover you for non-commercial activities.

If you rent your property on a one-off basis then your home insurer may allow this if you inform them prior or they may allow it and you will have to purchase a specific endorsement so that you are adequately covered.

If you are regularly renting your whole property out on Airbnb or regularly renting out a room of your property, then this will be deemed to be commercial activity or business activity and your home insurance will not cover you. If someone injures themselves in your property due to your negligence you could be up for hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in compensation. This would financially ruin most people, but it is completely avoidable with the right insurance cover in place.

Landlord insurance policies are available and may offer broader cover than short term policies, but beware, they may only cover you for long term rentals. Check with your insurer rather than take a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude and end up losing all your assets.

There are specific insurance policies available for short term rentals and Airbnb offer their own insurance. IAG also offer a policy but you should ensure that whatever policy you choose, it is right for your circumstances.

You should check what the policy covers you for and what exclusions are applicable. Some things that you should make sure are included are as follows:

  • Theft of items in your home;
  • Damage to your home;
  • Personal liability in the event of injury or death to your guests; and
  • Identity theft.

You should look carefully at the exclusions and limits on the amount payable in certain categories of coverage. If loss of rent if your guests cancel or cut short their stay are important to you, you should note that most short term stay policies don’t cover this. You may have to pay for an extension to your policy to cover this.

The bottom line is, do your research and insure yourself properly. Be open and honest with your insurer. Then, if the worst happens your insurer can deal with the claim and you can rest assured that you are protected.

Contact our Lawyers Gold Coast today for more information.

Putting a Price On Pain & Suffering

Putting a Price On Pain & Suffering

By | Articles, Insurance

Recent reform to awards for pain and suffering for those who have suffered a workplace injury brings the Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation Act into line with the damages available under the Civil Liability Act for motor vehicle and other accidents, thereby creating a more uniform compensation scheme in Queensland.

Serious injury invariably leads to loss of income and added expenses for the claimant. The cost of medical treatment coupled with an inability to work during rehabilitation is a source of serious financial strain for many Australian families. A successful claim for damages will help offset this loss.

Unless the claimant is a minor, the right to claim will generally expire three years after the accident occurred, or after the claimant became aware their injuries were caused by an accident. Thus, it is vital that claims are initiated in a timely manner.

Personal injury claims only succeed if another person (such as your employer or other vehicle driver) owed a duty to the claimant, and breached that duty through negligent action or inaction. A causative link to the injuries must also be demonstrated.

Negligence by the claimant may reduce or eliminate the compensation. Claimants must avoid obvious risks and take care for their own safety.

Awards for pain and suffering (general damages) are based on medical opinion which determines the severity of the injury suffered and any resultant long term impairment. For injuries sustained from 1 July 2010 onwards, the Workers Compensation & Rehabilitation Regulations Injury Scale Value tables sets out the awards payable.

However, there is more to a personal injuries claim than simply attempting to quantify the pain and loss of enjoyment of life suffered. Additional types of awards may be made to successful claimants:

  • past economic loss (and past superannuation);
  • estimated future economic loss (and future superannuation);
  • past hospital/medical/rehabilitation costs and related out of pocket expenses;
  • predicted future rehabilitative expenses and out-of-pocket expenses; and
  • care provided, in the past and/or future, by family and friends, or employed carers and other service providers.

These awards aim to put the claimant back in the position they would be in had the negligence and resultant injury not occurred. This can return some kind of financial normalcy to the lives of those affected by serious injury.

 

 

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