Motor vehicle accidents
Motor Accident Claims
Due to recent changes to the law related to motor vehicle accident claims, the information contained below is only relevant to those who were involved in motor vehicle accidents that occurred before 1 February 2020. We are currently updating our website and will provide information for those injured in motor vehicle accidents on or after 1 February 2020. Please contact us on (02) 6230 1999 for more information.
Regardless of how careful or good of a driver you are, you can’t control the actions of other road users. Accidents inevitably happen, and if you do suffer injury, it is important that you talk to a lawyer at BDN Lawyers as soon as possible to ensure that your right to claim compensation is not prejudiced.
Motor accident legislation in the ACT currently entitles people who have been injured in a motor vehicle that was not their fault to claim:
- Wage loss
- Medical expenses
- Damages for pain and suffering and
- Domestic assistance
Our personal injury experts will assist you to identify the insurer against whom the claim needs to be made, complete the claim forms, deal with the insurer on your behalf and assist you to obtain the medical treatment you need to recover from your injuries.
Motor accident legislation is complex and the insurer rarely has your best interests at heart, as such it is important that you talk to one of our personal injury experts as soon as possible.
Unfortunately it is not possible to determine exactly how much compensation a person will be entitled at the beginning of a claim. Injuries take time to resolve and some people will suffer unexpected disabilities that cause them to be unable to work for longer periods than others.
Every claim is unique and the purpose of instructing a good lawyer is to ensure that proper evidence of injuries and resultant disabilities is provided to the insurer.
Personal injury claims do not resolve overnight. Unfortunately, it is necessary for claimants to wait until their injuries stabilise and future prognosis can be assessed.
As a general rule, minor claims usually resolve within 6 to 12 months. Claims involving more serious injury however can take 2 to 4 years to resolve.
Personal injury claims are complicated and involve significant amounts of legal work by your lawyers. While one of the purposes of insurance is to enable payment of compensation to an injured party, insurers rarely agree to payment without a fight. To assist injured claimants, most firms who practice in personal injury offer “no win no fee” agreements.
“No win no fee” is an arrangement provided in personal injury proceedings whereby the lawyers agree not to charge their professional costs if the client is unsuccessful with their claim.
In exchange for offering a “no win no fee” service, many law firms will charge a premium in legal fees, meaning that an injured claimant will usually end up paying more to their lawyers. This is extremely relevant because although some claimants are unfortunate enough to not succeed with their personal injury claims, law firms will always assess a claim to make sure it has good prospects of success before offering a “no win no fee” service. What this means in simple terms, is that the law firm agrees to act on a “no win no fee” basis, knowing that it is far more likely they will win the claim than not, and also knowing they will ultimately be able to charge more in legal fees.
While BDN Lawyers offer “no win no fee” services, we do not use this as an opportunity or excuse to charge a premium for our legal services.
Unfortunately it is impossible to say how much a claimant will need to pay in legal fees at the very start of a claim.
We can however assure our clients that if they are successful with their claim, then the insurer will pay approximately 80% of the legal fees, and the remaining 20% will be paid from compensation monies received at the end of the claim. Furthermore, if we can convince the insurer to pay all of the legal costs, then our clients are charged no out of pocket costs at all!
As a general rule, the insurer is only required by law to pay about 80% of a claimant’s legal costs. As such, there is usually an unrecoverable component of legal costs that needs to be paid by the client at the end of the claim. That said, BDN Lawyers believe strongly in looking after our clients, and we are always looking to minimise the out of pocket legal costs of our clients, and from time to time, we are successful in achieving an outcome where our clients pay no out of pocket costs at all.
There are strict time limits associated with motor accident claims.
In the first instance, the insurer needs to be put on notice of the claim within the earlier of:
- 9 months following the accident or
- Within 1 month of instructing a lawyer to provide legal advice about the claim
If notice is not provided within this period, the insurer will not accept the claim until a reasonable excuse for the delay is provided. Even if a reasonable excuse is provided, it is not uncommon for insurers to require injured people to commence court proceedings to obtain leave of the court to pursue the claim.
Secondly, a limitation period of 3 years applies from the date of the accident. What this means in general terms, is that court proceedings must be initiated within 3 years of the date of the accident, otherwise, your entitlement to claim damages may be extinguished.