I was injured in a vehicle collision.

If you have been injured due to the fault of a driver of a motor vehicle in Queensland you may have a claim, if:

  • you were a passenger in a vehicle, whether or not your driver was at fault
  • you were the driver of another vehicle
  • you were a pedestrian
  • you were a cyclist
  • you suffered psychological injury because someone close to you was killed or injured.

What injuries can I claim for?

Any injury resulting from, or made worse by, a motor vehicle collision can be claimed for.

Do I claim against the driver of the vehicle?

Claims are made against the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurer of the vehicle whose driver was at fault. If the vehicle is unregistered or unidentified you can still make a claim.

These claims are governed by the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (QLD).

How long do I have to make a claim after being injured?

If the motor vehicle at fault has been identified, you must provide Notice in the prescribed form under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (QLD) to the CTP insurer.

The Notice must be given within one (1) month of the date you first consult a Lawyer or nine (9) months after the date of the injury whichever is sooner. If you don’t provide Notice in this time, you are required to give a “reasonable excuse” for the delay.

Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified the Notice must be given to a statutory body called the Nominal Defendant prior to nine (9) months after the motor vehicle collision and within one (1) month of the date you first consult a Lawyer or three (3) months after the motor vehicle collision whichever is sooner. If you don’t provide Notice in this time a “reasonable excuse” must be given for the delay. If the Notice is not given to the Nominal Defendant within nine (9) months after the motor vehicle collision the claim against the Nominal Defendant is barred.

The CTP insurer is required to respond within fourteen (14) days advising whether it agrees that the Notice is compliant.

All court proceedings must be commenced within three (3) years from the date of collision or the injured persons 21st birthday whichever is the earlier.

If I am injured in a motor vehicle collision and my partner is driving and at fault can I make a claim against the CTP insurer of our vehicle?

Yes. The claim will be against both the CTP insurer and your partner but the CTP insurer will pay all amounts payable in relation to the claim to you and it will not have an effect on you or on your partner’s future insurance premiums. This applies whether or not the vehicle is insured in your name.

If I am injured in the course of my work in a motor vehicle collision and receive workers’ compensation benefits, can I also claim against the CTP insurer of the driver at fault?

Yes. You are able to claim against the driver at fault even if you have received workers’ compensation benefits (including lump sum compensation).

I have received a Total and Permanent Disability payout. Can I also make a claim for personal injuries?

Yes. The claim for damages for personal injuries is a separate claim maintainable against the person or entity at fault and is separate to your Total and Permanent Disability claim.

My partner was killed in a motor vehicle collision caused by the fault of another driver. Can I make a claim?

Yes, if you were a dependent. These types of claims are called loss of dependency claims and essentially seek to reimburse you for amounts you have lost in terms of income and services as a result of the deceased’s passing. Spouses including defacto spouses, children and other dependants are able to claim. You may also have a claim if you suffer a psychological injury even if you are not a dependent.

I have suffered psychological injury but not physical injury as a result of a motor vehicle collision. Can I make a claim against the CTP insurer?

Yes. Psychological injuries are treated in the same way as physical injuries. The only difference is that you may be able to claim for psychological injury even if you were not present at the motor vehicle collision.

How long will a vehicle injury claim take?

The Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (QLD) has mandatory pre court proceedings and these can take many months.

Once you give Notice, the CTP insurer will investigate your claim and give a notice within six (6) months of receiving a compliant Notice stating whether it admits or denies liability or claims contributory negligence.

If the CTP insurer admits liability then it is required to pay for your reasonable rehabilitation i.e medical and allied health expenses.

In practice the CTP insurer often agrees to pay for rehabilitation expenses as soon as it receives the Notice.

Both you and the CTP insurer have a duty to disclose documents and provide information as required under the Act.

When will I know what my claim is worth?

In personal injury claims it is necessary for your injuries to have been assessed by medico legal specialists prior to our providing you with an assessment of your likely damages. In the usual course the assessment of physical injuries will occur approximately twelve (12) months after the date you suffered injury and in the situation where you have suffered a serious head injury these assessments will likely take place approximately two (2) years after the collision. In our view it is not appropriate to attempt to assess your damages prior to that time.

When your medico legal reports are received we then engage a Barrister to assist us in preparing a Statement of Loss and Damage detailing your claim to the CTP insurer and to attend the Compulsory Conference. All Barristers we engage are engaged subject to them agreeing to act as we do on a “no win no fee” basis.

The pre court proceedings conclude with a settlement conference called the Compulsory Conference. At the Compulsory Conference the parties come together face to face to attempt to settle the claim. If the claim does not settle at the conference, written offers called “Mandatory Final Offers” are exchanged and remain open for 14 days. The offers may affect the costs which are recoverable if you proceed to trial.

Court proceedings are to be commenced within three (3) years of the date of the collision having completed the compulsory pre court process outlined above. If the process is not completed prior to the three (3) year limitation period an informal extension of the limitation period may be negotiated with the CTP insurer or alternatively it will be necessary to apply to the Court to extend the period in which proceedings may be commenced. If you are under 18 at the time of the injury your three (3) year limitation period does not commence to run until your 18th birthday i.e. you have until your 21st birthday to commence Court proceedings.

What is the process if my personal injury claim goes to court?

When Court proceedings start the claim is then also governed by the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (“the UCPR”).

Court proceedings are commenced by filing a Claim and Statement of Claim in the State Court with the relevant monetary jurisdiction, which are as follows:-

Magistrates Court – up to $150,000.00
District Court – up to $750,000.00
Supreme Court – Unlimited jurisdiction

Together with the Claim and Statement of Claim a copy of your Mandatory Final Offer (“MFO”) will be filed in a sealed envelope and held by the Court until after judgment. After judgment the Judge refers to the MFO and it may impact upon the costs order made by the Judge.

Within 28 days of the date of service of the Claim and Statement of Claim on the CTP insurer it has to file a Notice of Intention to Defend and Defence setting out its defence of your claim. Within 14 days of receiving the Notice of Intention to Defend and Defence you are to file a Reply, if required, in answer to the Defence.

14 days after the Defence is served or when the Reply is served pleadings close.

Within 28 days of the close of pleadings the parties are to exchange Lists of Documents listing each of the documents which are disclosable under the UCPR. There are usually few surprises at this stage as all of the relevant documents will have been disclosed during the pre Court proceedings. Also within 28 days of the close of pleadings you are required to serve a Statement of Loss and Damage. Within 28 days after that the CTP Insurer must serve a Statement of Expert and Economic Evidence which is a document detailing the expert and economic evidence it intends to rely upon at Trial.

Once these final Court documents have been exchanged it is not uncommon for the parties to again attempt to settle the claim whether by the exchange of formal offers under the UCPR, informal offers or by way of Mediation. If all attempts to settle the claim have not succeeded by that stage a Request for Trial Date will be submitted to the CTP insurer and a Court date set. It is not uncommon for matters to settle even after the Trial Date has been set.

More than 95% of these claims settle prior to trial. A claim may settle any time up until Judgment is given.

When I receive my compensation will I have to pay tax on it?

No. Personal injury compensation payments are not subject to taxation. The earnings you subsequently make from those payments are subject to taxation as income (eg bank interest).

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