Recent changes to the motor accident injury scheme that was introduced in NSW in 2017 impact the benefits injured people are entitled to and some key deadlines for making a claim. The amendments in the Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill 2022, which commenced in November 2002, are aimed at reducing disputations and improving the efficiency of the scheme providing for those injured in motor vehicle accidents.
We’ll look at these changes in more detail in this article, which apply to existing and future compulsory third party (CTP) claims.
The key changes
The first changes under the amendments took effect from November 2022. These included removing the requirement for an internal review of a claim by a CTP insurer because of a dispute about an injured person’s level of whole person impairment (WPI). The removal of this requirement expedites an injured person lodging a dispute with the Personal Injury Commission, removing a time-consuming step in the process.
Also in effect since last November was the removal of the restriction on injured persons having to wait until 20 months after the accident to lodge a claim for damages, and having to wait until two years after the accident to settle a common law claim for damages, provided the injured person’s whole person impairment (WPI) did not exceed 10 percent, leading to delays in their claims. A person who sustains a ‘threshold injury’ (see below) is now able to lodge a damages claim at any time.
Other key changes, many taking effect in April 2023, include:
- The term ‘minor injury’ changes to ‘threshold injury’, applying to all current and future claims lodged from April 1, 2023. Previously, soft tissue, psychological or psychiatric injuries not recognised as psychiatric illness were classified as minor, understating their seriousness for those suffering from such ailments.
- Statutory benefits entitlements – including weekly payments, home care, and treatment – are extended from 26 weeks to 52 weeks for people who are wholly or mostly at fault, or who have sustained a ‘threshold injury’. The change provides expanded financial support to cover loss of earnings, medical treatment, and care for those injured in motor vehicle accidents until they recover.
- Where a CTP insurer alleges contributory negligence on behalf of the injured person, claiming they were partially responsible (not more than 61 percent) for the accident, weekly payments will now reduce after 52 weeks instead of 26 weeks.
- Insurance companies will now issue a second liability notice at nine months instead of three months, advising the claimant about whether it has determined they are wholly or mostly at fault for the accident, and whether their injuries are ‘threshold injuries’ or not. This change benefits those suffering delayed onset injuries, such as psychological conditions, allowing a longer time for them to be diagnosed and treated.
- Claims for weekly payments received after 28 days from the date of the accident may now be eligible for a back payment to the date of the accident provided the explanation for the delay is satisfactory.
Additionally, the time limit to commence a damages dispute in the Personal Injury Commission is removed. A claim can be commenced at any time but must still begin within three years of the accident occurring.
Speak with our expert compensation lawyers
The recent changes to the NSW Motor Accident Injury scheme are aimed at expanding and enhancing benefits for injured people, improving its efficiency, and reducing the scope for disputation.
If you’re unsure about what the changes mean for your claim, contact our expert personal injury team. We deal every day with CTP motor vehicle accident claims and how legislative changes apply to them. We will give you guidance on the best way to progress your claim to a satisfactory resolution.