Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident?
What compensation can you receive?
Every motor vehicle accident case is unique, and the amount of compensation will vary based on the specific circumstances. The legal framework for motor vehicle accident claims is complicated to navigate so obtaining legal advice is important to ensure that your compensation entitlements are met.
Every person is entitled to be compensated for:
- Lost earnings up to the date of resolution of their claim.
- Medical expenses.
- Future personal care, housework and gardening costs, if required.
Other compensation that can be available includes:
- Pain and suffering up to a maximum of approximately $360,000, depending on the year the injury occurred.
- Personal future loss of income up to a maximum of approximately $3.8 million, depending on the year the injury occurred.
- Business loss of income.
- Assistance provided by a family member after the accident.
So what are your chances of winning your case?
Several factors impact your chances of winning a motor vehicle accident compensation claim, including:
- Liability: Who was at fault for the accident? If you are found to be partly at fault, it will reduce the compensation payout you will receive.
- Evidence: The stronger the evidence you have to support your claim, the better your chances of winning. This includes things like police reports, eyewitness statements, and medical evidence.
- Severity of injuries: The more serious your injuries, the more likely you are to receive a higher settlement or award. But sometimes less serious injuries can result in high settlements or awards.
What fees are involved?
At MKF Lawyers, we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so if your claim is unsuccessful you do not pay our legal fees. There’s no cost to reach out and have an initial chat about your case. We work on a no win no fee basis for most personal injury claims occurring in Adelaide. This means that you do not pay our legal fees in the event your claim is not successful. We usually work on a no win no fee basis for claims relating to childhood sexual and physical abuse, dog attacks, public liability, medical negligence and total and permanent disability (TPD).
How long does the process take? What’s involved?
From the time of your motor vehicle accident through to the first settlement conference it’s typically about an 18 month process.
- Step 1: Have an initial phone call or in person meeting to discuss your claim.
- Step 2: Take a statement from you.
- Step 3: Obtain information and evidence in relation to liability.
- Step 4: Obtain any relevant medical records.
- Step 5: Obtain any relevant financial records.
- Step 6: Obtain reports from appropriate doctors, including an ISV report, and reports from any other experts, including crash reconstruction experts, if required.
- Step 7: Prepare and submit your detailed claim to the insurer to commence settlement negotiations.
Compensation for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident can be claimed by:
- Passengers and drivers of a car (including an uber or taxi), a truck, or a bus.
- The rider and pillion passenger of a motorbike.
- Cyclists when the accident involves a motor vehicle.
- Pedestrians when the accident involves a motor vehicle.
The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme in South Australia excludes single minor injuries from substantial compensation. What constitutes a minor injury is a matter for argument and you should always seek the advice of a lawyer before resolving your claim. If you have two or more injuries from the motor vehicle accident you are much more likely to be entitled to compensation, provided one of those injuries continues to cause you limitation.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and have suffered injury, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your potential entitlements to compensation. We do not charge any legal fees for the initial discussion unless you choose to instruct us to manage your claim, and then we would act on a no win no fee basis. There is therefore no cost or risk to you in seeking our advice.
If you have already lodged a claim and it is being managed by an insurer, it is important to keep in mind that the insurer is not obliged to give you objective and independent advice regarding your entitlement to compensation. If an insurer has suggested an appointment with an independent doctor, this is a good time to contact us as we can negotiate which doctor performs the assessment and this can be important. If the insurer has made an offer to resolve your claim, it is in your best interest to contact us for advice as to whether the offer is reasonable or a higher figure can be negotiated. Once you have accepted an offer, you cannot change your mind, including if your injuries worsen or you need medical treatment in the future. We do not recommend that any of our clients resolve their claim in less than 12 months from the date of the motor vehicle accident.
What time limits apply to motor vehicle accident claims?
You have 6 months from the date of the motor vehicle accident to submit a compliant claim form with supporting documentation to the CTP insurer responding to your claim. The claim form is a very important document as it records details specific to the circumstances of the accident, the person at fault for the accident, and your personal details and injuries. The CTP insurer will be critical if details are left out, exaggerated, minimised or there are inconsistencies in the claim form. This may hamper negotiations in the future. By way of example, the CTP insurer may provide the claim form to doctors prior to those doctors assessing your injuries. If we are acting for you, we can assist you to complete your claim form.
You have three years from the date of the accident to finalise your claim for compensation. If you cannot complete your claim in that timeframe, it is necessary for you to lodge documents in Court to protect your claim for compensation from becoming statute barred. If you fail to do so, your claim will be out of time.
Court Rules require you to make an offer of settlement around 60 days prior to the three year time limit. To be able to make an offer that is compliant with the Rule, you will need a lot of information and at least one compliant medical report. For these reasons, we recommend you instruct us no later than two years after your motor vehicle accident, but we can accept instructions up until the day before the three year time limit.
If you or someone you know was financially dependent on a person killed in a motor vehicle accident, a dependency claim may be made for compensation to cover the financial support that person would have provided if they were not killed in the accident. It is necessary to prove that another person is at fault for the accident. The compulsory third party (CTP) insurer for the negligent driver will respond to the claim. It is necessary to complete a claim and submit a compliant claim form to the CTP insurer in respect of the claim within 6 months of the accident. It is also necessary to issue documents in court within three years of the accident to protect the claim from becoming statute barred if the claim is not resolved beforehand.
A claim for funeral expenses can also be made and often the CTP insurer will pay or reimburse those expenses at the start of the claim, so long as there are no liability issues. That is, there is no question about who is at fault for the accident.
In certain circumstances, a personal injury claim can also be made by a person closely connected to the deceased if they can demonstrate that they have suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of the accident and death caused.
MKF Lawyers has been recognised as a recommended motor vehicle accident law firm (as voted by defendant lawyers and barristers) in Doyle's Guide 2022.
Personal Injury Lawyers Adelaide
Frequently Asked Questions
How do legal fees work?
We act on a no win no fee basis on almost every case. The only time we wouldn't offer a no win no fee, is when a client wants to pursue a claim that we don't believe has a reasonable prospect of success.
No win no fee means that payment of our legal fees is not required until your claim has resolved and compensation is paid. The amount of our legal fees will be different in every case and we will provide you with an individualised estimate following our first detailed communication.
Can I receive some compensation throughout the claim process and before my claim is finalised?
Generally, compensation is paid in a ‘lump sum’ at the conclusion of your legal claim. However, it may be possible to apply to the CTP insurer for an early payment of a portion of your compensation. This is known as an interim payment and is usually made if financial hardship can be demonstrated. The payment is taken into consideration at the finalisation of the claim and deducted from the final settlement figure.
Do you also help with a claim for damage to my car from the motor vehicle accident?
Generally, MKF Lawyers do not assist with property damage claims for motor vehicles. Our involvement in the claim is in respect of assisting injured people secure compensation for their injuries.
Can I negotiate the resolution of my claim with the CTP Insurer myself?
Many people run and settle their own CTP claims. This however creates the risk of compensation being missed for entitlements the injured person is not aware of. Having an experienced lawyer can make a significant difference to the amount of compensation that the injured person receives.
At MKF Lawyers we work with our clients to maximise the amount of compensation received by tailoring the legal advice to the individual circumstances so that all entitlements are covered. Our knowledge of the law, our extensive experience in running CTP claims and our negotiation skills will provide you the confidence that you are leaving no stone unturned and maximising the compensation you receive.
How much compensation will I receive?
The amount of compensation any client receives depends entirely upon the particular circumstances of their legal claim. It is difficult to determine the value of the claim, with any real confidence, until evidence regarding the injuries, the Injury Scale Value rating, and the losses is obtained.