Catastrophic car accident injury claims in Western Australia.
In August 2011, the Commonwealth Government's Productivity Commission recommended that no-fault compulsory third party vehicle insurance cover be introduced to all States and Territories. Research at the time argued that people catastrophically injured in car accidents secured materially better health outcomes when they were provided with medical treatment and rehabilitation as soon after their car crash as possible. It was thought that by removing the requirement for catastrophically injured claimants to establish that another vehicle driver was at fault would help to reduce legal disputes and allow catastrophically injured road users earlier access to treatment.
In early 2014, the Government of Western Australia released a Green Paper which asked motorists whether the motor injury insurance scheme should be expanded to cover catastrophically injured claimants on a no-fault basis. The West Australian community strongly supported the proposal to provide all catastrophically injured road users with lifetime treatment and care.
In 2016, the Motor Vehicle (Catastrophic Injuries) Act 2016 and the Motor Vehicle (Catastrophic Injuries) Regulations 2016 ("the Regulations") were enacted and the West Australian Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme was established.
Catastrophic car accident injuries - what are they?
The Regulations set out eligibility criteria for participation in the Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme. Here, the concept of catastrophic injury is defined and includes specific degrees of the following injuries:
- spinal cord injury;
- traumatic brain injury;
- multiple amputations;
- severe burns; and
- permanent traumatic blindness.
Catastrophic car accident injury compensation - am I eligible?
To be eligible for treatment and care from the Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme you must meet the following criteria:
- the car crash where you were catastrophically injured must have occurred on or after 1 July 2016;
- the car crash must have occurred in Western Australia;
- the motor vehicle accident did not occur on private property;
- the catastrophic injuries must have been caused by an accident involving a registered or registrable motor vehicle, a motor vehicle that was out of control or through evasive actions taken to avoid an accident with a motor vehicle;
- the catastrophic injuries were sustained when rendering assistance or attempting to render assistance at the scene of a motor vehicle accident;
- you must be unable to make a motor vehicle personal injury claim through the Compulsory Third Party scheme; and
- you must be either at fault for the accident or be unable to prove that another driver of vehicle owner was negligent.
Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme - what personal injury compensation claims are excluded?
You will be ineligible to make a claim for compensation from the Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme if your injuries resulted from:
- an accident involving only unregistrable vehicles (e.g. agricultural vehicles or racing vehicles);
- participation in motor sport events;
- acts of terrorism; or
- from accidents on private property involving unregistered vehicles which are able to be registered.
Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme - what compensation is available?
If you are eligible to make a personal injury claim under the Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme you may be awarded compensation for:
- medical treatment;
- rehabilitation expenses;
- dental treatment;
- ambulance transport;
- domestic assistance;
- home and transport modifications;
- respite care;
- attendant care;
- aids and appliances; and
- education and vocational training.
Pursuant to the Regulations the Insurance Commission of Western Australia must assess any treatment, care or support as necessary and reasonable and be in the best interests of the injured claimant and the community.
Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme - what compensation is excluded?
The Insurance Commission of Western Australia has a useful fact sheet that clarifies what elements of personal injury compensation are excluded from from the Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme. These include:
- services for injuries or medical conditions not related to the motor vehicle accident;
- compensation for economic loss or pain and suffering;
- property damage resulting from the car crash;
- gratuitous treatment, care, support or service;
- ordinary daily living expenses;
- costs associated with raising children;
- services provided by a person who is not an approved provider; and
- treatment, care and support provided in contravention of the Regulations.
How can we help?
Separovic Injury Lawyers will provide you with clear and easy to understand advice on whether you have a catastrophic motor vehicle injury claim, what treatment and care you may be entitled to and how long the claim process may take to finalise. The limitation period for most motor vehicle accident compensation claims is three years from the date of accident. It is thus very important that injuries are assessed and treated and a claim lodged before this period expires.
Personal injury compensation claims should be made as soon as possible after an injury or illness and delay can prejudice the final outcome, so please call us now for assistance.