Tiffany Laslett

I’ve been injured in a car accident. Do I need a Lawyer?

Imagine you had a car accident and it wasn’t your fault. You were injured as a result and have made a compulsory third party (CTP) insurance claim. The insurance company has offered you an attractive settlement and you want to accept. It all seems straightforward, so why get legal advice when there’s already a settlement offer on the table?

This is a question that many people ask themselves and it’s certainly worthwhile to ponder. Legal advice can help you work out how much your claim is worth and may stop you from settling for an amount that is significantly less than what you might have otherwise received.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is CTP Insurance?

South Australian law requires that all vehicles have CTP insurance as part of their registration. It provides compensation to other road users, whether pedestrians, on a bicycle or in a motor vehicle, if they are injured or killed in an accident resulting from the use of a motor vehicle.

CTP compensation is only payable if the accident wasn’t your fault, or if you are only partly to blame. For example, if you were stationary at a red light and another car drove into the back of your car, causing injuries to your neck and back, you may have an entitlement to CTP compensation from that car’s insurer.

Compensation may be for a range of things including:

  • Loss of income
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Future medical treatment
  • Voluntary services
  • Paid care
  • Pain and suffering.

How does it work?

In most cases, and as required by South Australian law, claims should be lodged within six months of the accident but there may be exceptions to this, for example if the injured person is a child, or if the full extent of injuries isn’t known yet.

To assess the claim, CTP insurers will require evidence of injuries, for example medical certificates and letters from doctors.

Under South Australian law, if you wish to make a CTP claim, your doctor must assess your injuries according to a scale prescribed by legislation, known as an Injury Scale Value (ISV) assessment.

The doctor will allocate an item number for your injury and then using that assessment, they will calculate your ISV. This calculation is required so that the severity of the injury can be determined. It is a complex process and that is why many people with CTP claims require the assistance of a lawyer to help them understand the process and to assist them to recover fair compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

Due to its complexity, the ISV assessment is best handled by lawyers with experience in CTP claims. This is because an understanding of how to calculate the ISV will serve to maximise your claim for compensation. Insurers will generally approach claims from the opposite perspective, to pay as little as possible.

An inaccurate assessment may mean that you miss out on thousands of dollars in compensation.

Offers of settlement

It is common for some insurers to make offers of settlement soon after a claim is made. Whilst this has the advantage of quickly settling a claim and avoiding legal action, it can also have some significant disadvantages. If you accept a settlement offer too early, it may not take into account ongoing medical expenses or your potential loss of earnings in the future.

Getting legal advice before making the claim is a great idea, especially if there is a dispute about how the accident occurred or who was at fault. You may also need advice if your injuries have not yet settled and there is uncertainty about their ongoing impact. The assessment process is complex and requires significant skill to ensure you are getting all the compensation to which you are entitled.

Here at Lindbloms Lawyers, we have decades of experience dealing with Motor Vehicle Accident claims. Call us today for a 30 min free initial consultation on 8357 7611.