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A crash course in car accident compensation

Amanda Whitley

About a year ago, an elderly lady failed to give way to me at a roundabout and ploughed into the left hand side of my car, causing significant damage to its side and rendering it a write off. At the time, I walked away from it, thankful that my only battle scars were a red mark on my neck from the seatbelt and some soreness.

I’d gotten off far easier than a friend of mine, who was rear-ended several years ago. Like me, she she’d walked away from the accident with just a stiff neck…but a couple of weeks later, she was in traction in Canberra hospital, unable to walk – or work. Even now, years later, what she thought was a minor niggling injury is one that inhibits her ability to function at full capacity.

Catching up with her the other day, it made me realise how important it is to understand the correct steps of seeking compensation for such injuries; so I asked the experts at Maliganis Edwards Johnson.

The first step in seeking car accident compensation is reporting the incident to the police,” says Deborah Rolfe, partner with MEJ.

“This is required by law to happen within 24 hours. For those in the ACT, this can be submitted online via the Canberra Connect website and completed within 15 minutes.”

 If you were injured in the accident, and you want to make a claim, you are required to fill out a separate Compulsory Third Party (CTP) personal injury claim form, also known as a Motor Accident Notification Form (MANF). This form is suited for any driver, passenger, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian that was not at fault for the accident but happened to sustain a personal injury as a result of it.

The MANF will need to be accompanied by a Motor Accident Medical Report (MAMR). This form needs to be completed by your doctor.  Deborah advised that these two documents need to be served on the relevant CTP insurer.

Fault must be established in order for this claim to succeed. A claim can still be submitted if partial fault was determined, but the entitlement amount will fluctuate dependent upon your liability.

“Unlike the collision report, this claim must be within nine months of the crash to the at-fault party’s insurer,” says Deborah.

“You have three months to submit a notice of claim to the Nominal Defendant if the at-fault driver was not identified or did not own CTP insurance. If you do not adhere to these mandated time limits, you significantly reduce your likelihood of having a valid claim. “

In summary:

The Motor Accident Notification Form (MANF) will require more detailed information than the collision report submitted, but can possibly qualify you for some form of payment or reimbursement. Notifying the insurer within 30 working days of the accident may qualify you for up to $5,000 worth of medical expenses compensation.

The Motor Accident Medical Report (MAMR) will require you to provide information and documents that will assist in the faster processing of your claim. This includes copies of receipts that pertain to your detailed medical expenses.

Lastly, insurer may require you to complete an additional document, called a Notice of Claim and Additional Information Forms (NOCAIF), which is made up of two parts:

  1. The Notice of Claim Form – filled out if you wish to file a claim against your insurer. The insurer has one month to respond to this submitted form.
  2. The Additional Information Form – submitted at your insurer’s request for more information to substantiate your claim, particularly any economic loss of your claim.

“Although the process can seem lengthy, the benefit of pursuing your car accident compensation can lower the financial burden upon you and your close ones,” says Deborah.

For more advice or assistance regarding the process of applying for car accident compensation, talk to Maliganis Edwards Johnson by calling (02) 6257 2999 or emailing [email protected]

Image of stressed driver sitting at roadside after traffic accident from shutterstock.com

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her ‘spare time’, she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She’s done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women.

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