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Full compensation after a road accident currently on the line

HerCanberra Team

Do you understand the changes being proposed to the ACT’s Compulsory Third Party Insurance scheme?

It will be one of the issues deliberated by a Citizen’s Jury this weekend, but there are plenty who oppose any change to the ACT’s fully-funded scheme.

Personal injury expert and Maliganis Edwards Johnson partner James Treloar has asked Canberrans to carefully consider how they would recover from a serious accident if compensation claims are capped or substantially reduced from their current levels.

He believes any substantial changes could potentially short-change innocent people injured on ACT roads – from motorists, cyclist or pedestrians – putting at risk their chances at rehabilitation and potentially reducing their quality of life.

James joins a chorus of lawyers – backed by the ACT Law Society, ACT Bar Association and Australian Lawyers Alliance – who have mounted a campaign to counter what they say is a rushed and ideological move by the ACT Government to change the system.


Maliganis Edwards Johnson personal injury expert James Treloar.

The Government has come under considerable fire in recent months over its handling of the issue, which it has now referred to the first Citizen’s Jury. The Canberra Times reports that despite 6000 invitations being sent out, just 76 responses were received.

Previous attempts by the Labor Government to reform the system through capping payouts, reducing premiums and introducing a no-fault system have been blocked by the Liberals and the Greens. The Government, however, argues changes are needed to bring the ACT legislation in line with the other state.

Currently, the ACT has a fully-funded common law system which covers all Canberrans for losses and injury when they are harmed through someone else’s negligence.

While the Government claims the moves to a no-fault clause would reduce premiums, speed up claims and provide broader coverage – extending it to the person who causes the accident – James says the moves will have the effect of compromising the financial assistance going to the real victims.

His experience as a specialised insurance lawyer over the past 18 years meant he had witnessed the impact first-hand of serious injury.


“It took me a long time to realise that injured plaintiffs often come to you from a different perspective. They wake up in pain. They have the hassle of going to see their doctors, who may or may not be able to help them. They go to sleep in pain. They have to take medication. Their daily activities are significantly affected and their ability to look after their family is curtailed.”

He fears the victims of the most serious accidents will bear the brunt of disadvantage if caps on compensation are introduced.

“At the moment, the ACT has the best system in Australia. It has fully funded common law rights to cover you for your losses when you suffer injury, loss and harm through someone else’s negligence. If you’re sitting innocently at a red light stopped in traffic, and someone runs up the back of you, whether they’re on their phone or on drugs or whatever, the insurance companies cover you if you are the injured, innocent road user. Whether you’re young, old, driving a car, a passenger, riding your bike, or a pedestrian, you’re covered for all of your losses.”

“Whether that be pain and suffering or your medical expenses or your time off work or if you’re unable to keep up your house or your garden, you are covered. A couple of times in the past now, the government has tried to bring in change. Why? Because the other states have done it. This is simply not a sufficient reason for taking away people’s rights.”

But James says the Government has further muddied the waters by banning any citizens who currently have a CTP claim from being on the Jury.

He and the legal community have set up a website setting out their concerns about the reform process and providing concerned citizens with options to have their views taken into consideration.

The Citizen’s Jury has until March to make a recommendation to Government.

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorial, click here.


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