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Deadline looms for public say on CTP
Concerned about moves to change the ACT’s comprehensive Compulsory Third Party (CTP) motor vehicle insurance scheme? There are just days left to make your voice heard.
The ACT’s legal fraternity is warning that innocent victims of road accidents stand to lose substantial rights to compensation under proposed new laws.
Personal injury expert and Maliganis Edwards Johnson partner James Treloar says people need to know the previous system—in which injured road victims were supported on a compassionate and long-term basis—would be dismantled if the changes went through.
The Legislative Assembly has referred the proposed changes to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety which is taking public submissions until this Friday (12 October, 2018).
Mr Treloar wants every Canberran to carefully consider how they would recover from a serious accident without adequate financial support, and to write to the ACT Government before the end of this week if they want the current system to stay untouched.
“At Maliganis Edwards Johnson we believe the ACT currently has the fairest and most comprehensive CTP insurance scheme in Australia. It compensates people injured in a road accident through no fault of their own, and to the greatest extent possible, allows them and their families to get on with their lives,” James says.
“It provides that an innocently injured road accident victim can access payments for lost wages as well as medical treatment and care, and compensation for future losses, including loss of enjoyment of life. While compensation can’t remove all of the trauma experienced by innocent road accident victims, it does alleviate some of the financial stress that often results.”
MEJ has been helping injured Canberrans receive fair compensation for over 30 years and James says “this is the most significant threat to the rights of an innocent road user that we’ve ever seen.”
At issue is an ACT Barr Government plan to replace the existing scheme with a no-fault, and reduced-benefits scheme—in line with schemes in other states.
This means that the compensation available in the ACT to people injured through no fault of their own will be drastically reduced while people at fault in accidents will have access to financial support.
A worst case scenario would see innocent road users no longer receiving adequate compensation to cover financial losses and having to endure arbitrary limits on their treatment and care benefits.
The proposed changes will affect all ACT road users, including not only motor vehicle drivers and passengers, but also bicycle riders, motor cycle riders and pedestrians.
James says it is a fundamental issue of justice when around 90 per cent of Canberra road users injured through no fault of their own would lose their right to fair compensation and current levels of compensation provided to innocent road accident victims would be traded away to pay benefits to the driver who caused the accident.
But he further warns that injured people without the assistance of specialist advice will be expected to settle disputes about their medical treatment and their capacity to work directly with well-resourced insurers. And insurance companies will determine when and if compensation to injured people is paid.
In light of the recent NSW and the current Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry which has shown that information distributed by insurers is often inaccurate and legally incorrect, James questions how well these companies would care for the welfare of accident victims.
“Insurers will decide what treatment an injured person receives, when they receive treatment, and when wages will be cut. Nothing in the proposed scheme will compel the cooperation of insurers in facilitating access to treatment,” he says.
“It is astounding that in this climate the Barr Government is willing to place any trust in Insurance Companies. As Justice Hayne found last week, many of these companies are driven by greed. Remember how these very same ASX listed insurance companies were charging dead people for life insurance & selling income protection to people who could never use it.”
James and Canberra’s legal fraternity, including the ACT Law Society, ACT Bar Association and Australian Lawyers Alliance, are urging concerned citizens to have their say.
Submissions to the committee are due on this Friday.