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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Were you injured in a motor vehicle accident in South Australia before 1 July 2013?

From 1 July 2013, new legislation came into effect in South Australia, regarding compensation as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.

There are now significant differences between the Compulsory Third Party ("CTP") insurance schemes for entitlements to compensation as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident before 1 July 2013 as opposed to accidents after 30 June 2013.

The FAQ below is a guide about your rights and entitlements when you've been injured in a motor vehicle accident prior to 1 July 2013. If you think you have a claim, contact Andersons for an initial free consultation.

Can I make a claim for motor vehicle accident compensation?

If you've been involved in a car accident, motorbike accident or bike accident in South Australia and suffered a personal injury either as a driver or rider, passenger, pedestrian, pillion passenger, cyclist or other road user, you may be eligible to make a claim for motor vehicle accident compensation.

You can claim compensation for a physical injury or a psychological injury or both when they have been caused by a motor vehicle accident.

If the motor vehicle accident results in death, the deceased person's spouse, parents, or children may be able to make a claim for compensation.

How long do I have to claim compensation for a motor vehicle accident?

There is a time limit of three (3) years in personal injury claims from the date of the negligent act; in this situation a claim motor vehicle accident compensation in South Australia. Within that three years either the claim needs to be settled by agreement with the insurer or a Summons claiming compensation needs to be issued out of the appropriate Court to protect the claim.  In South Australia, the three year period starts on the date of the accident. If you fail to commence an action (that is a claim for compensation) within the three year period, your claim will become 'time barred'. This means you have run out of time to commence an action and you will not be able to claim compensation for your injuries resulting from the motor vehicle accident unless the Court orders an extension of time to commence an action.

If you are under the age of 18 years at the time of the road accident, a parent or guardian may instruct a solicitor to start proceedings on your behalf. If, at the time of the motor vehicle accident you are under 18 years, then the three year time limit does not start until you turn 18 years old.

What compensation might I be entitled to for a motor vehicle accident?

You may be entitled to 'Damages' (otherwise known as motor vehicle accident compensation) as a result of being injured in a road accident. 'Damages' are the monetary compensation for injuries and disabilities caused by the motor vehicle accident.

There are several categories of motor vehicle accident compensation in South Australia:

  1. Special damages are out-of-pocket expenses such as medical fees including ambulance and hospital expenses, pharmaceutical expenses, physiotherapy and psychiatry expenses. Special damages also include the expense of travelling to and from related medical appointments.
  2. General Damages can be claimed normally under the following broad heads of claim:
  • Non-Economic Loss

You may be entitled to damages for injuries suffered, pain and suffering arising from the injuries, the loss of enjoyment of life and any permanent disability.

  • Economic Loss

You may be entitled to damages for any loss of income you have suffered in the past and which you may suffer in the future or any loss of earning opportunities, as a result of the injuries. In addition, you may be entitled to claim any loss of past and future superannuation.

  • Future Medical Expenses

You may be entitled to claim any medical expenses you are likely to incur in the future.

  • Voluntary Services

You may be entitled to claim an amount for the voluntary assistance and/or help provided to you by your spouse, parent or child on account of injuries arising from the accident.

  • Special Care Services

You may be entitled to claim the past and future costs of any special care that you may need now or in the future as a result of the accident.

  • In addition to the above, you may be entitled to claim a contribution to your legal costs and the cost of obtaining medical reports, factual investigation reports, accident reconstruction reports and other expenses incurred when pursuing a claim.
What do I need to know to make my claim for motor vehicle accident?

Important information regarding the award of damages

It is important to know that if you receive any award of damages for your injuries, you will have to repay the following from those damages:

  • Centrelink Benefits

If you have received Centrelink benefits during the time you were incapacitated for work as a result of your motor vehicle accident, you will have to repay those benefits.

  • Medicare

If your doctor has charged fees on Medicare to provide you with medical services, you will have to repay this money to Medicare.

  • Private Health

If you have a private health insurer and they have contributed or paid for medical services, then they may seek reimbursement of that contribution.