Under the present South Australian motor vehicle accident compensation scheme, if you’re injured in an accident you will complete an injury claim form generally not long after the accident. You should then forward that to the appropriate insurer. That commences your claim.
You can of course instruct a solicitor from day 1 to handle the claim for you. That is the traditional way for claims to be handled.
A concerning trend in claims for injuries from a motor vehicle accident
It is a matter of concern that under the new scheme the majority of injured people do not engage a solicitor at all.
The difficulty of trying to manage a claim without a solicitor is that you continue to have direct contact with the insurance company but you need to remember that the insurer does not act for you. The insurer cannot advise you of your legal rights and entitlements and the insurer has an obligation to pay out as little as possible.
"Put simply, an insurance company’s interests are not the same as yours."
Put simply, an insurance company’s interests are not the same as yours.
The current system of compensation is technically quite challenging and it’s unlikely that an individual would be understand the complex legislation sufficiently to feel confident about what their entitlements may be and the basis of any settlement offer coming from the insurance company.
We encourage any person injured in an accident to seek early legal advice.
That advice may be to not engage a solicitor at that time but to come back later when evidence has been obtained. Such advice would depend on the individual circumstances and severity of injuries suffered in the claim. Regardless of what advice is given, an explanation can be made to you about what your entitlements may be at that early time.
Leaving it too late to speak with a lawyer and particularly leaving it until the time when the insurance company makes an offer to you to settle your claim, can create significant hurdles in assessing whether or not that offer is appropriate. In our experience, when injured persons deal directly with the insurance company, it is not unusual that an offer to settle the claim is, in our view, inadequate.
There is no substitute for early advice from a lawyer experienced in motor vehicle accident compensation and it is often remarked to us by injured people that they achieve a significant level of comfort when they know there is somebody on their side as opposed to dealing with the insurer on a one on one basis.
Further helpful information
How do I find out who the allocated insurance company is?
The applicable insurance company will be the one for the “at fault” driver; that is, the driver who you believe caused the accident.
To find out who that insurer is, visit the EzyReg website. This link will take you to “Check Registration Expiry Date” where you can enter the registration plate number for the other vehicle and that will provide details of the relevant insurance company.
Alternatively, you can call CTP Insurance enquiries on 1300 303 558 and they can advise you.
What if the driver at fault leaves the scene or I cannot find out their details?
In this situation you can sue what is called the “nominal driver”. To find out which insurance company to lodge your claim form with, contact CTP Insurance enquiries on 1300 303 558.