Injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident often cause not only physical and psychological damage but considerable financial hardship. Accidents by their very nature are sudden and unexpected and can result in an inability to work for a period of time or permanently.
Aside from all your day-to-day ordinary expenses, there are also the additional expenses for medical treatment and medication along with expenses associated with travel to and from medical appointments.
Depending on the severity of your injuries it can take some time for them to stabilise; meaning, generally speaking, that your injuries are unlikely to worsen any further.
For less serious injuries a minimum of 12-18 months is considered necessary to enable a doctor to determine any level of permanent disability arising from the accident and to assess your future medical treatment needs.
This is required in order to assess your claim thoroughly which is required before it can be finalised. For more serious injuries, stabilisation will take longer and will be determined by medical opinion.
What if I’m experiencing financial hardship while I can’t work due to my injuries?
The financial burden can sometimes be alleviated by accessing income protection payments or total and permanent disability (“TPD”) payments attached to a private insurance policy or through your Superannuation. However there is often a waiting period with income protection payments of 30, 60 or 90 days (and sometime more) or a delay in payments of a TPD claim while the fund processes your application. Further, in some cases the monies may need to be repaid from any settlement you receive as a result of your motor vehicle accident claim.
You may also consider an application to Centrelink for sickness benefits or a disability pension however any monies paid by Centrelink will be repayable from any settlement funds and there is generally a significant delay in accessing Centrelink benefits.
Can I claim some interim payments from the insurer?
There are options sometimes available depending on the circumstances of your accident, to request an interim payment from the responsible insurer.
Interim payments can be made in matters where, even if liability for the accident has not been admitted there is a strong likelihood that you will receive some compensation.
In most cases a request for an interim payment is made on the basis of financial hardship. To consider the request the insurer will require proof of financial hardship such as bank records and details of any income and debts.
In other cases the interim payment is not made due to financial hardship but rather to assist you with rehabilitation following the injury. This might include payments for medical treatment, surgery, assistance with study, modifications to the home or relocation expenses.
Any interim payment received will be taken into consideration when determining the final settlement amount you may receive.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident which you believe will entitle you to compensation, you may be in a position to apply for an interim payment. We suggest you obtain legal advice from a lawyer experienced in motor vehicle accident compensation, to process such a claim.