How much can I claim for a motorbike accident?

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a motorbike – whether as a driver, a passenger or a pedestrian – seeing a doctor and having your injuries properly assessed and treated will of course be your top priority. But after that, when the doctor’s bills start piling up, you may well be wondering if you are eligible for compensation – especially if you are not able to work for a while and you’re having to cope with a reduced income.

But how much could you be entitled to, in terms of benefits?

What is your first step?

With an experienced personal injury compensation lawyer, you can explore the options and find out about the process. It’s best not to delay too long before making a claim, because strict time limits apply to claims for motorbike accidents. Time limits can differ according to the circumstances of your accident, and if you don’t lodge your claim within the applicable time limit, you may lose your eligibility for entitlements.

You will also need to:

• report the accident to the police within 28 days
• call the NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority to find out the compulsory third party (CTP) insurer of the vehicle or motorcycle you believe was responsible for the accident. To do this you just need to tell them the vehicle’s (or motorbike’s) number plate, and
• fill in an accident notification form, which you can download from the Motor Accidents Authority’s website, or get from a doctor or hospital.

Early payments

Regardless of who was at fault, you can claim early payment of up to $5,000 for medical expenses and/or lost earnings, if you fill in an accident notification form and send it (within 28 days of the accident) to the CTP insurer of the motor vehicle (or motorcycle) that caused the accident.
The insurer will let you know within 10 days whether they will pay for your treatment expenses and lost earnings for up to six months after the accident.

How much can you claim?

You can claim additional benefits for a motorbike accident in New South Wales if you were not at fault in the accident, and:

• your injuries were caused by the fault of a driver of a motor vehicle (including a motor cycle), or
• you were in a “blameless” accident, that is, one in which no-one was really at fault because a driver suffered a medical emergency or there was an unexpected mechanical failure with the vehicle (or motorcycle) of the driver/rider at fault.

If you were partly at fault, your entitlements will be reduced accordingly. And you may not be able to claim if it was your own sudden illness what caused that accident, while you were riding your motorbike. Legal advice is essential to properly understand your entitlements.

Many factors can influence how much compensation you receive. Your eligibility for benefits depends on:

• the nature of your claim
• the date, type and severity of your injuries
• your age
• your past and likely future losses in terms of income
• the type and extent of medical care and rehabilitation you might need, and
• the expenses you’ve incurred as a result of the accident.

Reports suggest that five- or six-figure sums paid out in accident compensation are not uncommon. The support of an experienced legal team can make a huge difference to the final outcome when you’re negotiating with an insurance company and considering whether the insurer’s offer of settlement is reasonable. If you choose not to accept the offer and you have a case to sue for damages, your lawyer can help you pursue the matter.

If your motorbike itself or other possessions were damaged in the accident, you may be able to claim these through your own insurer.

Lifetime support for catastrophic injuries

If you were very severely injured – for example, you received a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury – you may be eligible for the lifetime care and support scheme, which provides medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, attendant care and support for the rest of the injured person’s life, regardless of fault.

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