What to expect from a personal injury settlement after a car accident

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in New South Wales, you might be able to claim a range of personal injury benefits.

These include car accident payments to cover costs such as your ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation and home care, loss of income, compensation for non-economic loss – that is, the pain and suffering you’ve experienced, and your general loss of enjoyment of life.

Compensation payouts for car accidents are available for drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists, pillion passengers, pedestrians or anyone else injured in the accident.

Advice and help from an experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure you don’t miss out on your proper entitlements.

Early payments

Even before your injuries have stabilised, you’re entitled to claim early payment of up to $5,000 for your treatment costs and lost income, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This is only for your initial costs – in no way does it reflect the final outcome in terms of the potential compensation that could be available to you.

Your lawyer can help you by finding out the compulsory third party (CTP) insurer of the vehicle that caused the accident, handling the paperwork based on the information you provide and getting your claim in promptly so that you’re not out of pocket. Naturally, your lawyer will need copies of the receipts or accounts for treatment expenses.

Within 10 days of putting in your claim, your lawyer should be able to advise you as to whether the insurer accepts it and the insurer will pay for your treatment costs first. If these are less than $5000, the insurer may also pay for your lost income, but these upfront payments are only for time lost from work for up to six months after the accident.

CTP compensation payouts are changing

Note that the laws governing CTP compensation payouts will be changing soon in New South Wales. Under the new laws, everyone injured in an accident will be able to claim compensation for their injuries, including the driver or drivers at fault.

Weekly payments will be available for the first six months after the accident to cover medical treatment and loss of earnings. The weekly CTP payout amounts will be capped at a maximum of 2.5 times the average weekly wage (currently $3,853).

After six months, the weekly payments may continue for people suffering from serious injuries if they were not the party most at fault for the accident.

Common law damages will still be available for those who meet the eligibility criteria. You can find out more about the CTP changes here.

If you were not to blame for the accident

If the accident was not your fault, you may be able to claim additional benefits. Your lawyer will help you fill in a personal injury claim form and send it to the CTP insurer within six months of the accident.

If they accept your claim, they will pay reasonable:

  • hospital, medical and rehabilitation costs
  • attendant care and home modification expenses
  • loss of income, up to certain limits
  • other expenses and losses due to your injury, such as travel to medical appointments.

The amount of compensation depends on the difference between your life after the accident and your life as it probably would have been if you were not injured. Advice from an experienced legal team can be invaluable in helping you with the paperwork and documents to properly support your claim.

If you were partly at fault for the accident

What you can expect from a personal injury settlement is likely to be less if you were partly or solely at fault.

You could have been partly at fault if, for example, you were speeding, not wearing a seatbelt (or a helmet if you were on a motorcycle or bicycle), or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (or a passenger who knew the driver was under the influence).

Settling a claim

Once your injuries have stabilised and you’re unlikely to have further complications or unexpected consequences, your lawyer can help you document the full details of your claim. Help and advice from specialist lawyers at this point is vital in building the best case, gathering and analysing all the evidence, and succeeding in negotiations to reach a good settlement.

Your lawyer can then negotiate an offer of settlement, which is a financial payment to cover the losses arising from your injuries. The motor vehicle accident settlement may cover the cost of future treatment (if needed) as well as past and future loss of income.

With serious injuries, that is, if you have a whole-person permanent impairment of more than 10 percent as a result of your accident, the offer may include an additional payment for pain and suffering.

How much to expect from a car accident settlement

Car accident injury settlement amounts of five- or six-figure sums are not uncommon, but settlement amounts can vary enormously. The size of the payout depends on the type and severity of your injuries, how much medical care and rehabilitation you might need, your past and likely future loss of income and the circumstances of the accident.

What happens if a personal injury settlement cannot be agreed?

If you’re not happy with the offer, you can reject it and ask your lawyer to negotiate a different settlement amount. Alternatively, if no settlement amount can be agreed on, another option is to take the matter to court. Your lawyer will advise you on the best course of action for your situation.

Speak to experienced settlement lawyers today

Lawyers who are experienced in getting the best possible compensation outcomes can make a huge difference in negotiations to help you reach a favourable settlement. Our friendly team of experienced settlement lawyers will be able to give you the right advice. Call NSW Compensation Lawyers today on 02 9601 0088.

See how we can help you

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