Step 1 – Lodging a Notice of Accident Claim Form
To commence the process of claiming compensation for injuries that you have you suffered in a motor vehicle accident, you need to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim under the motor vehicle accidents insurance act with both the owner of the vehicle (who is often referred to as the “insured”) and their CTP insurance provider.
If the at-fault vehicle is not insured, the Notice of Accident Claim needs to be lodged with the Nominal Defendant (a Queensland Government Agency).
The Notice of Accident Claim Form is a formal document that sets out:
- your personal details
- the details of the accident in which you were injured
- the nature of your injuries
- the Legal basis of why you say the driver of the vehicle was at fault and caused the accident.
Once the Notice of Accident Claim Form is served on the CTP insurer, the insurer will determine whether your Notice is compliant. If the Notice is not compliant you will have one month to rectify any non-compliance.
How long do I have to lodge the motor vehicle accident claim form?
Your motor vehicle accident claim needs to be lodged within 9 months of the date of the accident.
If the accident occurred more than 9 months ago, then there are certain conditions under which you can lodge a claim up to 3 years from the date of the accident.
If you cannot identify the vehicle that was at fault (for example, if the accident was a hit and run), then the notice of claim needs to go to the Nominal Defendant (a Queensland Government Agency) within 3 months of the date of your accident.
Step 2 – the CTP Insurer claim investigation and liability response process
Once you have lodged your claim, the CTP insurer has 6 months to investigate before advising you whether they reject the liability or accept it and make an offer of settlement.
During this time, the CTP insurer may ask you certain questions to clarify your version of the accident including asking you to provide photographs and or diagrams of the accident.
No matter what the CTP insurer’s response is regarding liability, it is usually necessary for you to have sufficient evidence regarding the circumstances of your accident to establish your claim
Step 3 – Obtaining Evidence and Undertaking Disclosure
Once you have received the CTP Insurers Liability Response, it is time to compile the evidence which supports your claim and which establishes a proper basis for the amount of compensation you are claiming. In the ordinary course, this will include you:
- Instructing and being medically examined by one or more independent medical examiners in order to obtain a medico-legal report outlining the nature and extent of the injuries and how they impact your life;
- Compiling financial information such as tax returns, bank statements, etc;
- Schedulising records of your medical expenditure;
- Obtain costings of any medical treatment you will require into the future;
- Obtaining statements from loved ones whom have provided you with care during your recovery to demonstrate the number of hours of assistance that have been provided to you;
- Engaging and expert to provide you with reports on liability issues and/or financial issue which remain live in your claim; and
- Obtaining witnesses statements generally.
Once all of the above steps have been completed, it is necessary to disclose all relevant information that is not the subject of a claim for confidentiality (known as privilege) to the CTP Insurers and their lawyers
Step 4 - Preparation for and Participation in a Compulsory Conference
Once Step 3 has been completed, you will participate in a compulsory conference with the CTP insurer to try to negotiate a settlement. If you can reach agreement, you and the CTP insurer will enter into a Deed of Settlement, compensation will be paid, and the process ends.
The Compulsory Conference provides an excellent opportunity at a relatively early phase in the process to negotiate an agreement regarding the amount of compensation that you are to receive. For this reason, it is essential that all possible preparation is undertaken for the conference to give you the best chance of resolving your claim.
Often the preparation for a conference will include obtaining a barrister’s opinion regarding your prospects of succeeding with your claim if it were to go to Court along with his or her advice as to the likely amount of compensation which might be awarded by a judge. This step is important, particularly in more complex claims, as it provides you with the information necessary to consider the reasonableness of any offers which may be made to you during the conference itself.
Once the preparation has been completed, the conference is convened (ordinarily at our office). At the conference, you will be represented by your personal legal team and, depending upon the circumstances of your claim and the amount involved, a barrister instructed on your behalf. The CTP insurer will usually be represented by a claims officer from the insurer, a solicitor from one of their panel law firms, and, occasionally, a barrister.
What if I don’t agree with the amount of my compensation?
If you can’t reach agreement with the CTP insurer at the compulsory conference, your claim will proceed to the second phase of the process by commencing Court Proceedings.