24-Nov-2018 9:01 AM

One year on from NSW CTP Changes and Shine Lawyers' commissioned research has revealed that NSW residents have no idea of how their rights have changed until they're in an accident and it's too late.

 Shine commissioned research with survey group ReachTEL which was conducted over two nights, the 2nd and 3rd of October and covered 1583 residents across NSW.

Key findings included:
  • 86% of NSW Residents are unaware of how their rights have changed under new CTP legislation
  • 125 people surveyed were involved in motor vehicle accidents in 2018 and 81.1% of that group made a claim for their accident this year
  • 7.2% of those who did make a claim, said it took more than 7 months for their insurer to process the claim
  • 3.6% said their claim was denied and 100% of those drivers wouldn’t appeal a decision because of the long processing time.
Shine Lawyers General Manger of NSW, James Chrara says he is deeply concerned by these results.
“Insurers are capitalising on the average consumers’ lack of awareness of the law and their legal rights in the event of an accident,” said Chrara.
“What the government acknowledges but fails to deal with is the fact that the majority of these injured drivers will experience significant disability reducing their ability to work or take care of themselves and their families leaving them out in the cold,” said Chrara.
We are now approaching the one year anniversary of changes to the CTP scheme and the passage of time has confirmed that the scheme in its current form is simply failing to provide the required level of medical and financial support for the majority of those most in need and most consumers aren’t even aware of what they are missing out on.

Shine Lawyers is encouraging injured drivers to seek legal advice and to persist in the appeal process like Colin, who we've been able to assist. 

See below: 

Colin Gilbert was 63 at the time of his accident.

He was driving on Marigold St, Milperra when a 42 tonne truck rear-ended his small Holden-Astra.

“After the accident, I felt overwhelmed, sore and genuinely believed my life was going to end.”
“I was in pain and still suffer daily as a result of this accident,” said Gilbert.  

Colin suffered injuries to his neck, back, ribs, knees, as well as psychological injuries and made a claim with his insurer; NRMA.

He was assessed as having a minor injury and was faced with the possibility of having his insurance money stopped by 8 September 2018.

 “The claims process has been very unsatisfying. When I’ve needed x-rays or scans, I’ve had to wait for approvals even though there was a claim number provided to me.”
“It’s also very disappointing to see the amount of refund you get back from claiming bills and expenses from an accident when you’ve paid so much in insurance to protect yourself.”
“It’s vital that people go through the appeal process after a claim has been denied because at the time of injury, not all the injuries are necessarily found at the time of the accident. Some injuries appear down the track.

“In my case, the severity of the accident was quite important considering I was hit with a 42 tonne truck fully loaded container and that should have been considered when my claim was assessed.”

Shine Lawyers appealed Gilbert’s claim to SIRA on the basis of he continues to have ongoing neck, back and knee problems, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. We supplied SIRA and NRMA with medical reports from his treating GP and physiotherapist, along with MRI and X-rays demonstrating Colin’s injuries.

  • In 2017, new CTP laws were introduced to NSW that have made it more difficult for victims of motor vehicle accidents to access payments.
  • For those under the 10% threshold, the insurer – not their doctor – will have the authority to direct their medical treatments.
  • Some of the injuries that fall under the 10% impairment threshold can seriously restrict an individual’s ability to work, including pelvic fractures and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Insurers respond to emails within 10 days which is a long time for urgent approval for something, particularly when drivers are in acute pain as a result of injury.
In NSW, the current claims process is as follows:
  • A road user may have an accident
  • From the date of accident (DOA), a motorist has 28 days to lodge a claim form to obtain economic loss payments from the date of the accident.
  • Motorists only have three months from the DOA to lodge a claim form in general (if lodged outside the 28 days, motorists can only claim economic loss from the day the claim is lodged. There is no avenue for back pay.
  •  Within 14 days of lodgement/DOA, the insurer will make a decision as to initial liability up until 6 months following the DOA.
  • At approximately three months post lodgement, the insurer will make a decision on liability and the level of injury post 6 months.
  • When this decision is received, motorists have 28 days (including weekends) to lodge an application for internal review with the insurance company.
  • The insurance company has between 14-21 days to make an internal review. No one who was involved with the original decision can do the internal review.
  • Following the internal review decision, if a road user disagrees with the decision, they have 28 days to make an application to the dispute resolution service (DRS) with SIRA.
  • The insurer has 28 days to respond to that application.
  • The DRS will then make appointments for an independent doctor to assess the client and review the evidence. This has no time restrictions so injured drivers may be left to pay their own medical treatments for an unspecified time.
  • Once the DRS makes a decision, the law is unclear on further grounds of appeal.
  • From a non-minor injury decision, the insurer will make economic loss and medical payments for 3 years post-accident.
  • Motorists have to apply to make a lump sum compensation, which can only be done between 18-22 months post DOA.
  • The legislation prohibits lawyers from settling matters for people with injuries under the 10% threshold until 2 years post-accident.
  • For people over the 10% we can settle at any time.
   For more information: https://www.shine.com.au/blog/motor-vehicle-law/ctp-insurance-in-nsw-what-were-the-changes-and-how-have-they-affected-drivers

Topic: General News

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