Archive for May, 2019

Five things to know about making a compensation claim after a car accident in Queensland

Posted on: May 29th, 2019 by Development

by Pania Watt

If you have been injured in a car accident, read on for the five things to know about making a compensation claim in Queensland.

 

1. The system in Queensland is different to the system in New South Wales.

This seems like it’s obvious, but people are often surprised by it.

Even if you’re from New South Wales, your car is registered in New South Wales, and the car at fault is registered in New South Wales – if the accident happened in Queensland, the law of Queensland will apply to any claim for compensation you need to make.

In Queensland, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) is the regulatory authority responsible for managing the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme in Queensland.

In New South Wales, SIRA is the regulatory authority responsible for managing the CTP scheme in New South Wales.

 

2. Time limits apply.

If you don’t know the details of the vehicle that caused the accident, you must lodge your claim form within three months of the date of the accident.

In all other situations, whichever of the following dates is earlier:

– Within nine (9) months of the date of the accident, or, if symptoms of the injury or injuries aren’t immediately apparent, within nine (9) months of the first appearance of symptoms;

– If you engage a solicitor to manage your claim, within one (1) month of your first consultation with the solicitor.

 

3. The insurer has rights in relation to the conduct of your claim.

Once you make a claim, the insurer has a number of rights, which include:

– Using the authority that you sign in the notice of accident claim form to obtain documents from your current and past doctors, the hospital/s that you attended for treatment, the police and Centrelink and your current and past employers. If you state in your notice of accident claim form that you have had previous significant injuries, the insurer can also obtain documents relating to those injuries.

– Appoint an investigator to investigate the factual basis of your claim. These investigators might take statements from witnesses, or conduct video surveillance of you.

– Require you to provide information regarding the circumstances of the accident and the amount of loss and damage you are claiming. Generally, this information will be required to be provided in a statutory declaration, which involves you swearing that the information contained in that declaration is correct.

– Require you to undergo independent medical examinations.

 

4. Rehabilitation costs may be paid by the insurer, but not always.

Rehabilitation costs for treatment like physiotherapy treatment, chiropractic treatment, counselling or even surgery costs are all commonly required to assist with your recovery in the immediate aftermath of an accident.

Unfortunately, the insurer is under no obligation to meet the cost of any rehabilitation expenses you might incur unless, and until, they admit liability. The insurer has six (6) months in which to investigate the circumstances of the accident and either accept or deny liability. During this period of time, the insurer may agree to pay for some rehabilitation costs on your behalf.

 

5. If you settle your motor accident claim, you will have to pay refunds.

If you are successful in a common law claim for damages and receive a payment of compensation, any payments made to you, or on your behalf, in relation to your injury by:

– Centrelink; and/or
– Medicare Australia; and/or
– Your private health insurer,

must be repaid to these agencies from any compensation agreed with the insurer, or awarded by a court. These payments will generally be paid by the insurer direct to these agencies, before your settlement funds are paid to you.

If your case is resolved without statements of the amounts paid by these agencies for the insurer to make payment upon, those agencies will seek reimbursement from you direct. That is why we always ensure we have up to date statements of the amounts paid by these agencies prior to the conclusion of your case.

 

The information in this blog is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be taken as such. If you have any queries, contact us now on 1300 15 15 45 to discuss your specific circumstances.

All initial consults with our firm are free of charge and all of our services are No Win, No Pay, with the exception of NSW workers compensation claims, which are funded by WIRO and therefore free to all non-exempt workers covered by the NSW workers compensation scheme.

 

What does an Independent Medical Examination (IME) mean?

Posted on: May 13th, 2019 by Development

by Pania Watt

Independent Medical Examination

If you have a workers compensation claim, at some point it is very likely that the workers compensation insurer, or your solicitor, will ask you to submit to an Independent Medical Examination, or IME.

At Bourke Love Lawyers, we see a lot of workers injured in NSW who tell us in their initial appointment, when asked the question “who is your treating specialist?”, that the specialist IME doctor they have seen, is their treating specialist. It’s a common misunderstanding that the IME doctor is a treating doctor, when they are not.

The IME doctor is not there to treat you. You are not his or her patient – there is no patient-doctor relationship between you. The doctor will report back to the insurer, or your lawyer, on the examination, and everything you say during the examination.

 

What is an Independent Medical Examination?

An IME is an examination by a doctor with a specialty relevant to your type of injury. If you have a psychiatric injury, you might be asked to see a Psychiatrist. If you have a back injury, you might be asked to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon or a Neurosurgeon. If you have a brain injury, you might be asked to see a Neurologist.

 

The doctor is provided with a brief of information by the referrer. The doctor will:

1. Review that information;

2. Interview you (which may involve asking a range of questions about your medical history, what caused your injury, how the injury affects you now, and the treatment you have received); and

3. Depending on the type of injury you have:
– administer various tests; and/or
– carry out a physical examination (if you have a physical injury).

 

Why might I be referred for an Independent Medical Examination? 

The insurer, or your solicitor, might need an opinion on what caused your injury, the medical treatment which is reasonably necessary for your injury, your capacity for work, or the level of permanent impairment you have sustained as a result of your injury.

 

What happens after the Independent Medical Examination? 

If the IME referral was by the insurer, the doctor will provide a copy of that report (or sometimes just a part of it) to your nominated treating doctor (usually your General Practitioner). The insurer will only provide a copy of that report to you if the insurer decides to use the report to:

1. Decline liability for all, or part of, your claim; or
2. Reduce your workers compensation benefits.

If the IME referral was by your lawyer, your lawyer will review the report and explain to you what it means and how it is to be used in relation to your claim.

 

Who pays for the Independent Medical Examination?
The referring party pays for the cost of the report.

What about my costs of getting to and from the appointment?
If the referring party is the workers compensation insurer, the insurer will also pay for the cost of travel – whether that be flights, accommodation, mileage or meal expenses.

If the referring party is your lawyer, and you have funding from WIRO for your claim, WIRO will pay the cost of travel – including flights, accommodation, mileage or reasonable meal expenses. If you are an exempt worker (a police officer, firefighter or paramedic) and unable to obtain funding from WIRO, your lawyer will usually pay the cost of travel, and will be reimbursed by the insurer for these costs at the successful conclusion of your claim.

 

What do I do if I have a problem with the examination?
If you’re not happy with anything during the examination, you should tell the doctor immediately.

If you need to undergo a physical examination, you should not be in pain during, or after the examination. If you feel your injury has been worsened by a physical examination, you should immediately report this to the doctor, the insurer, and your lawyer.

More information on your rights in relation to Independent Medical Examinations can be found here.

 

The information in this blog is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be taken as such. If you have any queries, contact us now on 1300 15 15 45 to discuss your specific circumstances.

All initial consults with our firm are free of charge. If you have a NSW workers compensation claim, you may be eligible for funding by WIRO, or, if you are an exempt worker, your legal costs will be paid by the insurer upon the successful conclusion of your claim.