Archive for June, 2019

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

Posted on: June 24th, 2019 by n3tB1z

by Pania Watt

If you have been injured in a car accident after 1 December 2017, read on for five things to know about making a compensation claim in NSW.

 

1. The NSW system is a no fault system

The system in NSW is now, as of 1 December 2017, a no fault system. This means that if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, whether you are a:

– Driver or a passenger in a vehicle;

– Rider or a pillion passenger;

– Pedestrian; or

– Cyclist,

you will be entitled to make a claim, regardless of who caused the accident.

However, you will not be entitled to claim if you have been charged with, or convicted or a serious driving offence in connection with the accident, or, you caused the accident and were driving an uninsured car (which you knew was uninsured).

2. Time limits apply.

It’s important to act early in order to ensure that your rights and entitlements are protected, and that you minimise any out of pocket costs for your treatment by ensuring that the CTP insurer will cover them.

You must lodge a claim form (called an “Application for personal injury benefits” within 3 months of the date of the accident.

If you want to receive early income payments (if you need time off work due to injuries sustained in the accident, as is commonly the case), you need to lodge a claim form within 28 days of the accident. You will also need to provide proof of your earnings, such as payslips, or a statement from your employer.

3. Injuries can be physical or psychological

An injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident can be physical or psychological.

A person injured in a motor vehicle accident can sustain physical injuries ranging from whiplash, to very serious injuries, including orthopaedic or neurological injuries.

A person involved in a motor vehicle accident may also suffer mental trauma, resulting in a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Such injuries are serious, and require specialist care and attention.   

4. There are certain types of benefits payable in relation to a claim

For up to six (6) months, you can claim:

– Reasonable and necessary medical and treatment expenses relating to your injury.

These expenses could commonly include examinations by your General Practitioner or treating specialist doctor, physiotherapy or radiological investigations, or psychological counselling.

– Weekly income payments, if you should need time off work (even if you are self-employed).

Even minor car accidents can cause whiplash type injuries which cause pain and stop you from being able to carry out your usual work duties. This can be even more likely if you work in a physically demanding job – for example, if you are a tradesperson, or a labourer. Weekly income payments are even more important if you don’t have leave entitlements with your employment – for example, if you are a casual worker, or if you have just started a new job.

– Domestic and personal care services, if you need help around the home as a consequence of your injuries.

Your injury may cause you to have difficulty performing heavier household chores, such as vacuuming or mowing the lawn. If you have had a very serious injury, you may need a nurse, or specialised carers, to attend you at home.

5. If you have been injured in a motor accident, your treatment in a public hospital is not covered by Medicare

Medicare does not cover people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents in NSW.

If you need an ambulance, the cost of that, and most of your hospital costs will be covered by the Fund levy.

The Fund levy will also pay for the majority of your expenses whilst you are in a public hospital, but there may be some doctors bills which are not covered by the Fund levy.

These doctors will send you a bill for their services, which you will have to pay yourself if you do not make a CTP claim.

 

The information in this blog is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be taken as such.

If you have had a motor vehicle accident, and you wish to make a claim for compensation, 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.

PSA: Check your superannuation before 1 July

Posted on: June 17th, 2019 by n3tB1z

by Pania Watt

When did you last check your super?

Many, if not most, people hold life insurance, or total and permanent disability insurance, through a superannuation fund, and don’t know it – until becoming unable to work due to injury or illness.

On 1 July 2019, major changes will be made to superannuation which could have a serious impact on you, or your family. These changes are being made under the Federal Government’s “Protecting Your Super” package.

While some of the changes are positive, some have the consequence of people whose account has been “inactive” for more than 16 months, and the account has a balance below $6,000 having their superannuation balance consolidated – that is, having the balance transferred to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and the account closed.

How a person may find themselves in this position is more common than you might think.

At Bourke Love Lawyers, we often represent people who have found themselves unable to work, and therefore contribute to their superannuation funds, for lengthy periods of time due to illness or injury.

For example, a person who is receiving workers compensation payments, will generally not be entitled to have superannuation paid on those payments, because the ATO superannuation guarantee ruling states that payments of workers compensation where no work is being performed by an employee are not included in the employee’s ordinary time earnings when calculating superannuation payable.

A person with an injury or illness which takes a long time to heal and rehabilitate can easily find themselves in a situation, through no fault of their own, where their superannuation account has not received a contribution for over a year, but payment of fees and insurance premiums has eroded the account to below $6,000.

This situation is even more likely to happen to a person with a short working history prior to suffering an injury or illness – for example, a young worker at the start of his or her career.

The intention behind the changes is to stop people’s superannuation balances being eroded by paying unnecessary fees, including fees for insurance within your superannuation.

In effect however, it could have the effect of people who have paid for insurance policies out of their superannuation for many years, could have those policies expire. Years of policy payments could go “down the drain” because the person isn’t aware of the changes being made starting on 1 July 2019. What’s worse is there will be people out there who aren’t even aware their policies have expired due to the impending changes, and will not realise this until their claim is rejected – because the policy has lapsed.

 

What can you do?

Check your mygov account, which you can link to the ATO, for details of every superannuation fund you have, and make contact with each and every one before 1 July, to make an informed and deliberate choice about your superannuation.

If you’ve been contacted by your superannuation fund in any way, please take heed of the communication and get back to them as soon as possible.

Don’t leave it too late.

If you are looking for assistance, support and advice regarding your entitlement to claim on a life insurance policy, Bourke Love Lawyers can assist. We charge for the work that we do, not a flat percentage of your benefit, and all initial consults with our firm are free of charge.

 

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 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 is whole person impairment?

Posted on: June 5th, 2019 by Development

by Pania Watt

If you have a claim for workers compensation, during your claim you may be asked to submit to an Independent Medical Examination for the purpose of assessing your level of whole person impairment.

Whole person impairment (“WPI”), is also referred to as permanent impairment. A whole person impairment assessment is an assessment of the degree of permanent impairment of any body part, system or function which is impaired as a result of an injury.

 

What is involved in an assessment?

The insurer, or your solicitor, will refer you to a doctor of a speciality relevant to your injury, who is a SIRA approved assessor of permanent impairment. Generally, this will not be your treating specialist. The list of doctors who are SIRA approved assessors can be found here.

 

Why do I need an assessment of whole person impairment?

Prior to the changes to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 in 2012, the assessment of whole person impairment was only for the purpose of determining an injured worker’s entitlement to claim lump sum compensation.

Since the changes, an assessment of whole person impairment and (if applicable) payment of lump sum compensation does not finalise your other entitlements to weekly payments and medical expenses, but the assessment itself will determine how long you are entitled to weekly payments and medical expenses (unless you are a Police Officer, a Paramedic or a Firefighter).


How is whole person impairment or permanent impairment assessed?

Your level of permanent impairment is calculated by a doctor who is trained to assess your injury in accordance with the AMA5 and the Workers Compensation Guidelines for assessment of permanent impairment.

The doctor will assess:

1. Whether your injury has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (in other words, it is as good as it’s going to get);

2. Whether the injury or condition results in an impairment;

3. Whether that impairment is permanent;

4. What the degree of permanent impairment is;

5. If applicable, the proportion of permanent impairment due to a previous injury or pre-existing condition.

 

What does “lump sum compensation” mean?

There are three basic components to a claim for workers compensation – weekly payments, medical expenses, and lump sum compensation.

Lump sum compensation is intended to compensate you for “pain and suffering” as a consequence of your injury. The calculation is made by an independent medical examiner, who is a doctor with the required training and approval to assess permanent impairment in relation to a NSW workers compensation claim. That assessment is evidence, but is not conclusive of your condition, your fitness for work, or any other medical question.

 

How is the amount of compensation worked out?

In order to claim lump sum compensation for a physical injury, you must be assessed with whole person impairment of 11% or more.

In order to claim lump sum compensation for a psychological injury, you must be assessed with whole person impairment of 15% or more.

The amount of money payable for a certain percentage of impairment is dependent upon the date of the injury, and the type of injury. The amounts payable are set out in the SIRA Workers Compensation Benefits Guide.

 

 

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.