What does “minor injury” mean if I’ve had a motor vehicle accident?

By Pania Watt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have been injured in a car accident after 1 December 2017, the CTP insurer may have advised you that you have suffered a “minor injury”. If you’re not sure what this means, read on for more information.

The changes to the NSW CTP scheme which took effect on 1 December 2017 divided compensation payable to people injured in a motor vehicle accident between minor, and non-minor injuries.

 

What can a minor injury be?

A minor injury can be physical, or psychological.

An example of a minor physical injury is a soft tissue injury, which usually a muscular type injury. The most common soft tissue injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident is whiplash, which is an injury to the neck area sustained due to the force of an accident throwing your upper body/head quickly forwards and then quickly backwards.

An example of a minor psychological injury is adjustment disorder or acute stress disorder, which are both recognised psychological disorders resulting from being involved in, or witnessing traumatic events. Both disorders are injuries where you are expected to recover well and in a short period of time. If you don’t recover within the timeframe expected, the diagnosis of the injury may need to be changed.

 

When is an injury non-minor?

If your injury is more than a soft tissue injury, or a diagnosed psychiatric or psychological illness that is more than adjustment disorder or acute stress disorder, it is likely your injury will be classified as non-minor.

Non-minor physical injuries could include nerve injuries, ligament or cartilage injuries, fractured bones, or injuries to the spine with radiculopathy (also known as sciatica).

Non-minor psychological injuries could include depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

Who makes the decision?

The decision as to whether an injury is classified as minor is made by the CTP insurer, who will consider the medical evidence and the diagnosis given by your treating doctor in making the decision, and provide you with a “liability notice letter” within three months of your claim being lodged. The liability notice letter will tell you whether the insurer considers your injury is minor, or non-minor, and whether the insurer will agree to pay statutory benefits to you.

If you don’t agree with the insurer’s decision, you must lodge a request for the insurer to reconsider it (called an “internal review”) within 28 days of receiving the liability notice letter.

If you don’t agree with the insurer’s internal review, you can request SIRA’s Dispute Resolution Service to help you to resolve the dispute with the insurer.

 

What support can I get if I have a minor injury?

A person who has suffered a minor injury can expect support from the CTP insurer for a period of up to 26 weeks. For details of what that support might entail, see here.

 

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.