nsw car accident act

Recent changes to NSW Motor Accident Injuries Act

Recent changes to NSW Motor Accident Injuries Act

Wills And Estates

The recent Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill 2022 (“the Amendment Bill”) has made a number of significant changes to the way motor accident claims are handled, and the rights of injured persons.

In the below summary, we outline the more significant changes, when they start and how they change the way the law works.

Key changes coming into force on 1 April 2023:

It is wise to obtain legal advice if you have been injured in a car accident. A lawyer can help you determine the appropriate course of action for your circumstances and can advise you on the rights you have. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be awarded compensation to cover some of the costs associated with your pain and suffering as a result of your motor vehicle accident.

1. Change to Your Entitlements to Weekly Payments and Medical Treatment

Currently, a person who is found to have sustained a ‘minor injury’ or is deemed to be wholly or mostly at fault for a motor vehicle accident is only entitled to receive 6 months of benefits.

The key change commencing on 1 April 2023 is the extension of this first entitlement period to one year. Claimants who are wholly or mostly at fault or who have not suffered a ‘threshold injury’ will be entitled to weekly wage loss payments for a maximum of one year, as well as at least one year of reasonable and necessary treatment and care.

This will ensure that people that are injured in motor vehicle accidents will have stronger and more consistent financial support for both loss of earnings and medical expenses, allowing them to return to work and their pre-accident activities more quickly, and allow them to access treatment for longer.

2. Change in Terminology

The current legislation used language to describe different types of injuries that could be sustained in a motor accident, being ‘minor’ and ‘non-minor’. The term ‘minor injury’ has consistently come under fire for trivialising injuries and downplaying their impact on injured people. As a result, the term has now been replaced with ‘threshold injury’.

Whilst the change in terminology does not alter the actual definition of the term or how the relevant clauses operate, it is less offensive to claimants who were injured in an accident, but not seriously enough to be eligible for a larger lump sum claim.

Key changes that commenced on 28 November 2022:

3. Disputes Surrounding Permanent Impairment

Previously, if there was a dispute about an injured person’s permanent impairment (a percentage between 0 and 100), time was wasted by having to apply to the insurer for an internal review of their decision.

The changes to the law has removed this internal review requirement which will assist in speeding up the claims process and the resolution of medical disputes surrounding permanent impairment.

4. Change to Waiting Periods

Injured people previously had to wait 20 months before being able to discuss settling their claim with the insurer. This resulted in many injured persons waiting for no reason, unable to put the accident behind them and move on with their lives.

The changes to the law have removed the 20-month waiting period, meaning that claims will be able to resolve much faster, reducing the emotional and psychological toll a lengthy claims process could have.

Law Society of NSW

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