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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Got a question about compensation law? Chances are it’s been asked by someone like yourself before. Check our list of FAQs below to see if the answer is there.

To most people an injury is something you can see. But what about those that you can’t see?

A psychological injury or “nervous shock” can be just as debilitating as a physical injury. But how do you know if you have suffered such an injury?

Nervous shock is the legal term for any psychological injury suffered that is caused or contributed to by a particular incident. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety type disorders and traffic phobia are just some examples of injuries of this kind. An exacerbation of a pre-existing condition (such as depression) that was well managed prior to the incident can also be classified as a psychological injury.

Examples of incidents that may cause you to suffer psychological injury include the death of a loved one, motor vehicle accidents, a significant fall or even medical malpractice. Even if you were not directly involved in the incident you may still have suffered psychological injury.

In situations where you can show sufficient proximity to an incident that caused you to suffer a psychological injury you may still be able to make a claim. An example of such an incident may be if a close friend of family member lost their life in a car accident at which you were not present.

It is a common misconception that if you bring a personal injury claim you will be suing a person who most likely cannot afford to pay. In fact, any payout will come from the insurer, not the individual.

If you have home and contents insurance and your house burns down, you’d mostly likely make a claim. If you are in a car accident and your car is damaged by someone else, you’d make a claim against their insurance.

It is worth remembering that insurance for personal injury is like any other. It is there to ensure that people who suffer damage are properly compensated. That is the reason this insurance (or any other type of insurance) exists in the first place.

So if you have suffered an injury (including a psychological injury) which you believe was caused by the fault of someone else you should seek legal advice to make sure that you’re informed of your options.

Remember, strict time limits may apply to making a claim so it is important that you receive proper legal advice as soon as possible.

If you require more specific information on the law of negligence as it relates to this article, and indeed your own personal circumstances, please fill in the form below. Patrick will call you within one business day to clarify your questions and set your mind at ease.

The law clearly recognises that the victim of a psychological injury caused by negligence or by a deliberate act should be entitled to compensation in much the same way as the victim of a physical injury.

Psychological injuries may occur independently of any physical injury (eg a person who suffers a psychiatric reaction after witnessing a traumatic event), or more commonly may be associated with physical injuries also suffered by the person. In either case, the law provides a remedy to the victim where the injury is caused by the wrongful conduct of another person.

Psychological injuries vary in nature, intensity and duration. The medical profession has endeavoured to develop distinct categories to describe psychological injuries. These include:

    Adjustment disorder
    Depression
    Panic disorder
    Anxiety disorder
    Traffic phobia
    Post-traumatic stress disorder
    The label placed on a psychiatric injury may be misleading. Each disorder may have mild or very serious consequences.

In some cases a person suffering a serious psychiatric injury may, in real terms, be far more disabled than a person suffering a relatively serious physical injury. This is particularly so in terms of the person’s ability to properly function in the workforce.

Victims of psychological injuries who face difficulty carrying out their usual work may be entitled to substantial damages for loss of income as part of the assessment of that person’s damages claim.

Psychological injuries are generally assessed by an expert Psychiatrist or Psychologist. In cases where there is a suggestion of some underlying organic brain injury, it may also be necessary for assessment to be carried out by a neurologist or neuro-psychologist.

It is a common misconception that a person who suffers a serious psychiatric reaction following the death of loved one cannot seek damages for the serious psychiatric injury unless the person actually witnessed the incident causing the death. While the law used to impose this type of restriction, this is no longer the case.

In summary, the law does not differentiate between physical and psychological injuries in the context of a claim for damages.

Where there is a causal connection between a negligent intentional act and the development of a psychological injury, the victim will ordinarily be entitled to compensation.

If you require more specific information on the law of negligence as it relates to this article, and indeed your own personal circumstances, please fill in the form below. David will call you within one business day to clarify your questions and set your mind at ease.

If you have suffered an injury (whether a physical or psychological injury) through the fault of another party (even if that party is only partly at fault) then you will be entitled to make a claim against the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault. The same entitlement arises even if the accident involves an unidentified vehicle or a “hit and run” driver.

Even if the accident is a single vehicle accident that the collision has caused through some fault of another party (eg a poorly maintained road, a defect in your vehicle or some other factor) you may also have a claim for injury compensation.

It is important that you seek legal advice from a solicitor to make sure you can make an informed decision about whether or not you have a claim worthwhile pursuing.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

Generally speaking, if you are injured in a car accident caused through the fault of another person then it will almost certainly be worthwhile pursuing a claim for injury compensation against the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault.

You are legally entitled to bring a claim for injury compensation against a CTP insurer without legal representation. But unless your likely award of damages was exceptionally nominal, it will be worthwhile engaging a lawyer to represent you. The insurers are very experienced litigators in injury compensation claims and there would be a real imbalance of power/knowledge which could be highly detrimental if you were to pursue the claim without representation.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

The types of things you can claim (and the way a Court would ultimately assess your injury compensation, if it ever reached that stage) are broken down into various categories. Those categories are as follows:-

pain and suffering;
out-of-pocket expenses – to cover things such as hospital bills, doctors’ fees, x-ray fees, medication and any other expense you are put to because of your injury (eg cleaning expenses and the like);
loss of earnings – whether this is because of actual time off work or a lost opportunity (eg an inability to seek a promotion, take on another more lucrative job or simply missing out on overtime or additional hours etc);
future loss of earnings – an allowance to compensate you for the loss of earnings you will suffer into the future;
future treatment costs;
care and assistance – some allowance may be made to the extent other people are required to assist you with household chores and the like because of your injuries;
other future costs/expenses.
If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

The CTP insurer is under no obligation to reimburse your ongoing treatment costs up front until they make an admission of liability/fault in your claim (and they have three months from the time you lodge your claim form to consider that issue). But, where the circumstances of the accident are relatively straightforward, most CTP insurers will agree to reimburse at least some component of your treatment costs up front.

We can work with you to help expedite that process, assisting you to recover those costs at a time when you will no doubt be under financial pressures.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

Where the car accident was caused by another vehicle, then it is the CTP insurer of that vehicle who is required to pay you the injury compensation. The driver of the vehicle at fault is not required to pay any component of that amount (they are covered by the CTP scheme). The only exception to this is if the vehicle was unregistered or the driver of the vehicle at fault was intoxicated, in which event the CTP insurer of the vehicle will still be obliged to pay your injury compensation (but they may have a right to seek reimbursement of that amount from the driver , although that recovery process is not something you would be involved in).

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

To begin the claim, it is necessary to lodge a claim form (in the approved form) on the CTP insurer of the vehicle at fault.

If your injuries are more persistent, then it is likely you will need to attend medical examinations to properly assess the long term consequences of your injuries.

The CTP insurer then investigates the circumstances of the motor vehicle accident by contacting various witnesses etc. They have three months in which to advise as to whether they are going to admit or deny liability/fault.

Other investigations are required to determine the nature and extent of your losses. The parties will then participate in settlement negotiations (usually in the form of an informal settlement conference). In the event the matter is unable to be resolved at that conference, then more procedural steps are required before the matter reaches trial. But settlement negotiations can, and do, still occur prior to trial.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

It really depends on the severity of your injuries as to the likely duration of the claim. If your injuries are relatively trivial and you make a speedy recovery, then your claim will be able to be settled relatively quickly. On the other hand, if your injuries are more persistent (which many can be), then it is important to wait until your injuries settle or stabilise to better determine the long term nature of the impact of your injuries. Obviously, that will involve taking more time, but it is imperative to ensure you recover a proper, and fair, level of injury compensation. Because when your claim has been settled with the insurer, it is not possible to reopen the claim in the event your condition deteriorates at a later time.

After speaking with you, one of our expert personal injury lawyers will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the likely duration of your claim.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

This largely depends upon the severity of your injuries and the impact those injuries have on your life and your capacity to work etc. There are many variables which impact upon the likely amount you could be entitled to, resulting in injury compensation of only a modest amount to a relatively substantial amount.

That is why it is important to seek legal advice to determine your most likely level of compensation.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

If you engage a solicitor to act on your behalf, then your solicitor will take care of almost all of the administrative burden involved in bringing a claim. From your perspective, you would simply need to provide information and documents evidencing your expenses, earnings etc and attend various medical appointments.

One of our personal injury lawyers will be able to explain in more detail the process involved in proceeding with the claim.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.

Yes. There are some strict time limits which apply to your claim.

In an ordinary case, you are required to lodge a claim form with the CTP insurer within six months of the car accident. It is still possible to pursue a claim after that, but an explanation for the late claim needs to be given (and usually there are good reasons for making a claim late). But if your Application to the Claims Assessment Resolution Service (CARS) is not made within 3 years you may lose your right to appeal to the District Court any decision made by CARS that you are unhappy with. As a general rule, any legal proceedings in a court arising from a personal injury must be made within three years of the date of the accident or injury. It is important to consult a lawyer to make sure your interests are protected in this regard.

Bearing in mind all of these requirements, and in order to progress your claim quickly and efficiently, it is important that you seek advice about bringing a claim as quickly as possible.

If you have more specific questions relating to your situation, fill in the form below. A lawyer will call you back within one business day to clarify your concerns.