In March 2017, the NSW parliament passed the Motor Injuries Act 2017 to provide for a new Compulsory Third-Party (CTP) motor accidents scheme in NSW. The new CTP scheme commences on 1 December 2017 and comes off the back of a 15-month reform process.
The new scheme has addressed a number of concerns that the Law Society of NSW, the NSW Bar Association, and the Australian Lawyers Alliance had with the Government’s initial proposal, which were heavily criticised and left many motorists concerned. Read on to find out more about the new CTP scheme and what it means for motor vehicle accident victims.
The Government’s Initial Proposal
In March 2016, the Government proposed changes to the CTP scheme, also known as the CTP Green Slip scheme. Under the proposed changes to the NSW motor accident laws, there was to be a significant reduction of benefits for up to 90% of innocent motor accident victims.
In a nutshell, injured parties who had suffered less than 10% of whole person impairment (WPI) would no longer be entitled to claim compensation for future medical treatment and probably future income. The changes would affect many motorists, particularly manual workers who rely on a healthy body to carry out their job.
It was also proposed that the amount of compensation awarded to injured parties were not to be decided by a court, which meant that people would lose their rights to legal representation when challenging an assessment of their claim, and effectively, would have to face insurance companies on their own.
What Are the Major Features of the CTP Reform?
For motor vehicle accident victims, the Government’s initial proposal would have made it stressful for people to negotiate their personal injury claims and navigate their way through the CTP claims process.
The good news? The new CTP Green Slip scheme shows a dramatic shift away from Government’s initial proposal. According to the Law Society of NSW, here are the major policy changes reflected in the Motor Injuries Act 2017:
- Common law damages have been retained for some claimants – except those with minor injuries.
- Medical treatment and care are available for life for innocent victims with more than minor injuries.
- Under the no-fault defined benefits scheme, medical treatment and care are available for those at fault or with minor injuries for six months post-accident.
- Payments for loss of earnings/earning capacity are available for innocent victims with more than minor injuries for up to five years. These payments are capped at two and a half times average weekly earnings, or $3,853
- Under the no-fault defined benefits scheme, payments for loss of earnings are available for those at fault or with minor injuries for six months post-accident
- Access to non-economic loss damages has been retained for those with greater than 10% WPI.
- Better provisions for review of decisions than what was initially provided under the Government’s proposal.
The Minister has also agreed that there will be legal representation with the right to contract out of scheduled legal costs.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to make a personal injury claim under the new CTP Green Slip scheme. While there are definitely improvements, the legal professional bodies still have ongoing concerns with the Act, particularly in areas such as:
- Dispute resolution
- Treatment and care
- Profit clawback
- Legal costs
In this case, the best way to understand how the new CTP Green Slip scheme will impact you is to consult a lawyer experienced in helping motor vehicle accident victims. This way, you’ll have all the right information on changes to the NSW motor accident laws. You’ll also be in a better position to navigate your way through the claims process.
When the new Bill starts in December 2017, you can also expect prices under the CTP Green Slip scheme to reduce, refunds for eligible motorists from early 2018, and more CTP dollars going to injured people.
Being involved in a car accident can be a tough experience. The financial and emotional repercussions can be overwhelming and hard to handle. With all the changes going on, it’s important to wrap your head around exactly how to make the best possible claim for your situation.
If you need specific information on the CTP Green Slip scheme, or you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and need to make an accident claim, get in touch with Schreuders today.