MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT CLAIMS
Why should I engage a lawyer?
The insurer does not have a duty to act in your best interests. They have their own interests in protecting their funds and balance sheet.
In an adversarial system, it is up to you to present evidence of your losses and persuade the insurer that the legal entitlements you are pursuing will ultimately be awarded by the District Court.
It is the threat of a court award that usually influences an insurer to come to agreement to settle a claim for an amicable amount. This is the foundation upon which all negotiations are built upon.
If you do not have legal technical knowledge of the assessment criteria and a known tenacity to pursue an action to trial in court for your justified legal entitlements and win, you are placing yourself at a significant disadvantage at the negotiations table.
It is therefore important that you obtain legal representation from a law firm that has the necessary reputation and proven traits to represent your interests.
What if I cannot afford a lawyer?
No legal fees are payable until the conclusion of your case. Soul Legal assists victims of injury on a "No Win - No Fee" basis.
Upon the successful conclusion of your claim for damages Soul Legal will pursue "party and party" costs from the insurer. This should cover majority of your legal costs.
Any shortfall, otherwise known as "solicitor and client" costs are paid from the settlement proceeds. Usually this amount will not exceed 10% of the damages award.
What are the steps I need to take after being injured in a motor vehicle accident?
Always give priority to your injuries by obtaining medical attention. Whilst the most significant injuries will be attended to by your treating doctors, remember to mention your lesser injuries and have them recorded. Some significant injuries can manifest themselves over time, and if their initial symptoms are not included in your medical record, the insurer may dispute that these were sustained in the accident.
In Western Australia, we recommend that that you complete an online crash report. You can also request a ‘Notice of Intention to Make a Claim Form’ direct from ICWA. You are expected to do so within 6 months of the date of the crash. However, if you have not done so this would not usually disqualify your claim as ICWA has an onus to establish prejudice to defeat your claim.
Engage a law firm that has the necessary reputation and proven traits to represent your interests.
Can I claim compensation if I am partly at fault in a car accident?
Yes, provided that it can be established that a driver of a registered motor vehicle was at least partly at fault.
What if I was totally at fault in the accident?
Generally you will not be able to make a claim. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule in the case of a catastrophic injury. If you were completely at fault or where it is not possible to establish the negligence of another party and you are catastrophically injured, you can still claim compensation for your loss.
The state Government introduced the Catastrophic injuries support scheme on 1 July 2016 to provide lifetime treatment, care and support to everyone catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident in Western Australia.
What if the other driver absconded and I am unable to identify who he was?
In Western Australia, there is only one compulsory third party insurer, ICWA. If you have made due search and inquiry to ascertain the identity of the vehicle and have given ICWA a statement for the basis of your claim, you can still be compensated for your loss.
What if I was not in the accident, but lost a loved one in a fatal crash?
A Fatal Accidents Act claim can be brought on your behalf if you are a relative or in a de-facto relationship with the deceased. You will be compensated to the extent that you were financially dependent on the deceased.
Will I have to go to court to get a settlement?
Majority of our claims are settled without having to go to court. If, however, amicable terms of settlement cannot be reached by agreement with the insurer, going to court is an option that we are capable of pursuing on your behalf.
Can I Make a Claim for a Superannuation Total and Permanent Disability Lump Sum Payment?
In addition to your motor vehicle accident claim, you may be eligible to make a Superannuation Total and Permanent Disability (“TPD”) benefit claim if you have been rendered totally unfit for work.
If you were previously injured at work or in a car accident and have already received a lump sum payment, this will not preclude you from receiving a further lump sum payment in a Superannuation TPD claim.