If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in NSW or a providing medical treatment to someone was injured, it is critical that you be aware of changes to the motor accident injury compensation scheme that will come into force from 1 April 2023. The changes have a significant impact on the rights of injured people and the amount of treatment that can be obtained through the NSW motor accident scheme, regardless of whether the driver was at fault for the accident or not.
Two stages of changes were assented to by NSW Parliament in November 2022. The first stage went live on 28 November 2022 and provided minor amendments which improve the efficiency of the motor accident scheme operations. The second stage is live from 1 April 2023 and provides extended entitlements (treatment, care and weekly payments) to people who have a threshold injury (previously known as a minor injury) and/or who are wholly or mostly at fault for the accident. There are a number of impacts on treatment providers and injured people as a consequence of these changes.
The Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill 2022 was assented to on 28 November 2022 and introduced two stages of changes to the 2017 NSW motor accident injury scheme. These changes will have a significant impact on the rights of injured people and the responsibilities of medical professionals and treatment providers.
STAGE 1 – LIVE FROM 28 NOVEMBER 2022
The first changes apply to all existing and future CTP claims. The major amendments included the removal of:
- The need to undertake an internal review with the insurer if a dispute arose regarding the injured person’s level of whole person impairment, allowing an injured person to lodge their dispute with the Personal Injury Commission without delay.
- The prohibition on lodging a claim for damages until 20 months after the accident and settling a claim until 2 years after the accident if the injured person’s whole person impairment did not exceed 10%, allowing claims to be lodged and finalised sooner.
The purpose of the first stage of amendments appears to be to bring about improved operational efficiency and to give greater effect to the objects of the Motor Accidents Injuries Act.
STAGE 2 – LIVE FROM 1 APRIL 2023
The second stage of changes apply to motor accidents that occur on or after 1 April 2023 (unless explicitly stated to the contrary below):
- The term ‘minor injury’ will change to ‘threshold injury’. This amendment has a retrospective effect and applies to all open and future claims lodged from 1 April 2023.
- Statutory benefits entitlements (weekly payments, home care and treatment) are extended from 26 weeks to 52 weeks for people who are wholly or mostly at fault or who have sustained a ‘threshold injury’.
- If the insurer alleges contributory negligence (i.e. the injured person was partly responsible for the accident), weekly payments will now reduce after 52 weeks instead of 26 weeks.
- Insurance companies will now issue their second liability notice at 9 months instead of 3 months. This liability notice determines whether the claimant is wholly or mostly at fault and whether the injuries sustained are ‘threshold injuries’ or not.
- Claims for weekly payments received after 28 days from the date of the accident may now be eligible for a back payment to the date of the accident (currently no entitlement exists) if a full and satisfactory explanation is provided.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR INJURED PEOPLE?
The impact of these changes results in longer periods of benefits for injured people, specifically those who have sustained ‘threshold injuries’ or who are wholly or mostly at-fault for the accident. It also allows for a greater period of time for delayed onset injuries, such as psychological conditions, to be diagnosed and be treated before insurers issue their second liability notice. This has the potential to decrease the number of internal reviews and dispute applications being lodged with the Personal Injury Commission. Finally, the elimination of the whole person impairment internal review process and shortened time frames for claim lodgement and settlement should expedite the resolution of damages claims allowing people to receive their compensation payout and move on with their life sooner.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS?
For healthcare providers, the changes permit you to treat people injured in NSW motor accidents on or after 1 April 2023 for up to 12 months, regardless of whether they were at fault or if their have sustained a ‘threshold injury’, such as those with chronic whiplash or back pain without verifiable signs of radiculopathy. It is worth noting that treatment must still be considered ‘reasonable and necessary’.
The changes will also mean that General Practitioners and physiotherapists will need to produce Certificates of Fitness for a longer duration of time for injured people who would have previously been disentitled to treatment from 6 months post-accident.
THE KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Recent changes to the motor accident scheme have improved scheme efficiency and will enhance benefits for a range of people from 1 April 2023. Injured people and treating health providers should be familiar with the changes to ensure that injured people do not miss out on the extended benefits.
- The NSW CTP scheme is complex. Injured people should instruct an Accredited Specialist in Personal injury law with significant expertise in motor accident claims like the lawyers at Advantage Legal to ensure that you receive your full compensation entitlement.
Health providers can contact Advantage Legal for free assistance and education seminars on the NSW CTP scheme by emailing email@example.com
Advantage Legal are Accredited Specialists in NSW personal injury law. We offer no-win, no-fee billing and guide you through every step of the compensation claim process including working with treatment and rehabilitation providers to fully understand how your injuries are impacting you. We also pay your upfront claim investigation fees such as specialist medical reports to ensure there is no financial burden on you throughout the progression of your claim, and only seek reimbursement at the successful conclusion of your claim.
If you’ve been injured in a motor accident you can take our FREE online claim assessment. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to speak with a lawyer now, you can click here to book a time to chat with one of our Accredited Specialists.
This article is for education purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should be aware that NSW compensation law changes regularly and that the accuracy of information contained within this article is current as of 1 April 2023. Any person relying on the information contained in this article does so at their own risk.