If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, one of the first things you need to do is obtain a medical certificate from your General Practitioner.
This is an important first step in a CTP claim and will also help you long-term in claiming the appropriate benefits from the CTP insurer. Your medical certificate needs to outline the physical and psychological injuries sustained in the accident, along with any treatment needs including radiological investigations.
WHAT IS IT?
In NSW, the medical certificate is known as a ‘Certificate of Capacity / Certificate of Fitness’. Most General Practitioners and hospitals have copies of the certificate, however its worth remembering that you can also obtain a copy from the State Insurance Regulatory Authority website (SIRA). It is important that you see your General Practitioner within 28 days of the accident to get a medical certificate which details your treatment needs and time absent from work.
WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
While obtaining a medical certificate may seem like an inconvenience, it is actually a crucial part of your claim. Without it, the CTP insurer is unable to determine whether you can return to work, what your rehabilitation needs are and how your injury recovery is progressing. The CTP insurer will also use the medical certificate as part of its assessment of whether you have a ‘minor injury’ and are entitled to benefits beyond 6 months after the accident.
WHY DO YOU NEED IT?
It is your responsibility to provide the CTP insurer with a medical certificate outlining your injuries, disabilities and capacity for work. The CTP insurer will need your initial medical certificate at the time the claim form is submitted. The claim form is also known as an ‘Application for Personal Injury Benefits’. The CTP insurer will require an updated medical certificate every 28 days to consider how your rehabilitation is progressing. In some circumstances where injuries are severe the timeframe for repeat medical certificates can be limited to every 3 months. Failure to provide the CTP insurer with medical certificates may result in your statutory benefits being suspended or cut off entirely.
WHO COMPLETES IT?
In most circumstances your General Practitioner will complete the medical certificate. Your General Practitioner will diagnose your injuries, outline the treatment required and comment on whether you are fit to return to work. This process is continually undertaken throughout the life of your CTP claim.
WHAT HAPPENS IF ALL INJURIES ARE NOT LISTED?
A common mistake frequently made when obtaining a medical certificate is only reporting your most serious injuries. The medical certificate should outline every injury sustained in the accident. It is important the CTP insurer knows about every injury so that they can create a rehabilitation plan unique to your particular circumstances.
Whiplash, soft tissue injuries and bruising are all considered to be ‘minor injuries’ and as such, it is expected your recovery will be relatively quick. Because of this, you will most likely only receive statutory benefits for up to six months. People with more serious injuries such as broken bones, spinal injuries with nerve damage, brain damage and amputations will be entitled to benefits beyond 6 months provided they were not wholly or mostly at fault for the accident.
Typically, injured people tend to focus on listing their physical injuries on the medical certificate, ignoring others. It’s important to remember you may have sustained psychological injuries in your accident and if this is the case, those injuries need to be included on your medical certificate as well.
If you have any questions or need any help with your motor accident injury claim, feel free to contact the team at Advantage Legal. We’re experts in CTP claims, offer no-win-no-fee billing and will guide you through every step of your CTP claim. You can follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook & Instagram. This article is for education purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should be aware that NSW motor accident compensation law changes regularly and that the accuracy of information contained within this article is current as of September 2019. Any person relying on the information contained in this article does so at their own risk.