Overseas tourists injured in motor vehicle accidents to lose out under new laws
Every year, overseas tourists are injured in motor vehicle accidents on NSW roads and are repatriated to their home countries, many in a serious condition. Before 1 December 2017, they were entitled to the same compensation as Australians. For accidents occurring on or after 1 December 2017, benefits paid to overseas tourists have reduced dramatically.
On 1 December 2017 the NSW government’s Motor Accident Injuries Act came into force. That Act provides a regime of statutory no-fault benefits for most people injured in motor vehicle accidents as well as common law damages for only some people.
Statutory benefits include wage loss as well as treatment and care expenses.
However, if you are not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia (and you have an injury other than a catastrophic injury which entitles you to participate in the Lifetime Care and Support scheme) you are entitled to statutory benefits while you are in Australia but the moment you leave the country, your statutory benefits stop. This means you are not entitled to wage loss or payment for treatment you incur in your home country while you recover from the injuries you sustained in NSW.
If you are able to maintain a common law action for damages, you can sue for your loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity but you have no way of recovering payments you have made for medical or allied health treatment, medication, rehabilitation or assistance you need in your home country.
If you were injured in a car accident in NSW before 1 December 2017, then you may have an entitlement to a greater range of benefits and entitlements. Please contact Stacks Goudkamp to discuss your claim.
When overseas visitors start planning their trip down under and they are tossing up between the Hunter or the Yarra Valley, Bondi Beach versus Surfers Paradise, a new consideration must now come into the mix – where do I want to be if I am injured in a car accident? NSW is no longer the place to be for injured overseas tourists.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, and to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.
Written by Belinda Cassidy.
Belinda Cassidy holds the position of Special Counsel at Stacks Goudkamp. She had previously held the position of Principal Claims Assessor at the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) for 18 years, and currently holds an appointment as a Claims Assessor under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act.