Motor vehicle accidents are unfortunately a fact of life.  Many injured people do not realise that there is a time limit to bring a personal injury claim, or only look into their rights to motor vehicle accident compensation after the statutory deadline to bring a CTP claim has expired.  This blog explains motor accident ‘late claims’ in New South Wales, and that it is never too late to seek legal advice.

The law in New South Wales places a number of important obligations on both injured people and insurers. Usually, this is good for injured people, because it means that there is a defined procedure which the insurer must follow when managing motor accident claims.

However, the trade off for this is that there are strict time limits with which the injured person must comply, and none more important than the requirement to give the insurer notice of your claim in a timely fashion.

This can cause problems for a number of reasons:

  1. Generally speaking, Australians tend to be very stoic, and prefer to just ‘get on with things’ rather than racing off to doctors and lawyers for treatment and advice.
  2. My own impression, is that people believe that they have ‘a couple of years’ to commence court proceedings, and wrongly assume that it can be left to the last minute in motor accident cases.
  3. When the accident happens in unusual circumstances (such as a ‘hit and run’ accident) injured people often do not realise that they may be entitled to compensation.
  4. Sometimes, there can be a delay between the accident and the onset of symptoms.

There are many other reasons why a claim might be lodged outside of the required time limit. Any delay in a motor accident claim can be costly, and potentially fatal to your rights to claim the compensation you deserve for your injuries.  However even if you have failed to comply with the requirement to notify the insurer of your claim in a timely fashion, you may still be entitled to make a claim if you proceed with haste and provide a full and satisfactory explanation for the delay.  Your explanation is crucial to whether your claim will be accepted and is best drafted by lawyers.  Even if your claim is ‘out of time’ in the traditional sense, I therefore recommend that you consult a lawyer.

If you have been injured in a motor accident, I strongly recommend that you contact me or one of my colleagues at Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 as soon as possible for a free initial consultation, advice about your circumstances, and assistance with completing and lodging your claim form.  Alternatively please make an online enquiry.

Written by Brett Watts.

Brett Watts is a solicitor in Tom Goudkamp and Ruth Hudson’s Practice Group at Stacks Goudkamp.  Brett previously worked at the Claims Assessment and Resolution Service and has a particular interest and expertise in motor vehicle accident compensation.  In August 2014, Brett presented a paper to the New South Wales State Legal Conference which addressed the issue of ‘late claims’ in motor accident cases.