*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in South Australia.
When trying to recover from an injury caused by a motor accident, your ability to earn an income may be significantly impacted.
Depending on whether your injuries have stabilised, or if you still require treatment, it can be some time before your claim resolves. As you recover, you may find yourself feeling stressed about your financial circumstances – not only do your ordinary expenses continue, but you likely now need treatment and medications associated with your injuries.
While you focus on recovering from your physical injuries, there are some steps that you can take to ease the financial burden on you and your family.
Medical Treatment, Home Modifications, Medications, Physiotherapy
The CTP Scheme in SA provides cover for reasonable and necessary treatment, care and support services. If liability has been determined (when the insurer decides who is at fault for the accident) the insurer will pay reasonable medical treatment and rehabilitation costs.
If liability is yet to be determined, you can provide evidence of your need for treatment, and the insurer can consider covering these costs on a without prejudice basis.
Your recovery is critical to the claim, and it is in everyone’s best interest for you to obtain all reasonable and necessary treatment in order to recover. The CTP insurer must encourage early and appropriate treatment for your injuries, and funding of reasonable treatment at those early stages is crucial to your recovery.
Financial Hardship Interim Application
In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for an interim payment from the CTP insurer if you are suffering from financial hardship. To be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate you were not at fault for the accident, that you will be entitled to some compensation, and that the interim payment would not exceed the overall estimated amount of compensation.
The insurer may require:
- medical certificates;
- letters from your employer regarding periods of leave and reduced income;
- financial records, including bank statements
- details of your pre and post motor accident income and expenditure
If your application is accepted, the insurer will make an interim payment to you prior to settlement of your claim. Please note that any interim payment made will be taken into account upon the finalisation of your claim.
You may also want to consider making an application to Centrelink for benefits, however Centrelink applications can be relatively slow to be processed. Further, any monies paid by Centrelink, will be repayable from any settlement funds received in the claim.
Total Permanent Disability
If you are unable to return to work, you should get advice about whether you can claim a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) benefit though your super fund. Depending on your superannuation policy, you may have an entitlement to a lump sum payment, but note that there can be waiting periods, or delays in payments due to processing times for the application.
When to Seek Legal Advice
It is best to get initial advice from a lawyer, no matter what stage your claim is at. You must remember that the insurer is not on your side, and it is important to seek advice so as to not accept less than you deserve. If you have not sought advice, we recommend doing so as soon as possible, as there are time limits to be aware of, including a 3 year time limit to file court proceedings.