Most of us have an awareness of the CTP scheme from paying for our Green Slip. Many of us however wrongly assume that this scheme extends to “car accidents” alone.
Injured persons should be aware of the legal minefield arising from accidents involving vehicles such as a forklift or bobcat. Oftentimes these accidents occur in a work setting and are serious in nature.
In addition to a workers compensation claim, such an accident may give rise to a claim under the Motor Accident Injuries Act against the owner/driver of the vehicle, CTP insurer and the Nominal Defendant, as well as a Civil Liability Act claim.
It is not uncommon for an injured person or their employer to initiate a workers compensation claim, and prior to seeking legal advice, assume they have done everything necessary to protect their rights.
Critically, they may be unaware of the strict timeframes that apply to claims under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017, which include reporting the accident to police within 28 days and the lodgment of an Application for Personal Injury Benefits within 28 days. An Application for Personal Injury Benefits can be lodged up to 3 months post-accident however after 28 days back payments of lost income cannot be claimed. There is a further 3 year limitation period applicable to damages claims under the Motor Accident Injuries Act.
This mistake can prove costly when it comes time to claim lump sum damages for the injury. For example, a workers compensation insurer may argue that they are not liable to pay damages because the accident is properly characterised as a motor accident.
Additionally, damages claims under the Motor Accident Injuries Act can be more valuable because injured persons can also claim non-economic loss (pain and suffering).
Anybody injured involving a vehicle such as a forklift (at work or otherwise) should seek urgent legal advice. A diligent lawyer will make sure all bases are covered at an early stage.