In Queensland, if you are a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme.
This scheme is designed to provide financial assistance to those who have suffered an injury as a result of someone else's negligence on the road. In order for an individual to make a CTP claim in Queensland, you must be able to prove that your injury was caused by another person’s negligence.
If successful, you may be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other associated costs.
If police attended the scene and they were advised of any injuries, then they should open a case and generate a reference (a QP number). Sometimes, this doesn't occur, or injuries are not readily apparent at the time, and you have to formally report the motor vehicle accident to the police yourself at a later date.
If you want to lodge a CTP claim, there must be a QP number.
If a QP number has not been generated, then you can ask that one be generated by:
If you are not confident filling out the form, or if fault for the accident is being contested or argued about by the other person involved, or fault is not "black and white" then please contact our Sunshine Coast office for assistance.
Once you have the QP number, you can then lodge the CTP claim with the CTP insurer.
To do this, you need to:
You will need your doctor to complete a section of the form.
You will also need to print, sign and have the claim form witnessed by a JP or legal practitioner.
If you are not confident filling out and lodging the form, or if fault for the accident is being contested or argued about by the other person involved, or fault is not "black and white" then please contact our Sunshine Coast office for assistance.
Many people recover from their injuries and get back to normal activities without treatment or rehabilitation, while others need rehabilitation such as surgery, physiotherapy or counselling to assist with their recovery.
Rehabilitation aims to return you to how you were before the accident, if this is not possible, then rehabilitation focuses on you obtaining new skills or new ways of doing things.
If the CTP insurer has accepted liability for your CTP claim or agreed to fund rehabilitation without admitting liability, the insurer will pay rehabilitation expenses provided they:
To arrange rehabilitation, you need to:
If you are unsure about this process or the CTP insurer has declined to fund your rehabilitation, then please contact our office for assistance.
If you are left with any impairment from your injuries, it is prudent to get a medicolegal report from a medical specialist (who hasn't treated you) detailing your level of impairment and the consequences of that impairment and the effect it is having on your home life and ability to work or study.
The most important opinion from the medical specialist in a CTP claim medicolegal report is what impact your injuries may have on your future. For example, the medical specialist may think your current occupation is not sustainable long term and you may have to retrain, or you may have to reduce your hours to part time, or you may never work again at all.
Some medical specialists are sympathetic to injured persons and some are not. It is important to get medicolegal reports that truly reflect the impairment and consequences to you, or you are at risk of not being adequately compensated.
Other evidence that is useful when calculating compensation is evidence of prior earnings, prior education or vocational achievements, a report from an Occupational Therapist on functional capacity (strength, endurance and resilience) and proof of any prior sports and hobbies.
Once your injuries are stable and you have medico legal reports from the necessary medical specialists (so the impact and future of your injuries are clear) it is helpful to put together a Schedule of Damages for the CTP insurer.
A Schedule of Damages is an outline of everything you are claiming compensation for and the exact amounts.
All CTP claims for compensation are assessed individually and depends on the type and severity of your injury and your particular circumstances.
This task can be tricky for self-litigants because the information required to draft a Schedule of Damages is contained within numerous pieces of legislation and all of the published case decisions that have previously gone to Court and been decided on by a judge.
If you are unsure of how to calculate your compensation, it is not in your best interests to guess or estimate, and we ask that you please contact our office for assistance if you have got to this stage without legal representation.
It is also important not to accept any offer of compensation from a CTP insurer without first getting legal advice on the adequacy of any offer. From our experience the offers made to self-litigants are very low.
Sometimes the CTP insurers do not agree with the Schedule of Damages and only make low settlement offers.
As with any legal dispute, if the parties are too far apart in settlement negotiations, then the next step is asking for a Court to decide on what compensation should be paid by the CTP insurer.
Up until this point, you have been working through the pre court procedure of a CTP claim.
If a settlement cannot be reached, then this means that you may have to file your CTP claim in Court.
This is very rare but sometimes you must apply a bit more pressure to make a CTP insurer see sense.
As you can see from the step-by-step guide to making a CTP claim, you can be a self-litigant if you choose. Most self-litigants ultimately find it too stressful and get to a point where they cannot get to the next step because it is too complicated to get a medical specialist medicolegal report or calculate their compensation or negotiate the best outcome.
We welcome any self-litigants to contact us who have started the process themselves and cannot go any further or are unsure about what to do next.
Our preference though is to be involved in your CTP claim from the start and to help guide and support you through the whole process. It makes the process a lot less stressful for you, which is important when you are trying to heal and trying to return to normal life and work.
If that is not reason enough, any legal costs you incur for our assistance will likely be covered, or contributed to, by the CTP insurer on finalisation of your CTP claim (see further question below).
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Queensland and you were not responsible, you may have a right to make a CTP claim. This includes drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, bus and other road users.
A CTP claim will provide compensation for any physical or psychological impairment you have suffered, and the consequential financial losses. An impairment can have different consequences for different people.
Compensation generally covers:
The amount of compensation you could be entitled to depends on various factors such as your age, your impairment, how much you have lost in earnings since the accident, how much the impairment is continuing to impact on your ability to earn an income / study / progress in your career, and how much you have paid out of your own pocket for treatment to date.
In most cases, adding up the out-of-pocket expenses and lost earnings isn't enough, and it is important to have a medical specialist report on your level of impairment and comment on the consequences you have suffered since the accident and the consequences you may suffer in the future. This will give the CTP insurer an idea of the bigger picture and that compensation for the all future "what-ifs" are important and should be incorporated into the CTP claim.
The monetary value is calculated between your predicted life path had the accident not happened vs. your life path since the accident. This is not always something we can accurately advise on at the start of your claim. It only becomes apparent after the passage of time (usually around 6-9 months) and when we have all medicolegal reports and other evidence to hand.
As your lawyer, it is our role to claim from the CTP insurer the full extent of this gap between your predicted life path and life path since the accident and advise you on what a good settlement from the CTP insurer might ultimately be.
On average a CTP claim takes between 6-18 months.
As your lawyer, we understand that most clients want their claim finalised as quickly as possible, but it's important to ensure that all injuries have had a chance to stabilise, and you have tested your capacity back at work or study (in your prior employment or intended employment). If you don't get this opportunity, you won't really know the full impact of the consequences of any impairment you have suffered, and if you have prematurely settled your claim before testing your capacity, you don't get the opportunity to go back to the CTP insurer for more compensation. You only get one settlement so it has to incorporate everything.
A CTP claim involving serious injuries do take a little longer as the injuries can sometimes take up to 2 years to resolve.
But generally speaking, most CTP claims can be resolved within 6 to 18 months from when the accident occurred.
Very few CTP claims go to Court.
There are no published statistics, but we would estimate that around 0.1% of CTP claims go to Court.
Therefore, the most likely outcome is that your CTP claim will settle when scheduled settlement negotiations take place.
Once a CTP insurer has acknowledged their insured driver was negligent and admitted liability in writing (which happens soon after we lodge the CTP claim) then they are obliged by law to pay "reasonable and appropriate" medical and rehabilitation expenses.
We will submit an itemised table of any out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred up until that date and this money will be deposited direct to your bank account by the CTP insurer.
Where you need ongoing rehabilitation (for example, from a physiotherapist, chiropractor, psychologist, etc) we will liaise and put pre-approved funding arrangements in place with your treatment providers and make sure that the CTP insurer discharges their obligation to pay for these ongoing expenses to get you back to your pre-injury life and work.
The CTP insurer is obliged by law to contribute to your legal costs at the successful conclusion of your CTP claim.
The amount of any contribution by the CTP insurer will depend upon the amount your claim is ultimately resolved for, but in our experience, it will often cover an amount that represents 70 - 90% of the legal costs you incur with us.
This percentage is often much lower in the bigger firms as their charges are higher and the contribution by the CTP insurer (which is the same regardless of what law firm you go with) doesn't cover much of their bill. This means their bill eats into your valuable compensation.
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