What is Personal Injury Compensation?

Whether you’re a passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, motor cycle rider, public transport passenger, car or truck driver, if you have been hurt in a road or motor vehicle accident because of the actions or negligence of someone else, you may be able to make a personal injury compensation claim.

However, no two car accidents are obviously the same and personal injury law differs between states in Australia, particularly when it comes to Queensland car accident claims.

What Does Personal Injury Compensation Cover?

Road trauma can result in a range of physical and psychological injuries including:

  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal chord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • A brain injury
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Nervous shock or psychological injuries

If you undertake Queensland motor vehicle accident compensation, the amount of compensation you can receive depends on a number of things including:

  • How severe your injuries are
  • How much you have lost and will lose in wages
  • How much care you need
  • How much you have paid out of your own pocket

Personal Injury Compensation Cover can also include a claim for:

  • Pain and suffering – how the injuries have affected you, including the pain, suffering and inconvenience you experience now and in the future.
  • Past economic loss – the loss of wages, salary or business earnings you have suffered as a result of your injuries. The loss of superannuation and interest might also be claimed.
  • Future economic loss – the loss of earnings you are likely to suffer in the future because of your injuries, for example, a reduction in hours, a missed promotional opportunity or having to look for another job.
  • Past and future out-of-pocket expenses – reasonable expenses paid in the past or needing to be paid in the future because of your injuries, including for travel, medication, medical treatment, medical aids or equipment or rehabilitation.
  • Past and future care – which includes any voluntary care you’ve received or need to receive because of your injuries including domestic assistance (cooking, cleaning, house duties), personal assistance (dressing, bathing, washing) or property maintenance (gardening, mowing).

Can I Claim For An Injury Outside of a Car Accident?

You may be also eligible for a road and transport accident claim for a situation outside of a standard vehicle accident scenario. These include:

  • If you are a pedestrian or cyclist injured by a vehicle.
  • If you are a passenger injured on a bus, tram, train or any other public transport.
  • As a road user you were injured when taking evasive action trying to avoid a car accident.
  • You are a family member who has suffered psychological trauma.
  • You are a worker injured in a road or tram, train or bus accident while travelling for work.
  • You are a worker injured on a tractor, backhoe, bulldozer, forklift, industrial crane or agricultural machine. In terms of Queensland personal injury compensation law however, the accident out of which the injury arises must happen on a road.

What Are My Entitlements In Terms of Treatment?

In terms of car accident injury claims in Queensland, your insurance company is obliged to pay for your rehabilitation if they admit fault for your injuries, and they are also obliged to make sure that you have access to reasonable and appropriate rehabilitation services. You will need to organise your own rehabilitation directly with your insurance company and/or rehabilitation provider, and examples of these include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychological counselling
  • Diagnostic services like X-rays, scans and MRI’s
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments

What Can I Claim For In Terms Of Insurance?

When it comes to Queensland accident claims, if you have car insurance you basically have two options. You can recover costs under your own comprehensive car insurance policy, or you can recover costs against the comprehensive car insurance policy of the ‘driver at fault’.

Compensation is generally paid by an insurance company that manages claims and every registered vehicle in Australia has third party insurance, which is called Compulsory Third Party insurance or CTP. However, it’s important to note that CTP only refers to compensation for injuries not damage to property or a vehicle – you must have Comprehensive Insurance to claim for this.

If the ‘driver at fault’ has no comprehensive insurance and no means of paying the damage bill, then you can recover injury costs under your own policy, however future premiums and your ‘no claim bonus’ may be impacted and the excess may be payable.

CTP insurance in Queensland is a ‘fault’ scheme, so you can also claim for injuries even if the accident was partly your own fault. This type of insurance also covers a number of accident types, including if:

  • You are injured in an accident where the other vehicle was at fault.
  • You are injured in an accident with another vehicle.
  • You are injured in a single vehicle accident.
  • You are hit by a vehicle.
  • You are a cyclist who is hit by a vehicle or hitting an opening door of a vehicle.
  • You are a motorcyclist who is hit by a vehicle.
  • You are a driver or passenger is in a single vehicle accident caused by a defect in the vehicle, which caused the vehicle to run out of control.
  • You or your passengers were injured in a situation where a vehicle cannot be identified or is unregistered.

Unfortunately, insurers often won’t automatically offer to pay you the entirety of your compensation entitlements due to injury, which is why services that assist with the claims process are so valuable.