Frequently asked questions by people injured in an accident.
If injured in a motor vehicle accident you should:
- Call Police and/or Ambulance.
- Obtain the name, address of the driver of the other vehicle/s involved.
- Exchange your name and address.
- Record the make, model and registration number of the other vehicle involved.
- If you believe you are at fault, DO NOT ADMIT LIABILITY.
- If safe and practicable, take photographs of the respective positions of the vehicles on the roadway, any skid marks and areas of damage to any vehicle involved.
- Note any discussions between you and the other driver/s or any passenger or independent witness.
- Submit a claim to the CTP insurer.
- Seek legal advice.
If injured in a slip, trip or fall:
- Note the date, time and precise location of the accident scene.
- If possible, draw a diagram of the layout of the premises or area where the accident occurred.
- Note the positions of any CCTV cameras.
- Report the incident to the person in charge of the premises e.g. manager. Provide your name, address and an accurate general description of the incident.
- Record the name and the position of the person who you reported the incident to.
- Do not sign anything.
- Note the presence of any skid marks or other visual cues at the point of the incident.
- Note the presence of any foreign liquid or other substances on the floor that caused the incident, including dimensions, colour and description ofthe substance or foreign object.
- As soon as possible after the incident, write down a detailed accident description and what was said by any representatives of the premises from thetime of the incident to the time you left the premises.
- Seek legal advice.
If an injury occurs at work, there is a statutory workers compensation scheme in South Australia, whereby provisions are made for payments of weeklyloss of income, medical treatment expenses and potentially lump sum compensation amounts. There are various legislative limits and restrictionsin the types and amounts of benefits payable. Our expert compensation lawyer can advise you of these.
The first thing to do is to make sure the incident and injury is reported in the incident book.
You should seek immediate medical attention and seek a WorkCover medical certificate from your Doctor, if unfit for work. The WorkCover medical certificateand WorkCover claim form should then be lodged with your employer. The employer will then either pass it on to its WorkCover Claims Agent, or if self-insured,will handle the claim internally.
I recommend that you keep a copy of any documents given to your employer or Claims Agent from time to time.
Certain limitations apply, although these limitations don’t apply if the injury occurred in the workplace but was due to the negligence of someone other than the employer. An example of this would be if you are employed by a labour hire company (your actual employer) and are allocated to a business (host employer), but then have an injury as a result of the negligence of the host employer. In these circumstances, you are permitted to take action against the host employer and as the claim is not against your actual employer, the above limitations do not apply.
Yes, even if you think it is only a minor injury, it is always prudent to seek medical assistance.
Not only is it important for your well-being to be checked out by medical practitioners, seeing a doctor will enable an independent record to existwhich is likely to record the description of the circumstances as advised by you, your symptoms and complaints and the results of any examinationor treatment advice.
This is important as there are likely to be medical opinions obtained by the insurer or your solicitor down the track and in many cases the failureto report symptoms to a medical practitioner shortly after the incident, has resulted in a dispute as to what injuries were sustained in the incident.
Contemporaneous attendance and reporting of injuries and symptoms to a medical practitioner reduces this risk.
Your doctor can provide the best treatment advice only if all information is provided, so it is important to accurately and fully describe all yoursymptoms. This will also assist with any expert medical opinions required down the track as to diagnosis of the injuries attributed to the incident.
The reason for this is that liability is frequently denied in such cases. The existence of CCTV footage (if available), may assist in assessing liabilitybut it is not exhaustive.
Any admissions or discussions from employees may shed light as to the circumstances upon which the substance or object was on the floor or remained onthe floor. Observations of substances or objects and drawing diagrams are also useful in assessing liability.
Photographs are important because no one can assume that liability will be accepted by the insurer. In cases of road accidents, positions of vehicles on roadways, their damage and details and positions of skid marks or other markings can - in the case of dispute on liability assist in determining the movements of the vehicles prior to impact and therefore matters of liability.
It is my recommendation that you should not speak to an investigator without first receiving advice from your expert compensation lawyer.
You may say things which are either misinterpreted or make an innocent mistake, in which case such inaccuracy is likely to be used against you by theinsurance company and may therefore disadvantage your claim.
There are a number of categories of damages that may be available, depending on legislative limitations. The broad categories of damages are non-economicloss (pain and suffering), economic loss (past and future loss of income), loss of superannuation benefits, gratuitous assistance, future care andmedical and like expenses (past and future).
In most situations and excluding workplace injuries, a claim for loss of income is included as part of the claim for damages and therefore a lump sum is paid in settlement of all categories of damages at the one time.
Accordingly, in most cases there are no provisions for periodic payments of loss of wages to be made. If, however there is an income protection policy or separation policy, there may be benefits payable under those policies.
In workplace injuries a claim can be made for payment of loss of wages due to incapacity to work by reason of the work injury. These payments can be made on an ongoing basis, subject to legislative limits.
In cases of workplace injuries, there are special provisions for payment of medical treatment expenses as and from the time of injury.
It is usually prudent for your lawyer to wait until the injuries are stabilised before negotiating a settlement of your matter. The length of timefor injuries to stabilise, vary from person to person with a significant factor being the nature of the injury.
Some injuries stabilise within several months whereas other more catastrophic injuries take many months and sometimes years to stabilise. Whilst everycase is different, in my experience, on average, a matter may resolve within 18 to 24 months of stabilisation.
There are however cases which settle earlier and conversely cases that take longer to settle. Our expert compensation lawyer can provide further detailsof this.