Getting into a motor accident is nobody’s ideal way to start the morning, but if that happens, you should know what your car insurance is covering you for. All Australian states and territories provide compensation schemes. However, the schemes differ, often dramatically, between states in terms of the benefits provided and who has access to these benefits.
Each state has different rules, particularly around compensating the person who caused the accident. As you will see, some states are stricter in letting their population access the benefits, whilst others make it a little easier.
Victoria, Tasmania and Northern Territory
Victoria’s policies on compensation, outlined under Transport Accident Act 1986, cover anyone who has been involved in a motor accident within Victorian jurisdiction or in a vehicle registered to Victoria. You can claim compensation for accidents involving car and motorcycle, as well as public transport, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
If you are injured, you can claim for:
- Hospital expenses
- Rehabilitation and disability services
- Travel and household support services
- Income support
- Home services (E.g. cleaning and gardening)
- Lump sum compensation (Impairment benefits and common law damages)
If you sustain the loss of a person as the result of an accident, you can even claim for:
- Funeral expenses that include burial/cremation expenses
- Dependency benefits, if you were dependent on the deceased person
Medical excess for Victoria is $635, however the medical excess does not apply to you if you were admitted to the hospital as an inpatient. Otherwise, it is obvious why Victoria tops the list for having best compensation scheme for victims of an accident.
Tasmania’s policies operate on a similar level to Victoria, involving a ‘no-fault’ scheme. Meaning even if you caused the accident, you can claim compensation.
It covers similar benefits, however, the income loss is covered more generously than Victoria.
NT’s policies also operate on a similar level to Victoria, involving a ‘no-fault’ scheme. However, your benefits may be reduced depending on some circumstances, e.g. if you were affected by alcohol.
You will have access to similar benefits as that of Victoria.
SA’s scheme is complex and requires specialist knowledge in this area of law. Compensation must be reported within 6 months of the accident, unlike Vic that offers a wider time frame. Also, under recent changes in the law, the threshold to be able to claim for an injury has increased significantly.
If deemed at fault:
- Persons who are deemed to be entirely at fault cannot claim CTP (Compulsory Third Party Insurance)
- Persons deemed more than 25% at fault are required to pay the excess, if someone lodges an inquiry claim against the crash.
- You can claim dependency benefits if the deceased was not ‘at-fault’ in the accident.
Those that are not at fault can claim expenses for:
- Medical and treatment expenses
- Non-economic loss, including pain and suffering and disfigurement
- Loss of earning capacity (past and future) excluding the first week’s loss
- Loss of dependency
New South Wales
NSW basically has an at-fault CTP scheme. However, the NSW Lifetime Care and Support scheme provides care and rehabilitation to all people ‘catastrophically injured’ in a motor accident on a no-fault basis.
All injured people in NSW, including drivers, are entitled to up to $5000 in compensation on a no-fault basis. Drivers deemed at-fault are not compensated for their injuries beyond $5000. Victim’s damages may be reduced for contributory negligence. In ‘blameless accidents’ (when the accident was nobody’s fault) victims have access to damages from third party insurance funds.
Injured persons, who were not at fault, can claim:
- Medical expenses and loss of income
- Non-economic loss; but only if the assessed injury exceeds 10% whole person impairment
- Assistance needs (subject to provisions)
Western Australia and Queensland
WA and Queensland are at the bottom of the list. In these states, people who are gravely injured in accidents and are deemed to be wholly or even partly at fault cannot pursue compensation.
People who were not at-fault can claim compensation for past and future income. However, you will not receive regular weekly payments. Also, you can claim economic loss at the conclusion of your claim.
If you were not at fault, you can still claim compensation for past and future medical treatment, attendant care, domestic assistance and rehabilitation expenses.