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Compensation for at-fault drivers in motor vehicle accidents

22 Feb 2016

Topics

  • Compensation
  • Personal Injury

Until recently, the third party compensation scheme in the ACT provided compensation only where an accident victim (or that person’s family) could demonstrate that the collision was caused by the negligent driving of another person. If the collision was the victim’s fault, or, indeed, if it was nobody’s fault, no compensation was available for injuries, loss and damage.

This changed as a result of the introduction of competition into the ACT market over the past few years. Competition has led to additional benefits being provided in insurance policies in order to attract business.

One additional benefit, which people may not be aware of, is the entitlement to claim compensation for specified injuries and death, even where the accident was not the fault of another person. It is often called “at-fault driver extra cover”. The cover has different titles under different companies’ policies.

We recently had cause to negotiate with NRMA regarding its “CTP At-Fault Driver Policy” in circumstances where the driver of the vehicle that it was insuring was the principal cause of an accident. The driver lost his life as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.

Looking at the insurance policy, at-fault drivers were still entitled to claim a number of benefits, including lump sum payments for burns, fractures, lacerations, hearing, speech, dental injuries, paraplegia, quadriplegia and death. Under the policy, the benefit for the representative of our client was therefore capped at $25,000.00.

Claims are conditional upon a number of mandated steps and exceptions, including:

  1. reporting the accident to the police within 28 days;
  2. lodging a claim within six months;
  3. full and frank disclosure;
  4. blood alcohol over the legal limit and associated offences;
  5. unlicensed driver;
  6. driving a vehicle in an unsafe condition;
  7. the vehicle was unregistered.

There are a number of other conditions that you need to look at closely in order to ascertain eligibility.

This is a new area of compensation with which Canberra residents need to become familiar. All road users should make themselves fully aware of the terms and conditions of their compulsory third party insurance policy.

If we can assist you with a motor vehicle accident claim or any other personal injury issue, contact our team today.