Injured people recover more quickly when they receive early support and benefits.
Delays in payment of expenses, such as lost income, can create significant financial hardship and stress at a time when people need to recover. This can impact on a person’s ability to return to work and lead a normal life again.
The community and stakeholders told us that people injured on the road should have access to support and benefits regardless of who is at fault and that these benefits should be delivered quickly.
Benefits for all injured people, regardless of fault
All injured people, regardless of fault, will be entitled to up to six months of:
- weekly income payments (if time off work is required to recover)
- medical and treatment expenses
- commercial attendant care (for help needed around the home).
These benefits will commence soon after a claim.
This is a major improvement for injured people who were at fault in the accident. Around 7,000 people a year are considered to be at-fault in the accident and currently can only claim a maximum of $5,000 for combined medical expenses and loss of income.
Being at fault can be the result of an unfortunate situation such as a momentary lapse in concentration, being blinded by the sun, or hitting a kangaroo on a country road.
Kerry, a casual hairdresser, was driving home from work. Momentarily distracted by a dog running across the road, she failed to stop at an intersection and was hit side on by an oncoming car. She was therefore at-fault in the accident.
She broke her shoulder and arm and was unable to work for three months.
|Current Green Slip scheme||Proposed Green Slip scheme|
|Income||Kerry is only eligible for up to $5,000 of combined medical and treatment expenses and loss of income.|
At a time when she needs to focus on her recovery, she is worrying about how she will pay her rent, loan repayments and day to day living expenses.
|Kerry will receive weekly income payments (95% - 80% of her pre-injury income) for the 3 months she requires off work.|
|Medical and treatment costs||Kerry’s medical and treatment expenses* will be covered for up to 6 months. This includes her specialist appointments, x-rays and physiotherapy.|
*reasonable and necessary
Benefits after six months
Benefits set by law will continue to be available beyond six months for people who have not caused the accident.
Also, their injury cannot be a minor injury (e.g. soft tissue or minor psychological injury).
The amount of extra time benefits continue for then depends on the extent of injury which is measured by a ‘whole person impairment’ (WPI) assessment and whether the person makes a common law claim.
A person who has been assessed with 10% or less whole person impairment can initially receive up to two years of weekly income benefits, and up to three if they make a common law claim.
Towards the end of two years, if they still require ongoing support for loss of earnings, they can make a common law claim for past and future economic loss.
Their weekly income benefits will then continue for up to a further year (three years in total if required) allowing time for their common law claim to settle.
Once the common law claim has settled there are no further weekly income payments.
Reasonable medical and treatment benefits and commercial attendant care are provided on ongoing basis as needed.
Jake, a plumber, was driving to soccer training when he was involved in a head-on collision after an oncoming vehicle drifted onto his side of the road.
He fractured his pelvis, knee and wrist and suffered some minor nerve damage.
Jake’s recovery was slow and he was unable to return to work for 5 months.
|Current CTP Green Slip scheme||Proposed CTP Green Slip scheme|
|Income support||Jake is eligible for up to $5,000 of combined medical, treatment and loss of income benefits. Unless able to prove financial hardship, he is not eligible for any further up front income payments.|
Unless he has 5 months leave accrued, he will need to dip into his savings or borrow money to pay for his living expenses.
Lost past income is included in the lump sum common law settlement payment. As the average claim takes between 3-5 years to settle, it will be a long time before he is reimbursed.
|Jake will receive weekly income payments for loss of earnings (95% - 80% of pre-injury income) for the 5 months he is off work. |
Payments will commence soon after he makes a claim.
|Medical support||Subject to the other drivers’ insurer accepting liability, Jake’s ongoing medical and treatment expenses are covered until his common law claim is settled. After this, he will have to manage all future medical needs from his lump sum payment.||All of Jake’s medical and treatment* expenses will be covered on an ongoing basis, for life if required.|
|Commercial attendant care||Any paid attendant care would either be covered by the insurer (if they admit liability) or reimbursed as part of his lump sum payment.||Jake may be eligible for commercial attendant care* to help him around the home.|
|Common law claim||Jake would make a common law claim for past lost income, future lost income, and future medical treatment and care.|
He would engage a lawyer to help him with his claim which takes on average between 3 to 5 years to settle.
From his lump sum payment, he will pay his legal costs. He must manage the remaining amount to cover any future loss of earnings and medical needs.
|If Jake’s earning capacity remains impaired, he can make a common law claim for past and future economic loss.|
He can engage a lawyer to help with his claim however the amount the lawyer can charge will be further regulated.
*reasonable and necessary
More serious injuries
People who are more seriously injured, with a whole person impairment of more than 10% are eligible for up to two years of weekly income payments, and up to five years if they lodge a common law claim and are waiting for it to be finalised.
A claim for common law damages can include compensation for:
- past and future economic loss
- non-economic loss (pain and suffering).
The person will continue to receive reasonable medical and treatment benefits and commercial attendant care on an ongoing basis, for life if required.
Note: A levy in the CTP scheme goes towards another scheme called Lifetime Care and Support. This is a no-fault scheme for people catastrophically injured in a road accident. This scheme is not part of this review.
Isobel, a school teacher, was crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing when she was struck by a vehicle who failed to stop.
Her injuries were significant, fracturing her leg and pelvis and causing multiple spine fractures and she was assessed at having 12% whole person impairment.
Additionally, she suffered psychological trauma as a result of the accident and could only manage to return to work on reduced hours after 6 months of recovery time. It was a further 2 years before she returned to work full time.
|Current CTP Green Slip Scheme||Proposed CTP Green Slip scheme|
|Income support||Isobel is eligible for up to $5,000 of combined medical, treatment and loss of income benefits. Unless able to prove financial hardship, she is not eligible for any further up front income payments. |
Unless she has more than 6 months leave accrued, she will need to dip into her savings or borrow money to pay for her living expenses.
Lost past income is included in the lump sum common law settlement payment. As the average claim takes between 3-5 years to settle, it will be a long time before she is reimbursed.
|Isobel will receive weekly income payments for loss of earnings for (95% - 80% of pre-injury income) for the 6 months she requires off work. |
Once she returns on reduced hours, Isobel will continue to receive weekly income payments to supplement her reduced income.
|Medical support||Subject to the other driver’s’ insurer accepting liability, Isobel’s ongoing medical and treatment expenses are covered until her common law claim is settled. |
After this, she will have to manage all future medical needs from her lump sum payment.
|Isobel’s medical and treatment* expenses will be covered for life.|
|Commercial attendant care||Paid attendant care would be covered by the insurer if they accept liability. If not, Isobel will pay for this and be reimbursed as part of her lump sum payment.||Isobel may be eligible for commercial attendant care* to assist with personal care and domestic duties.|
|Common law claim||Isobel can make a common law claim for past lost income, pain and suffering (non-economic loss) and future loss of income, plus future medical and care costs.|
She will need to engage a lawyer to help with her claim, which can take 3-5 years on average to settle.
From her lump sum payment, she will pay her legal costs. The remaining amount must be managed carefully by Isobel to cover any future loss of earnings and medical needs.
|Isobel can make a common law claim for past and future economic loss and pain and suffering (non-economic loss). |
She can engage a lawyer to help with her claim, however the amount the lawyer can charge for services will be further regulated.
*reasonable and necessary
All reasonable funeral costs for someone who dies in a motor vehicle accident will be met by the insurer.