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Motor accidents bulletin - April 2020

Dispute Resolution Service Medical Assessments

In our last bulletin we provided an update on how SIRA's Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is rapidly adapting the way its services operate to protect the wellbeing of injured people, stakeholders and our decision makers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since that time, DRS have been consulting with stakeholders with a view of how to resolve medical disputes, including proceeding with medical examinations under some changed conditions.

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing and DRS will continue to adapt arrangements to align with NSW Government policy, public health advice and legal requirements as required.

Please read the articles below for details on the current approach. Information will also be updated on the SIRA website.

Dispute Resolution Services in person medical appointments will be deferred subject to new procedures to adapt to COVID-19

DRS is adapting to COVID-19 with new approaches to medical disputes procedures consistent with the requirements of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (1999 scheme), the Motor Accidents Injuries Act 2017 (2017 scheme) and relevant guidelines.

New procedures for medical disputes

Medical matters will be considered by DRS in accordance with Guidelines 7.153-7.159 of the 2017 scheme or Guidelines 9.10-9.18 of the Medical Assessment Guidelines (1999 scheme).

DRS will contact the parties involved to undertake a process to identify an appropriate pathway for resolution of the medical dispute on a case-by-case basis. Consideration will be given to the following factors:

  • the urgency of the matter
  • the potential impact of delay on the injured person
  • any COVID-19 wellbeing risks for the injured person or the assessor
  • options for other modes of medical assessment to enable dispute resolution, and
  • the feasibility of safe arrangements for a face to face consultation where required.

DRS will consider an appropriate pathway for the dispute which may include:

  • urgent matters which may proceed in person - this will be only under exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the Executive Director, DRS
  • matters which may proceed to a video conference or teleconference, such as a psychological examination
  • matters which are suitable to be determined on the papers or by any other means in accordance with the relevant legislation and guidelines
  • deferral of any disputes to a pending medical list

Parties may apply to restore a matter from the pending medical list at any time in accordance with these procedures.

DRS apologises for the impact that deferral may have on individuals seeking resolution in their dispute and any disruption or inconvenience to medical assessors.

DRS will be working to contact all parties systematically to confirm how the matters will proceed.

DRS will ask both insurers and legal representatives to identify any injured people with exceptional circumstances who may need special consideration due to the consequences of having their decision delayed.

Please contact DRS on 1800 34 77 88 to raise any of these matters.

Dispute Resolution Service is open during COVID-19

DRS continues to provide essential services and is operating both remotely and with a small team in the Oxford St office.

DRS will continue to accept and manage applications for disputes and will progress all matters as far as possible within the COVID-19 restrictions and approach described above.

DRS is currently expediting its digital capability and asks stakeholders to submit documents by email to drsenquiries@sira.nsw.gov.au to support this endeavour. This will enable a greater number of matters to proceed during this time.

DRS will continue to consider the way assessments and conferences are conducted during COVID-19 and deliver alternatives as soon as reasonably possible.

For general enquiries

Enquiries, help with claims, feedback, complaints or disputes with insurers or others  1300 656 919 or email: ctpassist@sira.nsw.gov.au

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Contact SIRA for support

Our SIRA team is here to support you at this challenging time. You can contact us Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 5 pm.

CTP Assist

Phone: 1300 656 919

Email: ctpassist@sira.nsw.gov.au.

Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)

Phone: 1800 347 788

Email: drsenquiries@sira.nsw.gov.au