People injured on Canberra’s roads are likely to face a ‘David and Goliath’ battle to receive adequate compensation, now that the new Motor Accident Injuries Act 2019 is in force, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“We are pleased that the new scheme will permit payment of benefits for up to five years to most people injured on Canberra’s roads, but compensation for all should not come at the cost of those who were injured through no fault of their own,” said Ms Amber Wang, ACT President, ALA.
“Under the new scheme we expect that injured people will face significant challenges in ensuring that they continue to receive their benefits from insurers for as long as they need them.
“Concerningly, it is estimated that 90% of innocently injured people will not meet the deceptively high 10% Whole Person Impairment (WPI) threshold required to commence a common law claim.
“Even if they are able to commence a common law claim, the amount of compensation they will recover is likely to be substantially less than under the previous scheme due to the reduction of entitlements.
The ACT Labor government and the ACT Greens passed the contentious new legislation in 2019, despite vocal opposition from the ACT legal community, and the legislation commenced on 1 February 2020.
“Ambiguous and restrictive new rules also mean that injured people may not be able to access professional legal advice in a timely and cost-effective manner.
“We expect that our members will be inundated with calls over the coming months from injured people seeking representation with questions and insurance disputes under the new scheme. After all, when you’ve been injured, dealing with an insurance company is often the last thing that you want to do.
“As Canberra’s previous CTP scheme and the new scheme are privately underwritten, it is difficult to understand why the rights of injured Canberra road users have been stripped away to benefit the large insurance companies.
“Canberrans deserve better than a saving possibly as low as $14 on their future registration, for insurance that may not meet their needs if they are injured. “