If a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of their own, it is important they seek legal advice as soon as possible.
The Compulsory Third Party (“CTP”) claims process involves a number of steps and having an experienced lawyer provide guidance throughout the process will not only ensure entitlements are protected, but will also take a great deal of the stress out of the process for an injured claimant.
Prior to lodging a claim, it is important to obtain the following information and documentation:
- Registration numbers for all vehicles involved in the accident;
- Report the accident to police and obtain a “QP” reference number;
- Attend on your General Practitioner to obtain a CTP medical certificate.
A solicitor can assist with the above steps and provide advice and assistance where required.
It is important that a CTP medical certificate is completed with as much detail as possibly by the treating GP to ensure all injuries and symptoms are listed. Another important aspect of the CTP medical certificate that needs to be carefully completed is the section recommending medical treatment or rehabilitation such as physiotherapy. It is important all medical and rehabilitation treatment is included in the document to ensure the CTP insurer funds any reasonable and appropriate treatment as early as possible.
The next step is to complete a Notice of Accident Claim form. It is important that this form is completed in full with all questions answered properly. Failure to complete the form in accordance with the legislation can result in a CTP insurer raising a “non-compliance” issue which will cause unnecessary delays to a claim and treatment funding.
The Notice of Accident Claim form must be lodged with the CTP insurer of the at-fault driver within 9 months of the date of accident or 1 month of consulting a solicitor. Failure to do so will require a reasonable excuse for delay to be provided.
If a claim involves an unidentified or uninsured vehicle, the Notice of Accident claim form must be lodged within 9 months of the accident or it is statute barred.
Once a claim is compliant, a CTP insurer is under no obligation to fund treatment until an admission of liability is made. Pursuant to the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994, the CTP insurer has 6 months from compliance to investigate the issue of liability.
However, it is quite often the case that shortly after compliance is achieved, the CTP insurer is agreeable to funding reasonable and appropriate treatment such as physiotherapy and counselling. It can be very helpful for a claimant to have their solicitor go in to bat for them and push for prompt and appropriate treatment at an early stage to provide the best chance of recovery.
After a period of rehabilitation, a claimant will then normally be medically examined anywhere between 6 and 12 months post-accident by independent medico-legal experts. This is to assess the permanency of the injuries and comment on the future impact of such injuries. It is important that a trusted and experienced medico-legal expert is briefed in this regard to investigate the long-term impact of the injuries and ensure the claimant is properly and fairly compensated.
The CTP insurer may also require a claimant to attend a medico-legal assessment and provide a panel of experts for the claimant to choose from.
Once the above steps have been completed, a Statement of Loss and Damage or Schedule detailing the impact of the claimant’s injuries should be prepared and served on the CTP insurer. This document will need to be carefully prepared and should particularise all of the heads of damage available to the injured claimant.
The parties will then agree to a date for a compulsory conference to be convened in which the parties must make a genuine attempt to resolve the claim. Many claims settle at a compulsory conference.
If a claim cannot be resolved at a compulsory conference, the parties must exchange Mandatory Final Offers (“MFOs”), which represent the parties’ best offer to resolve the claim and must remain open for a period of 14 days.
The above steps are known as the pre-court procedures. The purpose of the pre-court procedures is to promote early resolution of claims without the requirement for Court intervention.
If the claim has not resolved after the expiration of the MFO’s, a claimant must commence Court proceedings within 60 days of the failed compulsory conference otherwise their rights and entitlements will be extinguished.
Irrespective of the pre-court procedures, any Court proceedings in relation to personal injury suffered from a motor vehicle accident must be commenced within 3 years of the date of accident.
The CTP claim process can be complex to navigate. It is important for a claimant to be fully informed and well supported throughout the CTP claim process. Having an experienced and understanding solicitor can take a lot of the stress out of the process whilst also maximising the amount to be recovered from a CTP insurer.
This blog was written by Beth De Laurence, Associate
Phone: 07 5593 2122 or Toll Free 1800 316 716
This blog was edited by Sean Ryan, Director
Phone: 07 5593 2122 or Toll Free 1800 316 716