Car Accident Lawyers – Choosing the Right Lawyer.
If you’re thinking about making a CTP claim in NSW, you should consider how car accident lawyers could assist you with your claim. This guide will help you understand when you need a lawyer, how they work and how to choose the best car accident lawyer to suit your needs.
Do you need a lawyer after a car accident?
It’s possible to lodge your own claim form without using a car accident lawyer. However, it’s important to understand that if you leave out important details in your application it can significantly reduce the benefits you will receive. A car accident lawyer can advise you on how to make sure you claim everything you’re entitled to and some will provide free advice over the phone.
There are some “unpaid” disputes where a lawyer isn’t allowed to charge for their time. For “paid disputes”, however, the CTP scheme specifies how much the lawyer can charge, and all legal fees are paid by the insurer, so you won’t have to pay anything. To learn more about your entitlements read our car accident claims guide.
What can a car accident lawyer do for me?
Getting a car accident lawyer to help you with your CTP claim can dramatically increase the benefits you receive, and there are many situations where you can get your lawyer’s fees paid by the insurer.
Here are some ways a car accident lawyer can help you:
- Make sure your injuries have been assessed correctly and you’re receiving your full entitlements.If you’ve been assessed as having minor injuries, your benefits will be cut off after a maximum of six months and you won’t be able to claim lump sum compensation. However, it’s possible that your injuries have worsened over time or weren’t properly assessed in the first place, which would mean you’re missing out on benefits you’re entitled to. A car accident lawyer can help you claim everything you’re entitled to by reviewing your claim and disputing it with the CTP insurer if you’re being under-paid.
- Tell you if you’re entitled to an additional lump sum payment.Many people who lodge an application for personal injury benefits may not know that they’re entitled to make a separate claim for a lump sum payment. A specialist car accident lawyer can assess your situation and tell you if you’re entitled to claim a lump sum.
- Lodge a dispute with the insurer on your behalf.If you disagree with an insurer’s decision on your claim, a car accident lawyer can raise a dispute on your behalf and in most cases the lawyer’s fees are paid by the insurer.
- Make sure your income has been assessed correctly.A car accident lawyer can help you understand if your income support benefits have been calculated correctly by the insurer. For example, if you had a period of no income in the 12 months prior to the accident, and the insurer averaged your income over 12 months, your income support payments would be too low.
How do you choose the best car accident lawyers?
Here are five questions to help you choose the best car accident lawyer for your claim:
- Do you specialise in car accident personal injury claims?Choose a lawyer who only handles NSW car accident claims, and has a good track record of making successful claims and winning disputes under the CTP scheme that was introduced in late 2017.
- What sort of relationship will I have with my lawyer?Your relationship with your car accident lawyer is key to getting a good result in your claim. A good lawyer will take time to get to know you, your family and what your life was like prior to your accident, to form a full picture of how your life has changed. That’s how they make sure they claim everything you’re entitled to and not just focus on the obvious injuries.
- Do you cover all up-front costs?Some car accident lawyers may not fund all of your costs. For example, some may not fund some of the expert reports needed as evidence for your case, travel expenses or court fees. Other car accident lawyers may fund these costs but charge you interest on them. Choose a car accident lawyer who will fund all your costs and not charge you any interest on them.
- If I don’t win, will I have to pay any costs?If you’re entering into a costs agreement with a lawyer, make sure they provide you with a ‘no win no fee’ agreement that specifically says you won’t have to pay any legal fees, costs or disbursements if they don’t win. Some car accident lawyers will still charge you for costs and disbursements if they lose, and that can be expensive.
- Can you explain your cost estimate?All car accident lawyers will provide you with a costs estimate, but keep in mind the final cost could vary from the initial estimate. Make sure you fully understand the estimate and how the final costs might vary. The following paragraphs provide some insights into how costs are regulated for CTP claims in NSW.
How much do car accident lawyers charge?
For NSW CTP claims, lawyers’ fees are regulated. Here’s an overview of what a car accident lawyer in Sydney and NSW can charge:
If you’re disputing the insurer’s decision over your benefits, it’s important to understand there are two types of disputes – paid disputes and unpaid disputes.
- A paid dispute is a dispute that a car accident lawyer can charge for, and the fees are fixed.
- Your lawyer will earn generally $1,600 for each paid dispute to a maximum of $6,000 for each dispute category.
- You won’t have to pay anything to have a lawyer assist you with a paid dispute – these fees are paid by the insurer.
- If a lawyer helps you with an unpaid dispute, they must do it free of charge.
For some disputes you’ll need a medical report to provide supporting evidence – for example, if you’re disputing the definition of your injury as “minor”.
- The cost of the medical report will be covered by the insurer up to a set amount.
- For most reports the insurer will reimburse you up to $1,600.
- If you don’t have a lawyer, you’ll be required to pay for these medical reports up front and then you’ll be reimbursed after the DRS (Dispute Resolution Service) determination.
- If you do have a lawyer, most good law firms will arrange the report and cover these expenses for you.
Lump sum claims
If you’re applying for a lump sum, there’s a schedule of fixed fees a lawyer can be paid to assist you for claims up to $75,000.
- These fees are paid by the insurer.
- If your settlement amount is greater than $75,000, then the lawyer can charge an amount set by them, with your agreement.
- This agreement is known as a “costs agreement”, and only applies to the amount they charge for your claim over the $75,000 threshold.
- The fixed fees still apply to the work they do for the first $75,000 of your claim, and are still paid by the insurer.
Where can I find the best car accident lawyers in Sydney and NSW?
Law Partners Personal Injury Lawyers is Australia’s largest specialist personal injury compensation law firm, with a number of specialist car accident lawyers. They have 15 offices across Sydney and NSW.