Motorcycle Accident Injury Claims Guide.
Motorcycle riding continues to grow in popularity in Australia. In fact, there were over 880,000 motorcycles registered in Australia as of January 2020*, including over 250,000 just in NSW. With our open roads and warm weather, motorcycle riding is a great way to experience the Australian outdoors, and many riders also enjoy the social benefits that come from joining one of the country’s many motorcycle clubs.
But unfortunately, accidents do happen, and being injured in a motorcycle accident can be a life-changing experience. If you’ve been injured, read on to learn about what support is available to you and your legal rights when it comes to making motorcycle accident claims.
*According to Statistica.com.
I’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in NSW. What are my rights?
In NSW, whether you’ve been knocked off your bike or injured in an accident that didn’t involve another vehicle, you might be eligible to claim motorcycle accident compensation for your injuries under the NSW CTP scheme.
If you were in an accident with another vehicle, the compulsory third party (CTP) insurer of the vehicle that was mostly at fault in the accident covers your motorcycle accident compensation payments. For example, if you were waiting at a traffic light and a driver hit you from behind causing you injury, the driver’s CTP insurer would be liable for your compensation payments.
After you’ve notified the insurer of the vehicle mostly at fault in your accident, you need to lodge an application for personal injury benefits. You have 28 days after the date of the accident to lodge motorcycle accident claims to get back-payment for any lost wages. The final deadline for lodging your claim is three months from the date of the accident, but if it’s been more than three months you should talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer to find out if there’s a way you can still claim compensation.
What many people fail to realise, however, is that this application doesn’t cover any lump sum payments you might be entitled to – you need to apply for these separately.
|Application Type||Entitlements Covered|
|Application for personal injury benefits||
|Common law damages claim||
For a comprehensive set of articles on how to lodge your motorcycle injury claim, refer to CTP Claim Advice.
What is the average payout for a motorcycle accident compensation claim?
The data for motorcycle accident compensation isn’t reported separately, but according to SIRA (the State Insurance Regulatory Authority), in the 12 months to December 2020, the average motor accident claim payout was $39,839*.
The amount of motorcycle accident compensation that you can claim depends on the circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries. Some cases settle for amounts as high as six or even seven figures. The factors that will influence the final figure you receive include:
- Your age
- Whether you were responsible (fully or partly) for the accident
- The extent of your injuries
- Your level of “whole person impairment” (a scale used to assess your injuries)
- Any financial losses (medical bills, wages, etc.) that you have suffered
- Any care or help you’ve needed at home
*https://www.sira.nsw.gov.au/CTP-open-data – in the 12 months to December 2020, a total of 10,553 CTP claims were submitted in NSW and $420,418,734 was paid out.
Who pays my medical costs if I’m injured in a motorcycle accident?
The CTP insurer of the vehicle that was mostly at fault in your accident will pay your medical costs. The following table summarises the compensation payout process for your medical, treatment and care expenses as well as income support payments:
|CTP Claim||CTP Compensation Payout Process|
|Medical and treatment expenses||
|Income support payments||
What motorcycle injuries can I claim compensation for?
Motorcycle accidents can leave people involved with a range of physical and psychological injuries. These injuries can include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head trauma and brain injury
- Soft tissue damage
- Burns and scarring to the skin
- Psychological trauma such as nervous shock
This isn’t a complete list. No matter what your injury is or how minor you think it might be, you may still be able to claim motorcycle injury compensation.
What can a motorcycle accident lawyer do for me?
Before you make a claim for compensation, it’s a good idea to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer, even if it’s just to get some free advice. In fact, in NSW a lawyer can’t actually charge for helping you submit your claim for personal injury benefits. So it makes sense to explain your situation to a motorcycle accident lawyer and get some advice before you proceed with making your claim.
There are also several situations where having a motorcycle accident lawyer on your side could result in a much better outcome for you, and there are many situations where you can get your lawyer’s fees paid by the insurer.
Here are some ways a motorcycle 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 motorcycle 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 motorcycle 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 motorcycle 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 motorcycle 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.
Who can make motorcycle accident claims?
A common misconception is that only the motorcycle rider can, but this is not true. Whether you’re a motorcycle rider or passenger, a cyclist, pedestrian or bystander, you can make a motorcycle accident claim if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
Examples of people who could have a claim include:
- A rider, driver, or passenger of a motorbike or car
- Parents or legal guardians of children injured in a motorbike accident
- A cyclist injured by a motorbike
- A road user injured when trying to avoid an imminent or ongoing accident
- Single vehicle accidents not involving other road users
- A worker injured on a work motorcycle
How do you get a motorcycle accident lawyer to help you for free?
For CTP claims in NSW, lawyers’ fees are regulated. Lawyers can’t charge to help you lodge your application for personal injury benefits. But if you’re disputing a CTP insurer’s decision, then for most disputes you can engage a lawyer at no cost to you.
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 $1,660 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.