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What to do when you have whiplash

The most important thing when a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident is to get medical treatment as soon as possible.  Obviously, depending on the seriousness of the accident will determine whether you are transported directly to a hospital or you are able to drive yourself to your own treating doctor.  After exchanging the necessary details with the other driver or drivers, and where appropriate waiting for the Police to attend to obtain particulars and make a police report, it is then important that you obtain treatment from your own doctor.

Your doctor is then is able to provide you with the appropriate treatment plan so that you can ensure that any symptoms caused by the motor vehicle accident are treated.

Once your treatment regime has been put in place, it is important for you to ensure that the accident was reported to the police.  You can do this by simply contacting your local police station where the accident occurred.  It is then recommended you contact Sciacca’s Lawyers so that we can ensure the appropriate paperwork is lodged with the compulsory third party insurer (CTP).  In Queensland there is an insurance scheme that protects people injured in motor vehicle accidents where the persons injured were not the total cause of the motor vehicle accident.  This scheme is known as the compulsory third party (CTP) scheme and is made up by payments from the registration of motor vehicles in Queensland.  This scheme covers you if the motor accident was not totally your fault.  Any passengers in the driver’s vehicle would be covered even if their driver was at fault.

Once you have contacted Sciacca’s Lawyers, we can prepare a Notice of Accident Claim form and lodge it on the at fault, CTP insurer.  A Notice of Claim form should be lodged on the insurer within one (1) month of consulting a solicitor or within nine (9) months after the motor vehicle accident.

If the vehicle is unidentified or the vehicle is unregistered (the registration on the motor vehicle has not been paid at the time of the accident) then stricter rules apply and a Notice of Accident Claim form must be provided within three (3) months after the motor vehicle accident or if it is not given by then it must be given within nine (9) months of the motor vehicle accident otherwise the claim against the Nominal Defendant is Statute barred.  This means that you cannot pursue a claim for damages against the Nominal Defendant if a Notice of Claim form has not been provided within nine (9) months of the accident.

In all other cases you would have three (3) years from the date of the accident to commence a claim in negligence against the CTP insurer.  The benefit of lodging a Notice of Claim form on the CTP insurer earlier rather than later, is that it allows the CTP insurer to be proactive and assist in the cost of any of your reasonable rehabilitation.  It avoids the injured person from being out of pocket for this treatment (physiotherapy, hydrotherapy or even surgery).

It should also be noted that some employers are insured under the Workers’ Compensation & Rehabilitation Act 2003 which covers employees on their way to and from work.  If an accident occurs where you are injured on your way to or from work even if you are at fault, you should lodge a claim with the State based compensation scheme.  If a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident which was not their fault they can also lodge a claim if they were on their way to or from work.  The benefit of going through the State base scheme is that you are not out of pocket at all for your treatment as long as you satisfy the legislation.

Once your injuries stabilise, we are able to obtain medico-legal reports which will be used to quantify your claim.  In due course, negotiations are made with the CTP insurer in an attempt to settle your matter out of court.  Most matters settle out of court and if they don’t we commence an action in the appropriate court.

We encourage anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident to contact our firm so that we can advise you on your rights and your prospects of successfully pursuing a claim.   We always recommend that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can ensure your interests are protected and you do not miss any time limits.  Feel free to contact Sciacca’s Lawyers by phoning us on 1800 658 525 or alternatively on our direct number (07) 3867 8888.