Most people are aware that if they sustain an injury, they may be entitled to compensation because their harm was caused by the negligence of another party.
What most people who have not gone through this process before are unaware of is that making a compensation claim can be a complicated and drawn-out undertaking. The paperwork, the medical appointments, the dealings with insurance companies and government regulators – it can all be quite stressful, time-consuming and energy-sapping, particularly at a time when you are trying to recover from the injury.
For these reasons, proper legal representation by a law firm with specialist knowledge of compensation matters is the most sensible course of action. From arranging necessary medical assessments to negotiating with insurers and meeting time limits, an expert compensation lawyer can significantly smooth the path to a successful claim and keep your blood pressure at a normal level.
How a compensation lawyer can help
In the case of workers’ compensation and compulsory third party (CTP) motor vehicle accident claims, the claimant does not necessarily need a lawyer in order to make a claim. Particularly for relatively minor claims, most people generally receive what they are entitled to under the statutory schemes.
But in any claim, particularly more complex ones, substantial evidence is required in order to support it and the services of an experienced compensation specialist can prove invaluable.
In the case of a motor vehicle or public liability claims, for example, it’s vital that evidence is collected as soon as the accident occurs in order to give your claim the best chance of success. An expert lawyer can advise you on what is required, from photos of the scene to the names of witnesses and copies of any formal accident report.
Afterwards, a good compensation lawyer will collate the additional evidence to support your claim, including medical reports, payslips, and costs incurred in care and rehabilitation.
Another aspect of compensation claims that can be difficult for non-lawyers to understand is that specific legislation now covers such claims in most states and territories of Australia.
Within this legislation are thresholds (often expressed as a percentage or, in Queensland, a numerical value between 0 and 100 known as an Injury Scale Value) on the degree of your impairment from the injury for which you’re making a claim. Working out this figure can determine the amount of compensation you may be entitled to. In some cases you may be able to claim additional entitlements depending on the severity of your injuries as assessed by the law.
Legal professionals with expertise in this area deal with the requirements of the legislation every day and know the most effective way to make a claim under its provisions.
Dealing with insurers
One of the most challenging aspects of making a compensation claim for those who choose to do so without legal representation is dealing with insurance companies. The disparity in finances and resources between an individual and an insurer can often result in the unrepresented claimant feeling intimidated into accepting the first offer the insurer makes to settle the claim.
Insurers may rely on technical aspects of the legislation mentioned above to deny liability in regard to a claim, or offer an amount which does not reflect the impact of the harm you’ve suffered. An insurer may claim you had a pre-existing injury, or contributed to the accident by your conduct, and therefore should be entitled to less than you’re claiming.
In some cases, the insurer’s offer may only cover, or partially cover, your legal costs in making a claim. Again, a lawyer with expertise in compensation can challenge assertions made by an insurance company and negotiate a higher settlement with the insurer based on their knowledge of how the respective legislation works.
Settlement agreements presented by insurance companies may also extinguish the right of the claimant to make any further claim in relation to the harm they have suffered. A compensation specialist can inform you fully of your rights and entitlements before signing any settlement agreement.
Meeting time limits
In any type of compensation claim, the law imposes time limits after which you can either not make a claim or require an exception granted by a court in order to do so. It’s important to act as soon as possible after you suffer a compensable injury.
Your legal representative can ensure your claim meets all the statutory time limits, giving it the best chance to succeed and leaving you to get on with rehab and not worry about the fine detail of the claim.
At Lifestyle Injury Lawyers we are committed to getting you what you deserve. We are specialists in all forms of compensation so begin your claim by chatting to our friendly team today on 07 5627 0321.