Having provided occupational therapy (OT) and IME reports to the personal injury market for over 20 years, Prudence OT (formerly Prudence Consulting) has to stay abreast of legislative changes within each state and territory in Australia.
Here’s what we know about the latest CTP changes in NSW. Let us know if we have it right…
With around 25,000 people injured in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) in NSW each year, it is important that an adequate scheme is in place to ensure that those injured receive necessary support (e.g., medical assistance, income benefits etc). The CTP scheme (which had previously been in place for 15 years) had been argued by some quarters not to have been serving injured road users in the best way it could, presenting an argument indicating that 45 cents was received by the injured person — with the remaining going to scheme costs and provider fees. Furthermore, on average a claim would take on average between three to five years to resolve.
Costs, length of time to settlement in litigated matters and accusation of fraud resulted in a change in the legislation by the NSW government, effective from the 1stof December 2017, which it argued would better support injured persons. The reformed CTP scheme has four broad goals —
- Reduce resolution time of a claim.
- Increase proportion of benefits for those who have been seriously injured
- Reduce cost of Green Slip premiums
- Reduce opportunities for claims fraud and exaggeration.
Under these changes injured persons are able to access support and statutory benefits effectively regardless of who was at fault in the MVA. After submitting a claim, the injured person is entitled to (section 1.6): up to six months of weekly income payments (if time off work is needed), medical and treatment expenses and commercial attendant care (domestic assistance). These benefits often stop at the six months for those at fault and those whom have a minor injury (e.g., soft tissue injury or a minor psychological or psychiatric injury).
Furthermore, if the injured person requires further assistance after this time, a common law claim for damages should be made. Often in these cases to determine the amount of extra time that income benefits continue is dependent upon the degree of injury, measured by a ‘whole person impairment’ (WPI) assessment – which seeks to determine a percentage to determine the level of impairment was caused by the MVA. An injured person with 10% or less WPI can only make a common law claim for damages 20 months after the date of the accident (DOA). In these cases, their weekly income benefits can continue for up to three years (from DOA). Those who are more seriously injured exceeding an WPI of 10% are eligible for up to five years of weekly income payments. A claim for damages under common law can include compensation pertaining to: past and future economic loss and non-economic loss (e.g., pain and suffering).