The Insurance Commission of Western Australia (“the ICWA”) processes thousands of claims from motorists every year, paying reimbursements of medical expenses and compensation to those injured in motor vehicle accidents due to negligent driving by an at-fault driver of WA registered vehicles. On average, over 30,000 crashes are reported to the ICWA every single year, resulting in more than 11,000 claims. Some car accident injury claims are relatively straightforward, whilst others may require the assistance of a legal professional.
Submit Your Claim Through the Car Accident Compensation Claim Portal
The first step in making a claim is to report the motor vehicle accident and injury online. The ICWA have streamlined this process to be more efficient by creating an online portal that serves as a one-stop reporting location. Once you have submitted a report through this online crash reporting facility, all information you have provided will be made available to the ICWA and the WA Police Force, so you won’t need to make two separate reports.
Treatment Number Issued by ICWA
Where the car accident injury is minor, the Insurance Commission of WA will be able to process your claim reasonably efficiently. After reporting online, you will be issued with a treatment number that is unique to your claim. This code is given to your medical practitioner to reconcile the treatment immediately using their HICAPS machine. Where your minor injuries were caused by the negligence or fault of another driver, the ICWA can pay the cost of minor injury treatment and the loss of income in the case that you’re unable to work for a small number of days.
Completion of Forms Issued by ICWA
In the event that the injuries sustained are of a serious nature requiring continuing treatment, the ICWA will issue a series of forms to be completed and returned before they can assess and make a decision about your motor vehicle accident injury claim and advise of the outcome. Once accepted, you will be able to have treatment costs reimbursed, as well as receive compensation for loss of earnings if you were not able to work due to your injuries. This type of claim has the potential to become more complex and it may be necessary for you to engage a lawyer to assist with your claim, especially if there is any chance of dispute by the Insurance Commission.
What Compensation Will ICWA Pay?
There are many things that the Insurance Commission of WA will be able to pay for if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Medical treatment, rehabilitation and loss of earnings are the main categories of reimbursement, but there are many sub-categories that apply. Services such as ambulance costs, X-rays, medication, dental procedures may all be eligible to be covered in your claim.
When Should you Instruct a Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You?
There are some circumstances which mandate the engagement of a personal injury lawyer, such as where a child or disabled person is involved and where court approval of a settlement is needed. Engaging a car accident lawyer to assist you with your car accident compensation claim is typically recommended where your road accident injuries may not be covered by the motor vehicle injury insurance policy. The legal practitioner will be able to advise further possibilities of litigation that might be available to you, such as workers compensation, a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) claim or any applications that may be made via your superannuation fund. Engaging a personal injury lawyer to act on your behalf when making any type of claim for a car accident ensures that your rights are advocated for fairly and adequately. Not only does it minimise the chances of the provision of misinformation via errors in filling out claim forms which may result in the ICWA bringing a dispute, engaging a personal injury lawyer guarantees the best possible outcome for your case.
What if You Have Suffered a Catastrophic Injury?
The ICWA processes many claims every year for persons who sustain catastrophic injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Injuries that fall under the umbrella of ‘catastrophic’ are traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injury, amputation as a result of a car accident injury, severe burns and permanent blindness. Where any such injury occurs, regardless of whether they are at fault or not, the catastrophically injured person will likely be eligible to participate in the Catastrophic Injuries Support Scheme (“CISS”). This scheme operates to relieve the financial pressure of a catastrophic injury by providing for the injured person’s lifetime care and support. Without the CISS, hundreds of Western Australians every year would be left with insurmountable medical bills. Making a claim to participate in the CISS is far more complex than any other claim made to the ICWA and as such, legal representation and/or advice is highly recommended.
Who Can Make a Claim for Car Accident Injury Compensation?
Whilst any driver involved in a car crash is obligated by law to report the accident, anyone who has been injured as a result of the car crash (and who was not at fault or only partly at fault) can make a claim. This includes drivers and passengers in any vehicle involved, as well as pedestrians, motorcycle side-car passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. Where the injury is catastrophic, all types of claimants will be eligible to apply to participate in the CISS.
What is a Dependency Claim?
There is also a separate category called a ‘dependency claim’, which applies if a close relative is fatally or catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident and you are financially dependent on them. A close relative, for the purposes of a dependency claim, is a biological or adopted child, parent, grandparent, step-parent, sibling, grandchild or a spouse or de facto partner with whom you have lived for two years before the car crash occurs. Again, this type of claim is incredibly compound and will require the engagement of a lawyer. Dependency claims enable the claimant to be provided with reimbursement for funeral expenses as well as any financial benefit or service that was ordinarily provided by the deceased.
What to do if Your Car Injury Compensation Claim is Disputed?
There are many instances where your motor vehicle accident injury claim may be able to be disputed by ICWA, such as where you were partly responsible, not wearing a seatbelt or under the influence of alcohol, among other circumstances. In order to maximise your claim, legal advice is paramount. If your claim is anything but straightforward and you’re anticipating some complexities may arise within your claim, the best thing to do is to contact a lawyer who specialises in dealing with the Insurance Commission of Western Australia.
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