If you have been in a motor vehicle accident after 1 December 2017 and sustain injuries that are deemed by the insurer as ‘minor’ injuries, then, unfortunately, what you can claim is very limited.
The insurer has three months to issue a liability decision determining whether they accept liability. This decision is important as it determines what an injured person can claim and whether their entitlements will cease.
A minor physical injury is an injury to the tissue that connects, supports, or surrounds other structures or organs of the body. A non-minor physical injury is an injury that does not meet this criteria.
A minor psychological injury is a psychiatric injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness.
Importantly, if the insurer has determined physical or psychological injuries are minor injuries, there are avenues that can be taken to have this decision overturned.
An application for internal review can be drafted and submitted to the insurer. This application must be lodged with the insurer within 28 days of receiving the liability notice letter and is to be supported by medical evidence. The internal review will be conducted by a person who did not have a role in the original minor injury decision.
There is also the potential for the insurer to continue to pay treatment and care expenses for minor injuries after the 26-week post-accident period. However, eligibility for these benefits is limited and only available in certain circumstances. Some circumstances where the insurer may continue to pay for treatment and care expenses include where it can be determined that: the injuries are related to the subject accident, the treatment and care will improve recovery, if the insurer delayed approval for treatment and care expenses, or if the treatment and care will improve capacity to return to work.
It is very important that people injured in motor vehicle accidents ensure they receive the treatment recommended by their treating medical practitioners.
If you have received a minor injury notice from the insurer, you should seek legal advice to investigate whether this decision can be overturned.
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