Annually, a number of people in Southern Australia are involved in an accident, through no fault of their own, which impacts on their ability to work and earn money. Negligent behaviour of others can have a huge detrimental effect on an individual so there are a few key things to know about how to set about getting compensation to mitigate these effects.
Understanding the law
On July 1st 2013, the Southern Australian government changed the compensation procedures and laws which affected those wishing to pursue a successful personal injury claim.Following these changes, it was easy to be misled into thinking that perhaps their particular circumstances meant they would not be able to put in a claim. The important point is to get the proper advice from experienced Adelaide legal services who specialise in personal injury claims.Making a claim is a complex process and having someone who can explain the procedure step by step is very important.
Be aware of the timelines
Sometimes the impact of a car accident for example, does not make itself immediately felt but in Southern Australia, there are time limits imposed on common law claims. These are 3 years from the date of the injury but there are specific time constraints on submitting a motor vehicle claim. Getting early advice on car accident claims from professional Adelaide legal services is key in order to pursue a successful claim.
Retaining the relevant documentation
Being involved in a vehicle accident can turn the normal daily process completely upside down. Having the forethought to get details of the other driver (insurance, make of car, name and address etc) is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind and if severely injured, it would not be possible. However, if the police are called to the scene or there are witnesses, this is the information that needs to be retained.
Details and the cost of any immediate and subsequent treatment should be retained, including cost of transport to a medical facility, cost of prescription drugs, any follow up physiotherapy treatment or dental work. Towing costs or garage charges, plus car rental while the family vehicle is off the road, damage to any equipment in the car such as baby strollers that need to be replaced or spectacles that have been broken – all of these expenses need to be logged and detailed. All of this evidence needs to be presented to your legal adviser along details of previous injuries or accidents.
First contact with a personal injury lawyer
A number of firms will offer an initial consultation and it is important to check out their website to see if they charge for this service. Once the decision has been made to retain their services, a retainer agreement is completed. This sets out the injured person’s legal rights and any obligations with regard to the help and advice the lawyer provides. This retainer agreement is imposed by the Law Society of South Australia and it is important to read this through as it also identifies any legal cost incurred by the person submitting the claim.
The next stage is the personal injury lawyer will take a full statement about the injury or injuries and information about the personal history of the claimant. This is where getting the relevant documentation comes in very handy and will save time. The solicitor will establish what compensation is being sought and at this stage, can start to establish where a claim will be successful or not.
Medical assessments will be arranged to determine ability to carry out day to day routines and Adelaide legal services will need authorisation to obtain any relevant medical records from doctors and hospitals. They may also advise appointing a barrister to represent the claimant in court, if required.
Attending at court
Most personal injury claims do not end up in court as an out of court informal settlement is agreed. However, the personal injury lawyer will work first of all to resolve this through mediation. Note that claims won’t be resolved until all injuries are stabilized and future needs such as medical help or incapacity for work can be assessed.
Remember, seek advice as soon as possible if you have an accident that is not your fault and talk to the specialists today.