In Western Australia, the Insurance Commission of Western Australia Act 1986 and the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943 provides a compensation system for persons who are injured in motor vehicle accidents 

Initial steps

Immediately after an accident, it is essential to call the police if anyone is hurt, if property is damaged, or if the other driver fails to stop or give their details.  

Next, it is important that any persons who are involved in a serious accident see a doctor, as the extent of their injuries may not be immediately evident. This will also provide a contemporaneous record of any injuries a person has sustained during the accident.  

Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation Claim

All road users in Western Australia are required to take out a compulsory third-party (“CTP”) insurance against liability for the death or personal injury of others arising out of motor vehicle accidents. When road users pay for their vehicle registration, they also pay for compulsory third-party insurance.  

In Western Australia, the Insurance Commission of Western Australia (“ICWA”) is the only insurer that provides compulsory third-party insurance. The ICWA is a statutory corporation and Government Trading Enterprise owned by the Western Australian Government. The ICWA is guided by the Insurance Commission of Western Australia Act 1986 and the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act 1943 

In Western Australia, there is a ‘fault’ scheme which covers several types of accidents, including: 

  • A driver injured in an accident where the other driver/vehicle is at fault; 
  • A passenger injured in an accident with another driver/vehicle; 
  • A passenger injured in a single-vehicle accident; 
  • A pedestrian hit by a vehicle; 
  • A cyclist hit by a vehicle or a cyclist hitting an open vehicle door; 
  • A motorcyclist hit by a vehicle; 
  • A person injured but the driver/vehicle cannot be identified; 
  • Dependants of a person who dies in an accident; and 
  • A person who witnesses one of the above accidents.  

If a person suffers a personal injury as a result of the negligence (whole or part) of the another driver, the injured person can make a claim for compensation.  

Examples of driver negligence include: 

  • Drug and alcohol impairment;  
  • Fatigue;  
  • Speeding;  
  • Distracted driving (manual distraction (such as texting), visual distraction (watching a screen instead of the road), or cognitive distraction (such as talking to someone, even on a hands-free device)); and  
  • Tailgating.  

In regards to damages, an eligible injured person could claim for damages such as:  

  • the cost of medical treatment;  
  • the cost of rehabilitation; 
  • loss of income (past and estimated future); 
  • the cost of care and support services; and  
  • general damages (pain and suffering), however, only if the claim exceeds $22,000. 

Catastrophic Injuries Support Scheme

The Catastrophic Injuries Support scheme provides lifetime treatment, care and support for persons who have been catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident in Western Australia, and who are unable to establish that the accident was caused by the other driver. 

‘Catastrophic injuries’ has been defined to include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, multiple amputations, severe burns, and permanent traumatic blindness. 

Time Limits

In Western Australia, an injured person has three (3) years from the date of injury to commence proceedings in relation to a motor vehicle accident. It is only in exceptional circumstances that this time limitation can be extended.   

Emily Wright and our team are specialist personal injury lawyers who can assist you with your claim on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. If you would like advice in relation to a personal injury claim, please reach out to Emily Wright and Littles Lawyers today. 

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