Under the new Motor Accident Injuries scheme, for accidents that occur on or after 1 February 2020, certain benefits will be payable to people who are injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who was at fault. These are known as defined benefits.
Reasonable and necessary treatment and domestic care
Reasonable and necessary treatment and care will be payable for up to five years. This can include medical treatment (including pharmaceutical and mental health treatment), allied health treatment, rehabilitation, aids and appliances and workplace and transport modification. It can also include reasonable and necessary care services, such as nursing or home maintenance. Care is available for the injured person, and for someone the injured person can no longer look after, like a child. Only care that is paid for (under a commercial arrangement) will be reimbursed.
Income replacement will be available for up to five years for people whose injury requires them to take time off from paid work. For the first three months, 95 per cent of pre-injury earnings will be paid and after that, 80 per cent of pre-injury earnings will be paid.
Higher percentage amounts are payable to people who are on low incomes and a cap applies for higher income earners, which is pre-injury weekly earnings of up to $2,250.
Capacity to work will be assessed on an ongoing basis.
Quality of life benefits
People with injuries that have left them with a permanent impairment may be able to claim a further quality of life benefit. This payment will be based on a sliding scale depending on a whole person impairment (WPI) assessment, up to a maximum $350,000. To claim quality of life defined benefits, the person must be assessed as having at least a 5 per cent WPI.
Using a scale for the quality of life payment means that someone more seriously injured (as reflected by their WPI assessment) will receive a higher payment than someone less seriously injured. The quality of life amount on the scale increases more steeply at higher WPI values.
Where an injured person has both a physical and a primary psychological injury, the insurer can take both reports into consideration when offering a payment for quality of life benefits.
An application for death benefits will be able to be made by (or on behalf of) dependants of a person who has died as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident within two years of the accident date. A dependant may be a spouse or domestic partner (or former spouse or domestic partner), a child of the deceased (including a stepchild or grandchild living with the deceased) or a person with a disability who was wholly or partially dependent on the deceased at time of death.
Death benefits are payable up to $350,000. The amount payable depends on the type and number of dependants. Death benefits are subject to certain exclusions.
An application for funeral benefits can be made by the person who has paid, or has to pay for, the costs of a funeral for a person who has died as a result of injuries from a motor vehicle accident, within two years of that accident. Funeral benefits are subject to certain exclusions.