How long does it take to resolve a motor accident claim?

Quick answer

Generally speaking, most motor accident claims take between 12 – 18 months to resolve. The exact length of your case will depend on several factors, including how complex your injuries are, whether or not they’ve stabilised, your medical expenses and your future ‘losses’.

In depth answer

After a motor accident injury, you need financial help fast. You may be struggling with bills from doctors, hospitals and physios on top of your usual expenses. If the injury affects your work, you may also have no income or be earning less than usual. A motor accident claim can provide much-needed financial relief at this difficult time.

While the average claim takes 12 – 18 months, every case is unique. The exact length of your claim depends on many factors, in particular:

  1. The complexity of your injuries.
  2. Whether or not your injuries have stabilised.
  3. Your medical expenses.
  4. Your future ‘losses’.

Below, we run through each of these in more detail.

The complexity of your injuries

As part of your claim, each of your injuries will need to be assessed by a medical practitioner with relevant expertise. The more complex your injuries, the longer this process can take.  Importantly, you should wait until your injuries have ‘stabilised’ to have them assessed.

Whether or not your injuries have stabilised

We strongly advise waiting until your injuries have ‘stabilised’ before beginning your motor accident claim. This means your injuries have reached maximum medical improvement and your condition is unlikely to change with time or further treatment.

While we understand that delaying your claim can cause financial difficulties, accepting an offer before your injuries stabilise often means getting less compensation than you deserve. There are 2 main reasons for this:

  • Your injuries may worsen over time: Road accident victims are only entitled to make one claim, so once you’ve accepted an offer, you can’t file a new claim — even if your condition significantly deteriorates and you need additional medical care.
  • Your injuries may develop over time: Some injuries do not appear straight after the accident. In fact, many do not manifest for months afterwards. Waiting to file a claim allows any underlying conditions to appear, and ensures that you receive compensation for all your injuries.

Your medical expenses

Your injuries may require medical treatment, including doctors’ visits, hospital stays and rehab sessions. If your injuries are minor, adding up your medical expenses can be a simple task. However, this process becomes more complicated if your injuries are severe.

On top of your current medical expenses, severe injuries mean you can claim future medical expenses and treatment costs. To estimate these costs, the court will look at your injuries and determine what treatment and medication you may need in the future. While this process can be lengthy, it’s an essential part of ensuring you receive the full compensation you deserve.

Your future losses

 If your injuries are severe, your compensation includes more than just lost income and medical expenses: you can claim for future ‘losses’. This includes economic losses like income and super, as well as non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

When determining your compensation, the court takes many factors into account. This includes your previous salary, current earning capacity, and the negative effect of the injuries on your life. Calculating these losses is a complex process and can increase the time your claim takes to resolve. However, it’s a crucial step in ensuring you receive proper compensation for your injuries.

Temporary income support

While you wait for your claim to be approved, you may be off work and struggling to make ends meet.

We suggest first accessing any employment benefits you have, such as:

  1. Sick leave (as this is not paid out if you cease work).
  2. Annual leave.
  3. Long service leave.

It’s also important to explore whether you’re eligible for any income protection or unemployment benefits. If you’re unsure what benefits you’re entitled to, speak to a lawyer today. Our team are experts at identifying all your entitlements and will make sure you receive your payments as soon as possible.

Income protection

You may be entitled to an income protection benefit through your superannuation policy. An income protection claim provides temporary relief while you’re injured and off work. You could receive monthly payments covering up to 75% of your regular income.

Government unemployment benefits

You may be eligible for certain government unemployment benefits such as the Disability Support Pension or JobSeeker. 

Why is my claim taking longer than expected?

Unfortunately, there are many reasons your claim may take longer than expected. This includes:

  • Backlog of insurer cases: Some insurers have a significant case backlog meaning they may not assess your claim straightaway.
  • Delay tactics: In our experience, insurers can use delay tactics to discourage people from pursuing their claims or pressure them into accepting less compensation than they deserve.
  • Difficulty determining liability: If it’s unclear who is responsible for the accident or there are multiple responsible parties, determining liability can delay the claims process.
  • Denied claim: If the insurer denies your claim, you’ll need to request a review of the decision. This can substantially increase the time your claim takes to resolve. Since the review process is complicated and potentially lengthy, it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer if your claim has been denied. 

To sum up

Motor accident claims can affect much more than your physical and mental well-being — they can severely impact your finances too. That’s why our focus is getting your claim resolved faster, so you receive your compensation sooner.

In our experience, insurers are often unfair to unrepresented claimants: delaying their claims and even denying valid cases on unreasonable grounds. But with our expert lawyers by your side, you can avoid delays at every stage of your claim. When you’re with Monaco, we will:

  • Provide fast medical assessments: With our national network of medical experts, we’ll ensure your injuries are assessed as quickly as possible.
  • Avoid insurer delay tactics: As specialists in our field, we deal with insurers every day — so not only do we understand their tactics, we know how to get around them.
  • Keep your insurer accountable: If your insurer continues to delay your claim, we will appeal to the relevant tribunal or court. This pressure ensures they adhere to all time limits and process your claim fast.

Speak to us today for free legal advice tailored to your situation. Find out what you’re entitled to, how much you could receive, and the best way to minimise delays with your claim.

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