Compulsory third party (personal injury) insurance covers drivers of your vehicle from claims for compensation for injuries or deaths arising out of the use of the motor vehicle. It is paid each time you register your vehicle [Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA)].
The aim of the insurance scheme set up by the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) is to ensure that every vehicle being used on the road is insured. Allianz administers the compulsory third party insurance scheme for the Motor Accident Commission. A vehicle registered in another state, while not covered under this Act, is covered by a similar Act in the owner’s home state while being used for a visit to South Australia.
Where a vehicle involved in an accident causing personal injury is unidentified or uninsured, the action is taken directly against the Nominal Defendant. This means that a person injured by, for example, a hit-run vehicle can take action and be compensated for those injuries even if the vehicle has not been identified. A person injured in a collision with a vehicle known to be uninsured or struck by an unidentified vehicle should immediately seek legal advice. To successfully claim damages for personal injury, a person injured by an unidentified vehicle must satisfy the court that reasonable steps have been taken to identify the vehicle. The plaintiff must also establish that the injury was a result of the other driver's negligence.
As of 1 July 2013 significant changes have been made to the Compulsory third party scheme under the Motor Vehicle Accidents (Lifetime Support Scheme) Act 2013. These changes have been in response to limitations with the previous scheme which required evidence of fault for compensation to be payable. Where drivers suffered catastrophic injury but no other car was involved (e.g. collision with a stobie pole) they were unable to claim compensation as no other driver was at fault.
The bulk of the provisions relating to the new Lifetime Support Scheme will come into effect on 1 July 2014. However, as of 1 July 2013 the following changes have been made to the Compulsory third party scheme:
- Children under the age of 16 will qualify for compensation for ongoing medical costs without having to establish another driver was at fault. This applies only to motor accidents that occur in South Australia.
- New rules for assessing injuries (the Injuries Scale Values or ISV) will be used to determine a claimant’s injuries.
- The amount a successful claimant can recover in legal costs has been reduced:
- In cases where the total amount awarded is less than or equal to $25 000, no legal costs will be awarded.
- Where the total amount awarded is between $25 000 and $100 000, legal costs will be capped at the Magistrates Court scale.
- Medical assessments will be conducted under a new Accreditation and Referral Scheme. Either the insurer or the claimant can request an examination and they will be referred to an independent appropriately qualified medical professional. Their report will then be used to calculate the amount of compensation that is appropriate.
Because these changes are not retrospective this means that any claim that occurred on or before 30 June 2013 will be assessed under the previous scheme and rules.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.