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WEEKEND
WRITE-UP

WEEKEND WRITE-UP

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If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to lodge a claim with the insurer immediately

The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (NSW) which became effective on 1 December 2017 introduced significant changes to the scheme available to persons who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident for the purpose of claiming compensation.  Regrettably the changes brought about by the legislation have further reduced the levels of compensation that were otherwise available to injured motorists.  Regrettably we are not availed of actual figures from the various insurers and/or the Government as to how the scheme is progressing with respect to premiums received and payment of compensation made but there is anecdotal evidence available to confirm that the insurers have received billions and billions of dollars in greenslip premiums and have only paid out a minor fraction of that sum to injured persons by way of compensation.  Many of you would know that greenslip premiums have not reduced significantly yet the level of compensation and cover provided by the greenslip has.  The one common denominator that seems to drive all reforms by this Government in the area of motor accident or workers compensation claims has been to reduce the level of benefits for the injured and to enhance the profitability of insurers.

The Current Scheme

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident regardless of whose fault it was, you are entitled to make a claim as against a CTP insurer.  For the first 6 months following the accident you are entitled to payment of all reasonable and necessary medical treatment as well as reimbursement (in part) of any wage loss suffered during this period.  It is imperative however that for full benefits to be recovered the claim form is lodged as soon as possible following the accident and within 28 days at the latest. 

If you are not at fault for the accident and have suffered more than just a “minor injury” there may be additional benefits available.  For example, if the injury sustained results in a whole person impairment in excess of 10%, you are entitled to recover damages for non-economic loss (pain and suffering).

You would also be entitled to recover the actual loss of wages suffered as opposed to the statutory benefits paid for the first 6 months.  There may also be a claim for future economic loss.

What is a minor injury?

The “minor injury” threshold represents the most radical change introduced by the Government in this legislation to the previous scheme.  The legislation provides for a very complicated and complex definition of minor injury.  Deliberate I would suggest so as to create uncertainty on the part of claimants when deciding to pursue their claim or otherwise.  The “minor injury” threshold applies to both physical and psychological injuries.  It has proven to be a bar to the prosecution of the overwhelming majority of claims on behalf of motor accident victims.

It is the insurers who are driving the enforcement of the “minor injury” threshold.  The insurer makes the initial determination as to whether a claimant has suffered a minor injury or otherwise and if so, will cease payment of any benefits beyond the initial 6-month period.  This then leaves the injured person in the invidious position of having to prosecute the claim further by way of review.  There is of course time and expense involved in same.

Summary 

The introduction of the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (NSW) does not represent the highwater mark of legislative reform in NSW.  In fact, it is an embarrassment and represents the zenith of a Government’s contempt for the rights of injured persons. 

Regrettably, at least for the time being, this is the only scheme that we have to recover any semblance of compensation for persons injured in a motor vehicle accident.  If you have been so injured then you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible following the accident given the strict time limits that in place, again designed to limit the entitlements of the injured. 

Most importantly, please stay safe on our roads.

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NEED LEGAL ADVICE? YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

PERSONAL INJURY

 

ANONYMOUS QUESTION:
I was involved in a car accident where someone changed lanes and hit me. I was in the left lane and deemed not at fault. I have no insurance but the other at fault driver does. I contacted his insurance company and they said he needs to lodge the insurance claim himself. I contacted him and he refused to lodge a claim. What do I do in this case to ensure damage to my vehicle is compensated for by the at fault party?

BRYDENS LAWYERS ANSWER:
What you have raised is unfortunately a difficulty that is encountered quite regularly. That is, if the party at fault does not make a claim on their insurance then the claims process itself is not activated and the insurer will not respond to a claim as against its insured. It is of course open to you to try and encourage the other party to make a claim on their insurer. If they fail or refuse to do so then there would be no reason why you should not commence formal court proceedings to recover the damages to which you are entitled. Such proceedings would no doubt focus the attention of the other party who would be motivated to contact their insurer. Brydens Lawyers are available to assist and should you require legal representation please click here to contact us to speak with one of our experts.

FAMILY LAW

 

ANONYMOUS QUESTION:
My partner and I have separated and we wish to resolve our financial issues. We purchased a house and land package together although our relationship broke down soon after. We have separated now and the house is near completion. Do we need to go to court? I want to make sure I receive what I am entitled to, I am worried it is getting messy and unfair.

BRYDENS LAWYERS ANSWER:
The majority of property settlements occur outside the court system. It is indeed the preferable course. It is a much cheaper and quicker alternative to commencing proceedings in court. If the parties are able to resolve their differences and reach a resolution then the agreement can be formalised and lodged with the Family Court for appropriate orders to be made. No court attendance is required. An alternative is for the parties to enter into a binding financial agreement which does not need to be lodged with the court. There are however a number of specific legal requirements pertaining to a binding financial agreement which must be fully complied with in order to ensure that the agreement is valid.

SUPERANNUATION & TPD

 

ANONYMOUS QUESTION:
I used to work for a government agency from 1986 until November 1994. Due to a car accident on the way to work, I was injured and unable to work after this. I have been living on a disability pension ever since. Recently I have found out that I might be able to seek a lump sum payout and a pension from superannuation fund. Is this possible and can you assist with it?

BRYDENS LAWYERS ANSWER:
We assume that the insurer deemed you to be at fault in the accident and that no motor vehicle accident claim was made. It is correct that there may be rights available to you to claim lump sum benefits pursuant to your superannuation policy which would ordinarily contain provision for a total and permanent disablement claim. Given that you have been unable to work you would, ordinarily, qualify for payment of benefits in this regard. Brydens Lawyers has a specialised Superannuation and TPD Division which can assist. We would invite you to contact us to arrange an appointment with one of our expert lawyers.

COMMERCIAL LAW

 

ANONYMOUS QUESTION:
I want to understand my current obligations under my commercial lease agreement that is contingent on DA being approved. My DA is not yet approved but I have been told the council today that they are thinking of providing me with a deferred commencement date which means the DA is not operational until the conditions are met. The financial implications are too much for me to meet the condition and I would prefer not to continue with the both the DA and the lease but don’t want to lose my deposit. What are my rights?

BRYDENS LAWYERS ANSWER:
Of course, any arrangements or contract including the Commercial Lease to which you refer, can be altered, amended or terminated by agreement between the parties. It would be recommended that discussions be undertaken with the lessor to determine whether or not they would be agreeable to a Surrender of Lease and if so, on what terms. Otherwise it will be the terms of the Commercial Lease that will determine the rights and obligations of the parties. If, as you say, the Commercial Lease is contingent on a DA being approved then until such time as the DA is approved the Commercial Lease is not in force or has effect. Brydens Lawyers has a specialised commercial division which is available to assist. We would invite you to contact Brydens Lawyers to speak with one of our experts should you wish to engage expert legal advice and representation.

PROPERTY LAW

 

ANONYMOUS QUESTION:
We bought an investment property in QLD through a financial group in Sydney. They misrepresented the property, providing us with paperwork that states it was a brand new build. Upon settlement we found out that the property was in fact 5 years old. We want to claim compensation for loss of depreciation, extra strata costs, misrepresentation and mental anguish. Are we within our rights to do this?

BRYDENS LAWYERS ANSWER:
When buying any property the guiding principle for purchases is “buyer beware”. That is, as the purchaser you bear the onus of investigating and establishing exactly what it is that is being bought before Contracts are exchanged.
That being the case consideration may have to be given as to whether there is an available cause of action as against your solicitor or licensed conveyancer who acted on your behalf in whom was entrusted the obligation to ensure that what was being purchased was that which was being represented to you. Your legal representatives have an obligation to ensure that the contract and all the details of the property that are being purchased are explained to you fully and that you understand same.
Before advising further it would be necessary for us to undertake a complete review of your conveyancing file. The Contract and Disclosure Documents would establish the basis of the agreement that existed as between you and the vendor. Any other representations about the property, whether made verbally or in marketing material, generally cannot be relied upon unless they form part of the Contract. Therefore, your only recourse may be against those who were representing you on the purchase.
To consider the matter we would invite you to contact Brydens Lawyers on 1800 848 848 to speak with one of our experts.

WORKERS COMPENSATION

 

ANONYMOUS QUESTION:
I am a pharmacist in a small country NSW town. I had recently banned a woman with a drug problem from entry to the pharmacy. Last month, she attacked me, tore through the shop – destroying property and stock and stole medication. The police initially charged her on 7 counts but the courts dropped it to 2 and she was out on bail right away. I am in the process of putting in place an AVO against her and her partner. I have also required medical attention and time off work as a result of the injuries sustained during her attack. Can I sue her for compensation in addition to the criminal charges she is facing?

BRYDENS LAWYERS ANSWER:
Given that the injuries sustained by you occurred during the course of your employment, (and assuming that you are an employee), you are entitled to make a claim on your employer’s workers compensation insurer. The benefits to which you are entitled include weekly benefits of compensation (wages) for periods of absence as well as reimbursement of all reasonable and necessary medical treatment expenses.
In some cases, you would be also entitled to claim lump sum compensation commensurate with the degree of permanent impairment that results from the injuries. In addition to same, you would have a common law action in assault available as against the perpetrator. Of course, any compensation that you receive from the workers compensation insurer would have to be reimbursed to that insurer from any damages that you recover from the perpetrator. There is a prohibition on “double dipping”. However, what would be of more concern, is whether there would be any prospects of recovering any judgment monies from the perpetrator. That is, although the claim may be successful and you are awarded damages for the injuries which you have sustained a question then arises as to whether the perpetrator has any capacity to pay those judgment monies. One other alternative is to make a claim through the Victims Compensation Tribunal for the injuries which you have sustained. Again however it is not open to you to retain both benefits under the workers compensation scheme and compensation from the Victims Compensation Tribunal.

EMPLOYMENT DISPUTES

 

ANONYMOUS QUESTION:
My wife is pregnant and our baby is due later this year. My employer is saying I am not entitled for parental leave because I muts be employed for 12 months to be eligible. I will be employed for 11 months and 16 days when our baby is due. What are my rights in this situation?

BRYDENS LAWYERS ANSWER:
Section 67 of the Fair Work Act provides than an employee is not entitled to parental leave unless the employee has, or will have, completed at least 12 months of continuous service with the employer immediately before the date that the leave is taken. Leave can be taken within 12 months after the birth of the child. If:
a) The employee has a spouse or de facto partner who is not an employee; and
b) The spouse or de facto partner has a responsibility for the care of the child for the period between the date of the birth of the child and the start date of the leave.
Therefore, you will need to continue working until you have completed 12 months of continuous service for your employer before being entitled to take parental leave.

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Brydens Lawyers were the only people to stand by me offering support and encouragement to get me through my injury. I have been a client since 2016, and the service has been amazing throughout both of my cases. Without Brydens Lawyers I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the results that were achieved. I can’t thank them enough.

Sue from Carlingford, a client of our Common Law division

From start to finish, Brydens Lawyers made the conveyancing process so easy! I couldn’t be happier with the service provided- I would definitely recommend them to anyone in need of legal assistance.

Alex Twal of the Wests Tigers

Brydens Lawyers were the only people to stand by me offering support and encouragement to get me through my injury. I have been a client since 2016, and the service has been amazing throughout both of my cases. Without Brydens Lawyers I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the results that were achieved. I can’t thank them enough.

Sue from Sydney, a client of our Workers Compensation division

I couldn’t be happier with the Family law team at Bryden Lawyers. I dealt with Natalie and Amanda who were both professional and knowledgeable in my case which ran for 2 years. Overall, I was impressed with the way they guided me in that time, and I felt I could make accurate decisions clearly on their advice. This helped achieve a good outcome to the case and in the end, I considered the cost to be very reasonable for the amount of time that was spent on the matter

Brenden, a client of our Family Law division

Losing a parent at any time is a sad and stressful time for a family. Our dealings with Natalie made things that bit easier. Natalie’s professionalism and patience made things seamless and that bit easier after Mum’s sudden passing. My siblings and I would recommend Brydens Lawyers

Paul Sironen of the NRL

In January I lost my license for 6 months due to a medical condition. I got in contact with Avinash Singh from Brydens Lawyers, straight away Avinash put me at ease. Within a week my license was renewed, and I was able to drive again. I was so impressed with the dealings I had with Avinash and Brydens Lawyers, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again or recommend them to my family of friends.

Andrew Johns of the NRL

Unbelievable, I’m very happy with my TPD result. Honestly Lee and the team at Brydens Lawyers treat you like family. All my family and friends have had miracle results with Brydens.

Fred from Sydney

Omar Khan of Brydens Lawyers resolved everything quickly and looked out for my interests every step of the way. I’m very satisfied with how things played out and will definitely be contacting them if I need help again.

Paul M, a client of our Commercial division

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