HOW TO HELP YOURSELF IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT AND MAKING A CLAIM

January 10, 2018

THE INCIDENT

 

Your priority is of course seeking urgent medical care.  The following advice is given if you, or someone for you, can obtain information to help your claim.

 

Motor Accident

·       Obtain details of all vehicles and drivers involved.

·       Take photos of licences, vehicles and any damage.

·       If significant damage (over $2,500 to other vehicles) or clear injury, police must be notified and a formal report made within 24 hours if they do not come to the scene.

·       Seek medical care that day if you are not taken away by QAS.

 

Work Accident

·       It is vital to complete an incident report as soon as possible.

·       If you feel your work conditions may be causing issues over a period of time, again formally report your concerns.

·       You cannot be forced to go to a treating doctor selected by your employer – you can insist on seeing your own doctor.  Your employer can pay for a check doctor assessment, but you should always rely on your own doctor for treatment.

·       When speaking to a doctor make sure you accurately describe the event at work which caused the injury, and ensure it is recorded accurately.  You can ask the doctor to read back the notes taken about your event.

·       If possible take photos of the scene (some employers restrict an employee's right to do this, but it needs to be clear) and write down witness details.

 

Public liability accident

·       Report your incident asap to the occupier / person at fault – eg shopping centre management.

·       Obtain any witness details.

·       Take photographs or videos of accident scene.

 

 

DURING A CLAIM

 

Incident description

·       How you describe the incident to doctors and others will be scrutinised to check for any inconsistencies.  It is important to keep your description concise and consistent.

·       You can check to ensure whoever is recording your version does so accurately.

·       If you cannot remember some detail when asked, say so.  Don’t fill in any gaps with created ones.  It is better to be unsure than to say something that may prove later to be wrong.

 

Treatment

·       You should be proactive to get treatment and follow medical advice.

·       You should ensure you have regular checkups with your GP to monitor, manage and record your recovery.

 

Records

·       Keep treatment receipts – take a photo or scan them to a computer.  Receipts fade or go missing quite easily.

·       If you need time off work because of your injuries, make sure your employer records this and not just as sick leave with no reason given.

·       Keep your tax records up to date.

 

 

MISTAKES COMMONLY MADE BY CLAIMANTS

 

Here’s what not to do!

 

Forgetting medical or accident history

·       Initial claim forms require claimants to detail past important medical conditions, accidents and claims.

·       Check with family or your doctor if you are unsure.  Think carefully before answering this vital question.

·       It is better to declare a past event even if from long ago.

 

Working for cash in hand

·       Just don’t.

 

Being stoic

·       Not seeing your GP regularly, playing down your symptoms or not getting treatment will just mean 1 thing – you will get less compensation than you deserve to.

·       It could also delay you obtaining vital treatment or your recovery.

·       In order for your doctor to properly manage your treatment they need to know how things are with you.  If you feel depressed tell them.  It is too late once a claim settles to then say how badly it has affected you.

 

Going quiet / not co-operating

·       Making a claim means you have to make time for it.

·       We do our best to minimise your involvement, but at times you will be asked to assist us.

·       Not responding to calls or emails will just add cost and delay your claim.

 

Getting advice on the value of your claim from the internet, newspaper story or a friend

·       Every claim is different.  The kindly friend will not know all the facts.

·       A great deal of stress can result from having unrealistic ideas about how much your claim is worth.  It can kill off settlement chances and cause you confusion.

.      You can get your lawyer to arrange an independent opinion about the value of your claim from an experienced barrister. 

 

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Australia

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