The Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 was enacted to provide guidance for personal injuries involving vehicle accidents. It applies to any injury that was inflicted as a result of driving a motor vehicle, a vehicle operating out of control, collision with a vehicle, a defect in a vehicle, or due to a wrongful act involving a motor vehicle.
- You Must Provide Written Notice to Insurer
If you were injured, you are required to give written notice to the insurer prior to going to court. The notice must be lodged with the insurer within either 9 months of the date of accident or 1 month of first consulting a lawyer, whichever comes first. You can still lodge the claim after this time, but must then provide a reasonable excuse for delay.
For claims involving unknown or uninsured cars, you must lodge the claim with the Nominal Defendant within 9 months of the date of the accident, or you will lose all your legal rights to compensation from the Nominal Defendant.
- The Insurer Must Try to Resolve the Claim First
The insurer has six months from the time they receive your written notice to investigate how and why the accident happened and to advise whether or not they admit liability (fault). They are required to take reasonable steps to determine liability, notify the claimant, and invite the claimant to make a written offer of settlement if one was not already provided. You should seek legal advice before making offers an insurer. There must generally also be proper medical evidence to support the nature and extent of the injuries you have suffered.
Settlement negotiations can be ‘informal’, for example on the phone or by letters between your lawyer and the insurer. Alternatively, it can be by a compulsory conference, which is a round-table negotiation session with the insurer.
- Mandatory Final Offers
If a settlement is not reached at the compulsory conference, both parties are required to supply a mandatory final offer. This must happen even if the insurer denies liability. If the case goes to court, the parties must submit a sealed envelope containing their mandatory final offer.
Anyone injured on the road should understand the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994. Make sure you know your rights and how to proceed with requesting compensation. Contact us today to discuss your personal injury claim.