Law Society of New South Wales Media Release: Reduced benefits for North Coast motorists under CTP scheme

20 March 2013

Lawyers say that with 2,072 people injured on North Coast roads in just one year, and 671 in Ballina, Byron, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed, cuts to benefits under the new CTP scheme should be of serious concern.

Bill Grace, President of the Far North Coast Regional Law Society said that injured motorists and their families would pay the price as benefits are slashed to maintain insurer profits.

“The Government’s new ‘no fault’ scheme will generate more claims, cost more to administer and pay out less to injured motorists,” Mr Grace said.

“People receiving benefits will sooner or later be abandoned to rely on welfare or family support, with some benefits cutting out after 2.5 years and all ceasing after 5 years if the new workers compensation model is adopted.”

Mr Grace said the knock on effects will be particularly severe for those who had a long working life ahead of them before the accident.

“What we will see is reduced benefits drip-fed by insurance companies with no access to significant lump sum payments which currently give the injured some level of autonomy,” Mr Grace said.

“Only those with the most debilitating injuries, exceeding 10% whole person impairment, will be able to seek significant lump sum damages, and even these will be cut.”

Mr Grace said that residents should be aware that most injuries fail to reach this 10% threshold. Even severe injuries like brain damage and permanent back injury causing constant pain have failed to qualify.

“Motor accident victims with these injuries in our local area cannot afford for benefits to be cut”, he said.

President of the Law Society of NSW, John Dobson said people in rural and regional NSW must not be disadvantaged by changes to the scheme.

“Proximity to medical health providers and access to emergency care and emergency treatment is often more limited in rural and regional areas,” Mr Dobson said.

“Retraining opportunities and education facilities are also less accessible and there are fewer employment and reemployment opportunities than in urban and city areas.

“Any changes to the CTP scheme should not add to the already significant challenges faced by motor accident victims in regional NSW,” he said.

Media Contact: Jacob O’Shaughnessy 02 9926 0288 or 0413 440 699

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