Personal Injury Claims for Health Professionals

Are you aware of the different types of claims and what they mean? Many doctors and health professionals are unaware about the different types of personal injury claims.  They may be able to treat the medical problems, but often the patient's problems can be better identified and treated if you are aware of the different types of claims.  You can also ensure prompt payment of your accounts and report fees if you are aware of the different types of claims, and follow a few simple steps.

Worker's Compensation Claims

Worker's Compensation is a no fault insurance system whereby if a patient is injured during the course of his employment, including travelling to and from employment, then they will be entitled to compensation.  The compensation they receive is payment of normal wages, payment of all medical expenses attributed to the injury, and in some cases a lump sum payment where the patient has a permanent disability to certain parts of their body.  Doctors will often be requested to provide specific reports for Worker's Compensation payments and it is very important that these reports are correctly drafted.

Motor Accidents Claims

To be eligible for compensation the person must prove that it was the fault of another person.  A passenger is generally entitled to compensation.  A driver, pedestrian or bike rider will only be entitled to compensation if they can show that the accident was somebody else's fault.  There are also strict time limitations which must be complied with when any claim is made on an insurance company.  Doctors should always obtain a claim number and forward the bill direct to the insurance company involved.  Where liability is denied, then the doctor should get paid immediately by the patient or through Medicare.  It will then be up to the patient to claim back those expenses later on.

Victims Compensation Claims

Victims Compensation occurs when a person is injured as a result of an act of violence.  There does not have to be a police prosecution although obviously that is preferable.  The victim may have incurred psychological as well as physical injuries.  Again there are strict limitations on the amount of money that can be received and doctors should ensure that the bills are forwarded direct to the patient rather than to any insurance company.  Victims Compensation is a Government funded system which will not pay doctors for their expenses.  Patients will be reimbursed by the Victims Compensation Tribunal if they can prove their case.

Civil Liability Claims

These include slip and fall cases at supermarkets, on Council property, and occasionally home accidents.  They are now very restricted under the Civil Liabilities Act, which came into effect in March 2002.  Again, we would strongly suggest that doctors should ensure payment at an early date from the relevant insurance company or alternatively from the patient.  Doctors should not be out of pocket whilst they wait for an insurance company or solicitors to settle the claim.

Medical Negligence

These are the rarest types of personal injury claim, possibly because doctors and health professionals make fewer mistakes (!!!).  If a claim is made against you for medical negligence then you should contact the Medical Defence Union immediately and they will run the claim for you.  Under no circumstances should a doctor seek to defend a claim themselves.  However, if you do require some advice then Martin Bullock Lawyers can provide assistance.

Often in personal injury claims, your patient and you will have to liaise with various people, including the insurance company, the Department of Social Security, and Medicare.  Martin Bullock Lawyers can quickly and easily assist you in that regard.  We have specialists who are used to dealing with each of the relevant Government departments as well as the insurance companies.  Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any enquiries.

In all personal injury claims it is essential that you speak to a specialist. The Law Society has an Accredited Specialist scheme which recognises that there are some lawyers who through experience, study and expertise are entitled to call themselves specialist in the personal injury field. Greg Martin of Martin Bullock Lawyers is a Personal Injury Specialist and he can answer all of your questions in relation to any type of personal injury claim. If your patients have enquiries or if you are not sure exactly what to do then please call him for assistance.

What Do I Do If My Patient Has Been In An Accident?

Most doctors will have been consulted by patients who have been injured in an accident.  You may be able to treat the medical problems, but often the Doctor will be asked to write a medical report, or perhaps to appear in Court at a later date for the patient.

It is important that you reduce your stress by following simple procedures when you see a patient who has suffered injury as a result of an accident.  They are:

  • Take a detailed history. Many doctors keep good notes. Some do not. It is important to state what caused the injury. The better the notes, the better your report will be and the better you will assist your patient.
  • Make sure your records are accessible. If you keep a card system, then it must be kept up to date. If you use a computer system, then it must be cross referenced with other attendances on the patient.
  • Be aware of the different types of claims. Worker's Compensation is very different from a Motor Accidents Claim, from a Victim's Compensation Claim, and from a fall in a supermarket. Different reports will be required. Solicitors will ask different questions depending upon the type of claim.
  • Most importantly, have a good relationship with a Personal Injury Specialist. The Law Society has an accredited specialist scheme which recognises that there are some lawyers who through experience study and expertise are entitled to call themselves "Personal Injury Specialists".

Martin Bullock Lawyers can help you if your patient has been injured.  Greg Martin is an accredited Personal Injury Specialist.  We have a team who can answer any of your questions, including how to properly word a report, dealing with an insurance company, and dealing with Centrelink (formerly the Department of Social Security), and the Health Insurance Commission.  If you or your patients have any enquiries, then call Greg Martin of Martin Bullock Lawyers.