We often hear about car accidents in the news when someone dies, but not as much about the lifelong impacts a crash can have on a person that survives.
The Motor Accident Insurance Commission estimates an average of three people “sustain catastrophic injuries” in Queensland road crashes every week, including:
- Brain or spinal injuries
- Limb amputations
- Severe burns
For some people it leads to months, even years, of recovery. For others it means a lifetime of pain and prescription drugs.
It’s why the Queensland Parliament passed legislation in May to introduce the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).
“This new scheme will protect all people who are catastrophically injured in an accident in Queensland,” according to Treasurer Curtis Pitt.
How will the scheme work?
From July 1, it won’t matter if motorists are at fault or not, the NIIS will provide “lifetime care” to someone who suffers a serious injury by allowing them to recover the costs of treatment and support services.
Under the existing system about 50 per cent of people who are critically injured are able to claim insurance.
“Compulsory third-party insurance (CTP) only covers people who can prove fault against a driver, leaving the other half to rely on the support of family, friends and carers, not for profit groups and the public health system,” Mr Pitt said.
The new NIIS model is backed by RACQ.
“We’ve strongly supported the introduction of the NIIS and the serious personal injury no fault protection it brings to all motorists,” spokesman Paul Turner said.
“Many motorists would not realise the current CTP scheme only covers you if you’re not at fault in the crash.
“This has meant around 140 Queenslanders a year have faced a lifetime of expensive care without any insurance support where they have been seriously injured in an at-fault accident.
“Queensland’s adoption of this vital cover is good news for motorists.”
Who will pay for it?
The change is likely to cost taxpayers in the form of a levy that will be charged from October this year. It’s yet to be finalised.
The State Government is predicting it’ll cost drivers around $32 per vehicle annually but that amount will be discussed among multiple transport agencies, including the RACQ, before it’s approved.
“We have concerns about how the scheme will be funded with the Queensland Treasury predicting a figure of $68 a year will be needed in premiums, but … legislation only outlines a figure of $32 a year,” Mr Turner said
“While it’s important costs on motorists are kept as low as possible, it’s equally important Queensland’s CTP and NIIS schemes remain viable and fully funded.”
The Palaszczuk Government is promising to undertake a CTP “scheme review” in time for 2017-18 premium setting to keep costs affordable.