Need for legal advice
You do not need to have a lawyer acting for you; you can deal directly with the insurer about your claim. However, if your claim is complex or disputed, it may be in your best interests to seek legal advice. You may choose to seek legal advice at any stage of the claims process.
Before engaging a lawyer, you should discuss how much you may be charged and whether you can claim some of your legal costs from the insurer.
Generally, to claim some of your legal costs from the insurer as part of your claim, the amount paid on your claim must exceed a certain threshold. These thresholds are updated each July and are outlined in section 55F of the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 and section 27 of the Motor Accident Insurance Regulation 2018.
As an example, the thresholds for crashes that occurred between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019 are $45,430 (lower limit) and $75,750 (upper limit). If the amount paid by the insurer for your claim:
- falls below the lower threshold (i.e. $45,430), you will not be entitled to recover any costs from the insurer
- falls between the lower and upper thresholds (i.e between $45,430 and $75,750), you may be entitled to recover some legal costs from the insurer. These costs are set out in the legislation (up to a maximum of $3,800 for accidents occurring between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019)
- exceeds the upper threshold (i.e. $75,750), you may be entitled to recover standard basis costs from the insurer, about which your lawyer can advise.
Your ability to recover some of your legal costs from the insurer is also subject to other factors including the acceptance or rejection of offers made during the claim. For more information about legal costs or choosing a lawyer that’s right for you, please contact the Queensland Law Society.
Claimant Certificate and other requirements
Every person who makes a CTP insurance claim is now required to complete a Claimant Certificate as part of lodging a Notice of Accident Claim Form.
The Claimant Certificate (PDF, 510 KB) requires you to state:
- that you are making the claim on your own initiative
- whether you were contacted by another person who pressured or induced you into making a CTP insurance claim
- if you are legally represented, whether you are aware of the law practice that represents you paying a fee (or giving a gift or other benefit) to another person for your claim referral to that law practice.
You have the right to engage a lawyer of your own choosing. Alternatively, you can decide to deal directly with the insurer about your claim. It is not acceptable for someone to pressure you or harass you into bringing a claim.
If you would like a referral to a new lawyer in your area or an accredited specialist, you should contact the Queensland Law Society who can assist. Any concerns about the conduct of legal practitioners should be directed to the Legal Services Commission.
If you have a lawyer, they will also need to complete a Law Practice Certificate (PDF, 512 KB) at various stages of the claim certifying they have complied with the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 and have not engaged in claim farming to obtain your instructions on the claim. ‘Car crash scamming’ or ‘claim farming’ is now prohibited in Queensland’s CTP insurance scheme. Read on to learn more.
Car crash scamming
It’s now illegal in Queensland for lawyers to pay fees to car crash scammers.
An estimated 1.5 million Queenslanders have been contacted by a car crash scammer. Car crash scammers contact unsuspecting people via phone; email; or social media and then pressure them (or their family members) to make a CTP insurance claim. These calls may originate from overseas or local call centres. Often, the call is disguised in such a way that it appears to be coming from a local or legitimate number, to increase the likelihood of the call being answered. These scammers sometimes even pretend that they represent MAIC, an insurance company or another government organisation. They trick people into sharing their personal information, which they sell onto law firms for a profit. Car crash scammers have been known to use aggressive tactics and target vulnerable Queenslanders. Severe penalties for car crash scamming have been introduced, including fines as high as $40,035.
Consumer information on legal services
The Legal Services Commission publishes a variety of consumer guides and fact sheets to help users of legal services be better informed; including a guide to ‘no win, no fee’ costs agreements. Visit the Legal Services Commission website.