A catastrophic injury entails a long term significant medical treatment, usually having some permanent impairment on the injured person’s life. Some people who suffer from catastrophic injuries can make a recovery with proper medical attention, but others may suffer from substantial permanent disability, or even it can shorten a person’s life expectancy. If compensation is not received for catastrophic injuries, the physical and financial strains can be devastating.

Life Time Care and Support Scheme

The Life Time Care and Support Scheme (LTCS) was introduced in New South Wales (NSW) to provide no fault treatment and care benefits to people who sustain catastrophic injuries of motor vehicle accidents in NSW.

The Scheme applies to children under the age of 16 years from 1 October 2006 and for adults from 1 October 2007. Anyone catastrophically injured before those dates is not entitled to any benefit under the Scheme.

Applicability of the Scheme

To qualify for the Scheme, the LTSC Authority must be satisfied that there is a catastrophic injury which will involve the following:

  • Spinal cord injury; or
  • Brain injury; or
  • Multiple amputations; or
  • Severe burns; or
  • Permanent blindness in both eyes.

There are 3 ways to become part of the Scheme:

  • One can elect to become a participant in the Scheme;
  • The insurer can nominate the victim for inclusion in the Scheme; or
  • The Motor Accident Authority can direct an insurer to nominate the victim for inclusion in the Scheme.

The Benefits

The LTCS Authority is required to pay all the treatment costs of the members of the Scheme. Benefits include medical, dental, rehabilitation, domestic assistance, aides, prosthesis, education, vocational training and care (including respite and attendant care).

The Scheme also provides benefit to those who have sustained catastrophic injury by their own fault or contributed heavily to the circumstances of their own injuries. Previously such injured persons were unable to claim any compensation at all.

Disputes

All disputes in relation to the Scheme are determined by an assessor appointed by the LTCS Authority. There is no provision for participants to appeal to a Court.

The LTCS Authority will make decisions in relation to the future care and treatment and disputes. If there is a disagreement with the assessment of the Authority, then it must be referred to an assessor for determination. The only right to appeal for an assessor’s decision is before a panel of 3 other assessors all of whom are appointed by the Authority.

Disadvantages of the LTCS Scheme

The disadvantage of the Scheme is that all catastrophically injured persons will have to take part in the Scheme and they need to go to the Authority each time they require an approval for any treatment or care. Further, the future treatment and care costs are paid by the LTCS Authority. Thus, the Scheme takes away the ability from an injured person to personally consult with a doctor about the best treatment available.

Our team of personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience in catastrophic injury claims. If you need any assistance, feel free to contact our experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers.

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