Lifetime Care Scheme Adds Insult to Injury
Almost 10 years ago the NSW Government introduced the Lifetime Care & Support Scheme to the NSW Motor Accident Compensation regime.
The scheme was introduced to provide medical treatment and care to people severely injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
To be eligible for the scheme, the person must have suffered a serious spinal cord injury, an extensive traumatic brain injury, severe burns or blindness, or be an amputee.
Prior to the introduction of the scheme, persons who suffered from these catastrophic injuries were entitled to be paid (as a lump sum) the cost of their treatment and care.
This lump sum payment was calculated by assessing the future medical and care needs of the injured person, and met by the Green Slip insurer of the vehicle at fault.
However, with the introduction of the scheme, an injured person was no longer entitled to receive a lump sum of damages for these future expenses.
Instead, the Lifetime Care & Support Scheme determines what treatment a person requires and the level of care which he or she needs.
To date, many of our clients have found that participation in the scheme means that they lose a significant amount of independence.
Despite the fact that they have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of someone else's negligence, they are not able to determine for themselves the type or amount of treatment or care which they wish to have.
Those needs are now determined by a bureaucratic department.
The principle thrust of the NSW Government's Tort Law Reform Program over the past 13 years has been to enhance personal responsibility. However, this scheme does not provide the catastrophically injured the same opportunity to adopt personal responsibility for their own future.
Rather, injured people now spend a lifetime having to approach the Lifetime Care and Support Authority every time they require treatment or alternative forms of care.
You could say it is adding insult to injury.
If you, your family or friends wish to enquire about a similar circumstance, please email us on our "Ask Us a Question" feature or call (02) 4228 8288 to speak to one of our specialist compensation lawyers.