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ACT passes revamped CTP laws

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The ACT’s no-fault compulsory third party reforms will begin next February, after the Legislative Assembly passed legislation last week.

The overhaul was developed after a controversial citizen’s jury process that started in 2017. It has been opposed by lawyers, who say the changes mainly benefit insurer profits.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr says about 600 more people each year will be covered by the scheme, compared with current arrangements.

“Everyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident will now be entitled to receive treatment, care and lost income benefits for up to five years, no matter who is at fault,” he says.

“People who are more seriously injured will continue to be able to make a claim for further compensation through common law.”

The ACT Law Society says the scheme discourages the use of legal practitioners by injured people, makes quality of life damages more difficult to obtain and gives insurers “extraordinary control” over the lives of those hurt in accidents.

It says insurers will determine a person’s capacity to work, will decide whether treatment is reasonable or cost-effective, and can require multiple medical and other assessments.

“Few injured people will be in a position to contest the insurer’s decisions,” the society says.

The Government says people with matters in train at the time of the transition will continue to be dealt with under the current scheme.