On 26 May 2016, the Queensland Parliament passed
legislation enabling the partial rollout of the National Injury
Insurance Scheme (NIIS). It represents the first tangible stage of
the State Government's commitment to the NIIS.
What are the parameters of the Queensland scheme?
The scheme, in its present form, provides no-fault, lifetime
coverage for the necessary and reasonable cost of treatment, care
and support for those who sustain serious personal injury in motor
vehicle accidents in this State.
The scheme applies to serious personal injuries sustained on or
after 1 July 2016, including spinal cord injuries (principally
paraplegia and quadriplegia), traumatic brain injuries, multiple
limb amputations, severe burns and permanent traumatic
While the scheme is broad, it does have limitations:
It does not cover all motor vehicle accidents. The vehicle must
be a prescribed vehicle (generally one for which a CTP insurance
policy is in place). In some cases, the accident must occur on a
road or in a public place.
There are some exclusions in relation to the costs of
treatment, care and support, including where it is provided without
charge or by an unregistered provider.
Benefits end when eligibility criteria are no longer met.
Benefits end if an injured person has been awarded damages (or
enters a binding settlement) in relation to the person's
treatment, care and support needs as a result of the injury.
An injured person is not entitled to benefits if, before the
motor vehicle accident, the person suffered from another injury and
the new injury does not permanently increase the extent of any
disability experienced by the person before the motor vehicle
Retention of common law rights
The scheme allows eligible participants to receive benefits
while retaining the ability to access damages through existing
Compulsory Third Party (CTP) in appropriate cases.
Before the introduction of the scheme, only those who could
prove fault were entitled to claim damages, including treatment,
care and support needs, for their serious injuries. However, at
fault drivers will now be able to access the scheme where
eligibility criteria are met.
At fault drivers continue to hold no common law right to access
damages, but can opt into the new scheme.
Interplay between CTP and NIIS
The NIIS and CTP will operate as a hybrid model, allowing those
who are not eligible to claim for treatment, care and support under
CTP to do so under the NIIS.
However, for those seriously injured motorists that can prove
fault, the NIIS provides an alternative avenue for the provision of
lifelong care and equipment. The injured person can elect to
receive their treatment, care and support through the NIIS scheme
over their lifetime, or to 'opt out' and pursue treatment,
care and support as a lump sum in their damages claim under CTP.
Should they elect to enter the NIIS, they lose the right to claim
treatment, care and support in their damages claim under CTP.
Those without catastrophic injuries who can show fault remain
eligible to receive reasonable rehabilitation under the existing
Motor Accident Insurance Act provisions.
The scheme will be funded by an annual levy payable per vehicle.
The levy will commence on 1 October 2016 to allow CTP insurers, the
National Injury Insurance Agency and the Department of Transport
and Main Roads to make the necessary arrangements before it is
Under the funding arrangements, the National Injury Insurance
Agency, Queensland will (in some cases) contribute towards the CTP
insurer's liability to pay damages for treatment, care and
The Government also plans to undertake a review of CTP in time
for the 2017-2018 premiums to be set.
At this stage, the NIIS Act only applies to serious personal
injuries arising from motor accidents. However, a working group has
already been established with a view to broadening it to cover
workplace accidents, medical accidents and public liability
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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