Motor accidents disputes – 2017 scheme

Disputes are assigned to the most appropriate dispute resolution pathway.

Damages settlements approval

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Lodgement Approval process


Applications to resolve a dispute through the claims disputes pathway, and responses to those applications, must be lodged with the Commission.

When to lodge an application for damages settlement approval

If a claimant is not represented by an Australian legal practitioner, a claim for damages cannot be settled unless the proposed settlement is approved by the Commission.

If a claimant and insurer have agreed to a proposed damages settlement, and the claimant is not represented by an Australian legal practitioner, the insurer is to make an application to the Commission on behalf of both the claimant and the insurer seeking a damages settlement approval, which the insurer is to lodge as quickly as is practicable, and preferably within seven days of reaching that proposed agreement.

How to lodge an application

Applications to resolve a medical dispute should be lodged via the Commission’s online portal.

An application for a settlement approval must include details of:

  • the amount of the proposed damages settlement, including a breakdown of the amount allowed for each head of damage and how each amount allowed has been calculated
  • the amount of any reductions in the proposed damages settlement, including for contributory negligence or any other reduction, and including brief reasons for that reduction and how any reductions have been calculated
  • the amount of any advance payments the insurer has made in advance of the settlement and the dates of those advance payments, including brief reasons explaining why those advanced payments were made
  • the evidence, documents and materials relevant to an assessment of the damages settlement.

Approval process

The settlement approval will be considered and determined by a Member.

Settlement approval process

The settlement approval will be considered and determined by a Member.

The settlement approval process may include undertaking the assessment on the documents and information included in the application and reply or via teleconference, videoconference or face-to-face meeting, as appropriate. The member may determine the settlement approval procedure, is not bound by the rules of evidence, and may enquire into any matter relevant to the issues in dispute in such manner as they think fit.

The Member may not approve the settlement of the claim unless satisfied that it complies with any applicable requirements of the Motor Accidents Insurance Act 2017 (the Act).

In particular, the proposed settlement must also comply with the following requirements:

  • appropriateness – the proposed settlement should be just, fair and reasonable and must be within the range of likely potential damages assessments if the claim were to be assessed by a member
  • understanding – the claimant should understand the nature and effect of the proposed settlement and be willing to accept it.

The Member may decide to:

  • reject the proposed settlement as submitted in the application, with or without recommendations to the parties about the further conduct of the claim
  • approve the proposed settlement as submitted in the application, or
  • approve an amended proposed settlement agreed by the parties during the course of the consideration of the proposed settlement approval.

Settlement approval decision

The Member is to issue the parties with a certificate as to the determination of the settlement approval application, attaching a brief statement of reasons for the determination. The settlement approval application will be determined as soon as practicable by the issuing of the Member’s certificate.

What is the status of the settlement approval decision?

A settlement approval decision is effectively binding on the parties.