Sparke Helmore's MAD (Motor Accidents Division) Weekly - Issue 1130 June 2021
The Personal Injury Commission (Commission) commenced on 1 March 2021 and, with it, the publication of the majority of decisions issued by the Commission.
To help you navigate the recent decisions of the Motor Accidents Division (MAD) of the Personal Injury Commission, we are publishing weekly the relevant headnotes of published decisions with a link to the decisions on Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website.
All legislative provisions are from the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 unless otherwise noted.
ABJ v AAI Ltd t/as AAMI  NSWPICMR 17
MOTOR ACCIDENTS—Merit review—dispute as to amount of costs payable following finalisation of minor injury dispute—claimant sought to recover costs—insurer asserted complexity of matters in dispute and did not warrant payment of maximum amount of legal costs. Findings: the claimant’s submissions dealt comprehensively with the medical evidence and issues in dispute—maximum regulated fees awarded ($1,660).
The insurer initially determined that the claimant had sustained minor injuries in the accident. Following an internal review, the insurer affirmed its original decision, and the claimant lodged an application with the Commission for assessment of a minor injury dispute. The insurer subsequently accepted that the claimant’s injuries were non-minor, and the application was withdrawn before any medical assessment took place.
The claimant then attempted to recover costs and disbursements associated with the dispute. The insurer disputed the amount of costs. The insurer also disputed that the disbursements (medical records and a medical report) were payable on the basis those disbursements were not reasonably incurred.
The Commission, having regard to the length and complexity of the claimant’s submissions, which dealt with the very issues in dispute, awarded the claimant’s costs at the maximum regulated fee of $1,660. In terms of the disbursements, the Commission determined that the clinical records were relevant to the determination of the medical matter.
With respect to the medical report, which cost $1,870, the insurer asserted that it did not have regard to that evidence in reaching its decision, and thus was an unnecessary expense. However, the Commission noted this was not a relevant consideration, and permitted the claimant to recover $1,500 for that report.