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Good News For Victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents

The compensation payment sum for victims of motor vehicle accidents has increased from $40, 000 to $75, 000. This was announced yesterday by the Accident Compensation Commission Fiji chairman Ariff
22 Dec 2017 13:34
Good News For Victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents
From left: Land and Transport Authority board member Ashok Patel, Accident Compensation Commission Fiji Board deputy chair and Insurance Council chair Sarah Jane Wild, Attorney-General’s Office senior solicitor Bhavna Narayan, Accident Compensation Commission Fiji chairman Ariff Ali and Fiji Medical Association president Ifereimi Waqainabete on December 21, 2017. Photo: Reserve Bank of Fiji

The compensation payment sum for victims of motor vehicle accidents has increased from $40, 000 to $75, 000.

This was announced yesterday by the Accident Compensation Commission Fiji chairman Ariff Ali.

The Accident Compensation Act 2017 will come into effect on January 1, 2018.

In addition to the announcement, the new ‘No Fault Compensation’ scheme will apply to motor vehicle accidents in Fiji.

With the Accident Compensation Act 2017 coming into effect, the Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) Act 1948 and Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) Regulations 1949 have been repealed.

From January 2, 2018, the Land Transport Authority will collect the relevant Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) levies as gazetted under the Accident Compensation (Levies) Regulations 2017 (table is also available on the Fiji Sun Online on Facebook).

As a result of the implementation of the new Act, the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance cover expires on or after January 1, 2018.

This means that all motor vehicle owners will be required to pay the relevant MVA levy to any LTA Office and provide a copy of the vehicles 2017 CTP insurance policy.

What does the new system mean?

According to the Act, the accident compensation will be paid for any personal injury or death suffered by any person as a result of an accident.

The compensation will be paid by the commission for any personal injuries or death by an amount under the no fault compensation scheme or by judgment.

However, the compensation will only cover accidents that occur from January 1, 2018.

Mr Ali said accidents that occurred before this date will follow the old system.

The deadline for applications for compensation is three years from the date of the accident.

No fault compensation scheme

The no fault compensation scheme applies for compensation for any personal injury or death as a result of an accident.

Under this scheme, the commission will make a payment in respect of personal injury or death suffered by a person as a result of an accident in Fiji.

This will be done without the need for any person to establish fault or negligence on any person for the accident.

However, it must be provided that the total amount to be paid as compensation does not exceed the maximum or fixed amount as prescribed in the regulation.

Payment of compensation

As stated in the Accident Compensation Regulation 2017, the commission may make a lump sum payment under the no fault compensation scheme.

The payment must not exceed:

In the case of permanent partial incapacity- $75 000;

In the case of permanent total incapacity- $150 000; and

In cases other than the above, $75 000.

A maximum amount of $75 000 must not also be exceeded in respect to a death.

Mr Ali said if victims were still not happy with the compensation amount, then they could seek the court’s discretion for a more suitable compensation.

Under the current legislation, if a bus is involved in an accident, the total compensation to be paid for a busload of 40 is $40 000.

Therefore each passenger will receive $1 000 each, which most victims feel is unfair and unreasonable.

New Levies

With the new levies in place, LTA has been given the responsibility to collect the levies which will be used as revenue to fund the compensations that will be distributed.

Previously, levies were paid to the respective insurance companies, but this will be stopped.

Medical Challenges

Fiji Medical Association president Ifereimi Waqainabete said it was a challenges for medical practitioners to quickly go through the process to give compensation to those who have disability.

“At the moment, we struggled, in the medical profession’s point of view, because of the bureaucracy of how the system is managed at the moment,” he said.

Usually the disruption of the process is because of the change of doctors along the way.

Improvement in the court process

Attorney-General’s office senior solicitor Bhavna Narayan said she was happy with the implementation of the Act because it has a noble intention behind it.

Victims of accidents often lay in their beds waiting to receive their compensation for several years.

This is because of the lengthy legal process.

“Personally I have seen matters dragged in court with adjournments after adjournments,” Ms Narayan said.

“Even when matters reach the hearing stage and witnesses have been heard with evidence given, it takes the court several years to deliver its judgement.

“In the meantime the person suffering in bed is left partially incapable.

“In other cases, the family members of the deceased, as a result of the accident, suffer because that person is the sole breadwinner or somehow is very significant to the family apart from being a family member.”

Through the new system in place, the wait for compensation for incurring a substantial loss will be avoided for the benefit of the general public, she added.

However, this depends on the issue at hand.

LTA’s new role

Land Transport Authority board member Ashok Patel said 22 officers have been employed and trained to deal specifically with the Accident Compensation Act.

Set up of the ACCF office

Mr Ali said the office will be located in Valelevu, near the LTA office.

Meanwhile the commission’s website will be launched next month.

Feedback:  monica.aguilar@fijisun.com.fj



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