Every time you get behind the wheel of your car, you are putting yourself at risk. Even if you are a safe and skilled driver, you cannot account for the actions of others, or prevent unexpected and unavoidable accidents.
In many cases, injuries sustained during a collision on public roads will be covered by some form of insurance – whether it be workers compensation or compulsory third party (CTP) cover.
For tradies in Western Australia, however, your workers compensation insurance will not cover you for injuries sustained during your commute to the worksite. This means that if you are involved in a car accident on your way to a job, you are completely reliant on CTP insurance to cover your medical expenses, financial losses and rehabilitation costs.
However, if the accident is deemed to be 'no-fault', meaning no one driver is to blame, this may affect your ability to claim against the official CTP scheme.
The no-fault insurance gap
Statistics from the state government reveal that around 92 West Australians are seriously injured in vehicle-related accidents each year. Of those, 48 per cent are ineligible to claim damages through the existing CTP insurance scheme.
This is typically because there is no way to prove negligence caused the accident. Common issues that lead to this decision include single-car accidents caused by animals or medical emergencies that injure drivers and passengers.
Unfortunately, this lack of cover can create a huge financial burden on the injured party, as the accidents typically require extensive medical expenses and are likely to affect the ability to work and earn an income.
Disability Services Minister Helen Morton explained that the cost of treating and caring for an individual who has sustained catastrophic injuries is around $4 million over the course of that person's life.
Because of this, the Western Australia government is currently taking comments on proposed changes to the CTP insurance program. If implemented, the no-fault initiative would mean that everyone injured on Western Australian roads would be covered by CTP, regardless of fault.
Getting cover now
Any changes being made to government legislation are likely to take some time to come into effect, if approved at all. Because of this, it is important that locals seek cover for the months or even years that they remain unprotected under the CTP scheme.
Income protection insurance is therefore a vital consideration for tradespeople in Western Australia, as this cover can help reduce the financial burden of an injury sustained outside of work. While workers compensation only protects you against injuries and illnesses directly related to your job, tradesman income protection policies ensure you are covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.