There have been a number of small but important amendments to NSW motor accidents legislation.
Relevant provisions of the Motor Accidents and Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2021 commenced on 16 June 2022.
The amendments include:
- The definition of pre-accident weekly earnings in the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 has been amended to include consideration of any increased earnings to which the claimant would have been entitled had the injury not occurred. Circumstances such as a change of job, a planned move from part-time to full-time hours or a previously negotiated pay increase within 12 months before the accident can be taken into account when determining the amount of statutory benefits payable for lost income.
- The calculation of weekly statutory benefits for lost earnings now takes into account any increase in the claimant’s actual post-accident earnings.
- Clarification that anyone injured in a no fault motor vehicle accident, and who has more than a minor injury, is entitled to receive statutory benefits past the 26 week cut-off period. This amendment addresses an anomaly identified by the Supreme Court in AAI Limited v Singh  NSWSC 1300, when the court noted: Notwithstanding that a path through the labyrinth of Pts 3 and 5 of the Motor Accidents Injuries Act has been found for the purposes of resolving this proceeding, it is apparent that these provisions, Pt 5 in particular, require careful and detailed reconsideration. Amendment will be necessary if a spate of litigation generated by the obscurities of these provisions is to be avoided.
The commentary in the By Lawyers Motor Vehicle Accidents – Accidents from 1 December 2017 guide has been updated accordingly. The link to AAI Limited v Singh which was added after that case was decided in 2019 has been removed.