Owned by the Western Australian Government, the Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA) is a statutory corporation responsible for providing third party personal injury insurance to more than 1.8 million motorists across the state. In 2020 there were nearly 28,000 reported crashes in WA. On average there were about 28 car accidents every day. The job of ICWA is to ensure that people who are injured by the negligent driving of a WA registered vehicle are compensated for their injuries. To ensure that people in WA are looked after if they are injured by a WA registered vehicle, third party personal injury insurance is compulsory. ICWA plays a crucial role in managing that scheme and resolving all motor vehicle accident claims.

ICWA’s overarching goal is to deliver an efficient and equitable insurance service to WA motorists – so if you or a close relative have recently experienced a motor vehicle crash, the ICWA should be your first point of contact to ensure any injuries and ongoing medical expenses are covered.

However, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of before contacting ICWA to lodge your claim. So, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to explain the entire ICWA claims process from end to end, including eligibility requirements, the types of compensation payments you may be eligible to receive, the preliminary details you will need to provide at the time of your claim, and advice about engaging a specialist lawyer (such as Lian Hall Injury Lawyers).

Who is eligible to lodge an ICWA compensation claim?

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident (as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist), you can make a compensation claim with the ICWA. If a close relative on whom you were financially dependent was fatally injured in a motor vehicle crash, you may also be eligible to make a claim. This includes children, wives, parents, siblings and de facto partners. If you are making a dependency claim you will need to prove that you had a right to financial support from the person who died in the accident, and, that that person was in fact supporting you either financially (by regular payments to you) or, by providing regular services to you, such as babysitting, home maintenance, driving, etc. 

The ICWA claims process

If you have suffered an injury from a motor vehicle accident and wish to make a claim with ICWA, the first thing to do is to visit the ICWA website and report the crash and injury online via the Online Crash Report. In terms of timing, the ICWA requires that you report the incident as soon as practicable. Completing a report on the Online Crash Report is an essential step in making your claim for compensation. Go to the Online Crash Report and start the process by clicking on Report a Crash. 

Once you have completed the Online  Crash Report, ICWA will write to you and let you know that it has received your report and that it needs to investigate the accident before making a decision on  your claim. They will contact the other driver to get their side of the story, and it is likely that they will contact you. They will also need to be sure that the other car was registered in WA. You should consider whether you should chat to a lawyer who has experience in handling motor vehicle accident claims and who is happy to chat to you on a no-win no-fee basis. Once the investigation is complete ICWA will let you know whether it accepts liability for your claim or not

If liability is accepted then the amount of compensation you will be able to claim depends on the injuries that you suffered in the crash. ICWA will want you to prove what injuries you suffered in the crash and how those injuries affected things like your work, your need for treatment, any pain and suffering and any out of pocket expenses. Proving your injuries and your losses is your job and your lawyer’s job and a well put together claim is the only way to ensure that all of your losses are accounted for. When it comes to your injuries, we can look at those as minor or serious injuries.

        Minor injuries

If your claim is approved and your injuries are  ‘minor’ and you only require minimal treatment, the ICWA can pay your treatment costs and any proven loss of earnings if you had to take leave from work. To cover these costs, you will be provided with a claim number to give to your doctors and health practitioners. Minor claims are usually processed quickly, but receipts should be sent to the ICWA for reimbursement if your claim is still awaiting approval.  

–        Serious injuries

If your injuries are more serious and you need ongoing treatment, the ICWA will provide you with a Medical Authority form and an Intention to Claim form. After returning these forms, the ICWA will give you a claim number.  You should provide the claim number to your  GP, pharmacy, physio and other treators. Provided the treatment that you are claiming is treatment for your mva injuries, and the treatment is reasonable, ICWA will likely look after those expenses directly with the doctors. If you have any problems with getting your treatment costs paid you should chat to a lawyer who is experienced in car crash claims. 

Who is eligible to lodge an ICWA compensation claim?

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident (as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist), you will be eligible to make a compensation claim with the ICWA. If a close relative whom you were financially dependent on was fatally injured in a motor vehicle crash, you may also be eligible to make a claim. This extends to de facto partners who have been living together for at least two years before a fatal accident occurs.

Types of ICWA compensation payments

The main type of compensation that victims of motor accidents can claim is for medical treatment and for lost wages. Medical treatment includes payment for emergency transport from the crash scene to the hospital (typically reimbursed after a claim has been approved), hospital services, medical aids such as the hire of walking sticks and wheelchairs, and medical services such as X-rays and MRI and CT and ultrasound scans,, medications, GP appointments, physiotherapy, exercise programs, etc. This payment could also extend to covering travel expenses to and from medical appointments and follow-ups.

If you are unable to work due to injuries sustained in the crash, the ICWA can compensate you for your economic loss. This is intended to cover your loss of capacity to earn during your recovery period ie: your lost wages and lost earnings. This could also include any lost overtime allowances or lost annual leave. If you are only fit to work part time hours, you could also be entitled to claim for partial incapacity.

For claims related to serious injuries, the ICWA may pay compensation for pain and suffering. As thresholds apply for this payment type, your injuries will be professionally assessed by an ICWA representative if you wish to claim for this.

What information will I need to make an ICWA claim?

The most important thing you will need to include in your claim is proof that the owner or driver of the other motor vehicle was at fault in some manner and it was their driving that caused the accident. If you were partly at fault, you may still be able to claim but your awarded compensation may be reduced depending on the severity of your error. This includes speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, not looking properly before crossing a road, or not wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, scooter or motorbike.

To give yourself the best chance at having your claim accepted you should try to get the other driver’s details, the registration number of the car that caused the accident, take photographs with your mobile phone at the scene of the accident  to show where on the road the impact took place, the damage to the cars etc, and get the contact details of any witnesses. 

Will I need a lawyer to lodge a motor injury claim with ICWA?

It is always in your interests to chat to a lawyer. In any situation where your  rights are affected, such as when you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault and you want to claim compensation, it is always in your best interests to seek advice from a lawyer. If you decide to seek legal advice, Lian Hall Injury lawyers will be best suited to guide you through the entire ICWA claims process.