Before you start – tips and preparation.
If you haven’t already done so, we recommend you read our article on What you need to know before you lodge your claim for personal injury benefits.
If you’re ready to start your application, this article will explain how to make sure you claim your full entitlements. You’ll need to have:
- Your Medicare number and reference number
- Your driver’s license number (if applicable)
- Your bank account details, if you wish to be paid by direct deposit
- Your police event number
- Your medical “certificate of fitness” from your GP
- Evidence of your income – like payslips
- Evidence of medical treatment, if you have it
- Details of any previous claims you’ve made
We’ll cover some of these items in more detail below.
Starting your application.
You can either lodge your application directly through the SIRA online claim portal, or you can fill out the Application for Personal Injury Benefits form and submit it by email or post. You’ll find the relevant links here.
If you get part way through your application and you’re not sure what to do next, you can call 1800 888 529 for assistance – it’s a free service.
Steps 1 & 2: Your personal details and the declaration.
Fill out your personal details carefully, and don’t skip any fields. Your Medicare number can be found on your Medicare card, and your reference number is the number next to your name if there are two or more people listed on your card.
Once you’ve filled out your personal details, read and sign the declaration.
Step 3: About the accident and your injuries.
Fill out your police event number. You can get an event number by calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or by visiting a police station. If you don’t have a police event number, you can leave it blank and provide the number later.
Include details of the insurer of the vehicle mostly at fault. If you’re unsure, simply call 1300 656 919 and quote the registration number of the vehicle to find out.
Fill out the details of the accident. When you describe the accident, be clear about what happened – for example: “I was stationary at the traffic lights waiting to turn right, when a truck ran into my car from behind”. Also include details about the accident location including the road and suburb, and note the time it occurred.
When you fill out the details of your injuries, add as much information as you can. This is very important, as the payments you receive will depend on the extent of your injuries. Remember, if your injuries are classified as minor you won’t be entitled to claim a lump sum for future wages loss and pain and suffering and your benefits will be cut off after a maximum of six months regardless of whether you’ve recovered.
For more information on the definition of a minor injury please refer to our articles on What you need to know before you lodge your application and minor and non-minor injuries explained.
To make sure you capture all your injuries, start at the top of your head and work your way down to the tip of your toes, and list all of your injuries, including any pain, bruising or scarring. If you can’t fit everything into the space in the application, attached more details.
You should also include details of any psychological injuries, which are taken into account in determining the benefits you’ll receive. For example, if you’ve been feeling anxious or depressed about the accident.
For more information, please read our article on head to toe assessments to make sure you don’t miss anything, and refer to our list of commonly-overlooked non-minor injuries to see if any apply to you.
Step 4: About your health.
The next section of the form is about your health – this is where you attach any invoices, receipts, medical reports and any other evidence of the treatment you’ve received. If you’ve been to hospital you should attach the hospital report, or if not, you should attach a “certificate of capacity” from your GP.
Once again, it’s really important that all of your injuries are documented thoroughly by your GP – if any information is left out, it could prevent you from getting benefits you’re entitled to. If you’ve made a thorough list of all your injuries in step 3, you should take this with you to your GP appointment to make sure nothing’s missed. Your GP can also attach more details to your certificate of capacity if they won’t fit on the form.
Step 5: Treatment details.
This is where you provide hospital and ambulance details, if you were taken to hospital.
Step 6: Your employment and income.
Next, fill out your employment and income information. The insurer will use this information to assess how much your weekly benefits will be if you have time off work. You’ll be asked to provide 12 months’ pay slips, and the insurer will take an average over the 12 months.
Also, make sure you include your tax file number declaration to avoid being charged a 48% tax rate.
Steps 7 & 8: Employment and employer details.
This is where you add details about time off work due to the accident. If you’ve already returned to work, you can write down the total time you were off work. If you’re still off work, or expecting future time off work, make a note here. For example: “Four weeks off work so far, expected to be off work for at least another four weeks”.
When you outline your earnings at the time of the accident, remember to include all overtime, regular bonuses and commissions.
Finally, read and sign the declaration at the bottom of the page.
What happens next?
Your application will be reviewed by the insurer, who must tell you within four weeks of the claim being made if they’re accepting or denying the claim. Then the insurer will start making payments to you within 14 days if they accept the claim.
You’ll also need to have your certificate of capacity updated regularly – either every 30 days, or more often if your certificate is valid for less that 30 days.
…it’s really important that all of your injuries are documented thoroughly by your GP – if any information is left out, it could prevent you from getting benefits you’re entitled to.