Road injury insurer liability tripled to $375,000
People injured in road accidents will be eligible to receive larger insurance payouts under new legislation approved by the House of Assembly.
The amendment to the law will triple insurer liability from $125,000 to $375,000 per claim for cases where another road user is injured or killed.
Lawrence Scott, the Minister of Transport, said the need for change was highlighted by a recent case where a man had to pay $700,000 in medical bills after he was hit by a drink driver.
Mr Scott added: “This case is not isolated. Many of our residents find themselves in similar situations through no fault of their own.
“These injured parties are not likely to recover any amount over $125,000 to offset their medical bills including air ambulance, medical treatment overseas, rehabilitation, loss of earnings and potential loss of future earnings.”
The changers were contained in the Motor Car Insurance (Third-Party Risks) and Public Carriage Amendment Act.
Mr Scott added that the ministry had spoken to insurers about the change and were told it was unlikely that it would cause premiums to increase.
Susan Jackson, the shadow transport minister, said it was a “great relief” to have the limit increased for people involved in serious collisions.
She added: “Anything that can be done to assist these innocent victims of road crashes is so important.”
Dennis Lister III, the head of the Road Safety Council, added that the “common sense” amendments were long overdue.
Mr Lister said he had heard several stories about people who had been left with large medical bills after they were injured by other motorists and the amendments would go a long way to assist them.
Antonio DaCosta told The Royal Gazette he was awarded $733,659 n the wake of a 2016 collision that left him permanently disabled and unable to continue his work as a landscaper.
But because the driver who struck him was impaired and had borrowed the car he had driven, it triggered an exclusion clause, which meant the insurer would cover only $125,000 of the award – the minimum requirement in the legislation for cases of death or serious injury.
The ruling left the balance of $608,659 to be paid by the driver, but Mr DaCosta said had not received a single payment.
Mr DaCosta tried to sue the Motor Insurance Fund for additional compensation in 2020, but the Supreme Court ruled that he was ineligible to receive money from the fund because he had received some compensation from the insurance firm.
But Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams, who dismissed the case, appealed to legislators to consider a change to the law to protect people in similar circumstances.