I attended the CRASH Seminar in Adelaide as a guest speaker talking about the GEPIC, the system of psychiatric impairment we use in Victoria. As you may know the system has been adopted in South Australia for motor accident claims. South Australia has a compulsory third party scheme, a common-law scheme, with a no fault component bolted on. By contrast the system in Victoria is a no fault scheme with a common-law scheme bolted on.
South Australia is using AMA 5 but the percentages from AMA 5 have been grafted on to the system used in Queensland where there are INJURY SCALE VALUES. What that means is that depending on the nature of the injury a percentage impairment leads to a certain ISV number (or range of numbers) and on the basis of that a tribunal, quite separate from the medical profession determines the lump sum payment. For those familiar with the GEPIC, the person has to be in medium class III (25-50% leading to an ISV of 7 or more) to gain any benefits.
There was concern about disadvantage for those with psychiatric injury in the South Australia WorkCover system where there is no entitlement to lump sum payment. I mentioned that it would be useful if South Australia had the same method of psychiatric impairment for both motor accidents and WorkCover claims.
In general there were no negative comments about the GEPIC, probably because nobody knows how it will work. I think the underlying issue is the belief that the system has become much more Draconian and more people will be excluded from receiving benefits. This is not the fault of the GEPIC or indeed any other method of impairment assessment.
South Australia has a Lifetime Supporter Authority that is intended to cover people with catastrophic motor vehicle accidents in South Australia regardless of fault. There is a Lifetime Support Scheme Fund paid for by a levy on motorists.
It was very interesting to talk to people who have been trying to establish the system. Of course the devil is in the details and the details are in the regulations. A committee has been established to determine all these issues consisting of representatives of the law Institute, the AMA, the Motor Accident Commission and a representative of the responsible Minister, the Attorney General. It is interesting to see where this will all end up.
It appears that training for the GEPIC will take place in May or June.
I was surprised by the lively atmosphere of Adelaide. There seem to be so many restaurants and bars, a number of narrow streets like Melbourne’s laneways that were filled with customers. Many of the older buildings were built in that beautiful Adelaide sandstone. The weather was great, it was a pleasure to be there.