As a solicitor that regularly deals with claims whether its for injuries, insurance benefits, death benefits, superannuation or otherwise for my clients, I never underestimate the value of a correctly completed claim form. Most claim forms look simple – fill in your name, contact details, answer the questions and hit “send”. Unfortunately because it looks quite simple, a lot of people fill in these forms quickly without thinking through their responses and do not realise how important this initial information could be.
When completing claim forms, keep in mind that this document is used by the insurer or superannuation provider to assess the basis of your claim so it is important that the information provided is accurate, that your responses to questions are well thought out and that you do not in any way undervalue your potential entitlements. I often encounter situations where a claim form has been completed by a client in relation to injuries sustained where they only include the major injuries that are bothering them most at the time of completing the form and forget the niggling smaller injuries that can become much bigger problems later. Another common issue is when completing a claim for financial loss an estimate is given for a wage rate without checking an actual payslip. Likewise, some people give estimated values to replace damaged property, without checking the actual replacement cost. As you can probably guess, this often leads to insurers refusing liability for injuries not recorded in the initial claim form or making payments for lost wages or replacement items of property at much lower rates.
Always treat completing a claim form as what it actually is – a full and accurate description of the injury/benefit/loss that you intend to claim. Keep in mind what you would like to achieve as an end result and make sure the information in your claim form reflects that. If you approach it in this way, I know you are going to double check that payslip to make sure you are claiming your full wage loss and not forget to include that lower back pain that has the potential to become much worse. Better yet, seek legal advice so that you have a good understanding of your entitlements before you complete any claim form.
KC Hilton, WNB Legal