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Information for Motor Accident Victims

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1. What are the changes that you can expect from 1 August 2014?

From 1 August 2014, the Public Trustee (“PT”) will be required to:

(a)        assess the reasonableness of the accident victim’s legal costs;

(b)        assess the adequacy of out-of-court compensation for victims who are not represented by lawyers; and

(c)        hold compensation moneys in trust for motor accident victims who are “specified persons”.

 

The PT will NOT be required to:

(a)        assess the adequacy of out-of-court compensation for victims who are represented by lawyers; or

(b)        Hold compensation moneys in trust for motor accident victims who are not “specified persons”.

 

2. Who are “specified persons”?

Specified persons are defined by section 2 of the MVA.

 

Specified persons are:

 

(a)        Persons who are entitled to receive the benefit of the compensation moneys under a settlement agreement; and who:

(i)         at the time the settlement agreement is made, are not represented by a public officer or a lawyer;

(ii)        at the time of the making of payment of compensation moneys, are isolated or quarantined in a hospital or other place under section 15(1) or (2) of the Infectious Diseases Act (Cap. 137); or

(iii)       at the time of the making of payment of compensation moneys, are under legal custody in a place of detention;

 

(b)        Persons who are entitled to receive the benefit of a judgment, and who at the time of the judgement:

(i)         are below 21 years of age;

(ii)        lack capacity within the meaning of section 4 of the Mental Capacity Act (Cap. 177A);

(iii)       are not represented by a public officer or a lawyer;

(iv)       are isolated or quarantined in a hospital or other place under section 15(1) or (2) of the Infectious Diseases Act (Cap. 137); or

(v)        are under legal custody in a place of detention.

 

3. What do these changes mean for motor accident victims?

These changes mean that accident victims who are not specified persons will receive their compensation moneys directly from the owner of the motor vehicle or the insurer instead of from the PT. 

4. What do these changes mean for Insurers?

With the changes, insurers will no longer need to forward the compensation moneys to the PT to make the payment to the motor accident victims. Insurers can make the payments directly to the motor accident victims after deducting the agreed or approved Solicitor-and-Client costs (“S and C costs”) and disbursements from the compensation moneys. The insurer will make the payment of the S and C costs and disbursements directly to the lawyers who represented the motor accident victim.

5. What do these changes mean for lawyers?

Lawyers will receive their S and C costs and disbursements directly from the insurer.

6. The PT will charge a fee for every application submitted to them to assess the reasonableness of the S and C costs. Who will pay the fees?

Lawyers are required to make payment of the PT’s fees when they make the online submission seeking the PT’s agreement to the proposed S and C costs and disbursements.  Lawyers may recover these fees as disbursements.

7. A fee will also be charged by the PT to assess the adequacy of an out-of-court settlement for motor accident victims who are not represented by lawyers. Who will pay the fees?

The insurer of the motor vehicle will make payment of the PT’s fees together with the online application to seek the PT’s agreement on the adequacy of the terms of the out-of-court settlement for the unrepresented victim.

8. How does the PT protect motor accident victims?

In cases where the relevant amount exceeds $5,000, the lawyer for the accident victim is required to obtain the agreement of the PT for the S and C costs and disbursements payable by the accident victim. The PT checks to ensure that these costs and disbursements are reasonable. If the accident victim is not represented by a lawyer, the PT will check to ensure that out-of-court compensation payment for the accident victim is adequate. 

9. What are S and C costs? What are P and P costs?

S and C or Solicitor-and-Client costs are the legal costs that a motor accident victim has to pay his lawyer for the work done in representing him in the negotiations with the Defendant or his insurer or in Court if the accident victim has commenced legal action against the Defendant or his insurer.

 

P and P or Party-and-Party costs refer to the legal costs payable between the accident victim and the Defendant or his insurer.

 

10. When must a motor accident case be referred to the PT for the PT’s assessment of the reasonableness of S and C costs and disbursements?

A case must be referred to the PT if:

(a)    The motor accident victim suffered bodily injury or died from the motor accident;

(b)   The motor accident took place in Singapore; and

(c)    The relevant amount exceeds $5,000.

 

11. What should be included in the determination of the relevant amount?

In determining the relevant amount, only compensation that is directly related to the injuries suffered by the motor accident victim should be taken into account.

 

Examples of items that should be included:

 

(a)           General Damages

(b)          Loss of earnings

(c)           Medical expenses

 

Examples of items that should NOT be included:

 

(a)           Property Damage

(b)          Cost of Vehicle Repair

 

12. Must a case be referred to the PT if the relevant amount is below $5,000?

No. If the relevant amount does not exceed $5,000, there is no need to refer the case to the PT.

13. What are the fees charged by the PT?

The fees charged by the PT are as follows:

 

For a Judgment obtained /  Settlement Agreement made on or after 1 August 2014:

 

Type of Fees

Amount1

Fee for assessment of reasonableness of S and C costs

$225.00

Fee for assessment of adequacy of compensation payment pursuant to a settlement agreement for an unrepresented victim

 

$300.00

1 Inclusive of GST

 

For a Judgment obtained / Settlement Agreement made before 1 August 2014:

 

Type of Fees

Amount1

Where the amount of general damages2 settled or awarded exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000

 

$300.00

Where the amount of general damages settled or awarded exceeds $10,000

 

$500.00

1 Inclusive of GST

2 The amount of special damages, interest, costs and disbursements settled or awarded is not taken into account for the purpose of computing the fees.

 

14. How do we make payment for the PT’s fees?

For a Judgment obtained / Settlement Agreement made ON or after 1 August 2014:

 

Payment of the fees must be made online by debit card, credit card or direct debit. The fees must be paid together with the submission of the online application to the PT.

 

Lawyers may recover these fees as disbursements.

 

For a Judgment obtained / Settlement Agreement dated before 1 August 2014:

 

Payment of the fees must be made by a lodgment form which is currently submitted by the insurers.

 

15. What are some of the documents that must be submitted when an application is made to the PT to assess the reasonableness of S and C costs and disbursements?

In cases where the compensation sum has been agreed upon and a settlement agreement signed:

(a)           A copy of the settlement agreement indicating the amount of P and P costs and disbursements;

(b)          Description of the work done and time spent on the matter by the lawyer and documents supporting the disbursements claimed;

(c)           A copy of the identification document of the person entitled to the payment of the compensation;

(d)          Lodgment form for deduction of compensation moneys from insurer (only applicable if the PT is required to hold moneys in trust); and

(e)           A copy of the bank passbook for making payment to the person entitled to the payment of the compensation (only applicable if the PT is required to hold moneys in trust).

 

In cases where the compensation has been ordered by a court

(a)           A copy of the Judgment;

(b)          A copy of the agreed P and P costs and disbursements (if this information is not stated in the Judgment); 

(c)           Description of the work done and time spent on the matter by the  lawyer and documents supporting the disbursements claimed.

(d)          A copy of the identification document of the person entitled to the payment of the compensation;

(e)           Lodgment form for deduction of compensation moneys from insurer (only applicable if the PT is required to hold moneys in trust); and

(f)           A copy of the bank passbook for making payment to the person entitled to the payment of the compensation (only applicable if the PT is required to hold moneys in trust).

 

16. When will we receive the PT’s agreement to the S and C costs?

The PT will inform the lawyers of its views on the S and C costs within 3 weeks from the date of receipt of the complete set of supporting documents or clarification from the lawyers.

17. How will we receive payment of our costs and disbursements?

Lawyers will be required to liaise directly with the respective insurer(s) on their mode of payment.

18. What are some of the documents that must be submitted in an application to the PT for the assessment of adequacy of out-of-court compensation for unrepresented victims?

The documents commonly required for the assessment of adequacy of out-of-court compensation for un-represented victims are:

 

(a)           A copy of the settlement agreement;

(b)          A copy of the medical report(s) detailing the injuries suffered as a result of the motor accident;

(c)           A copy of the identification document of the person entitled to the payment of the compensation;

(d)          Lodgment form for deduction of compensation moneys from the  insurer; and

(e)           A copy of the bank passbook for making payment to the person entitled to the payment of the compensation.

 

 

 

With effect from 5 Mar 2018, all payments will be made electronically.

 

 

Last updated on 31 Jan 2018