TAC Solicitors - VIC Car Accident Compensation - Victoria Personal Injury Claim


LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 339 958

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC), is an insurance agency owned and operated by the Victorian government in Australia. The Transport Accident Commission exists to provide compensation to individuals who have been injured in a transport accident. A TAC solicitor may make an application to the Transport Accident Commission for personal injury compensation on behalf of an injured client. The TAC compensation scheme is funded by the registration fees which must be paid on Victorian vehicles. If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident in Victoria, seek the advice of a firm of TAC solicitors as soon as possible to learn about your right to make a claim for personal injury compensation in VIC.

If your TAC solicitors claim is accepted by the Transport Accident Commission, you are then entitled to payments compensating you for damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses. You are also entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering associated with your injuries.

In accordance with changes made to the Victorian TAC scheme in May 2008, you are typically required to pay the first $564 of the medical expenses you incur as a result of your transport accident. Once this threshold amount has been met, the TAC in Victoria will compensate you for additional approved medical expenses.

Some exceptions to the general rule apply. First, the medical excess requirement is waived for individuals who spend one or more days as an inpatient in a hospital as a result of the accident. Second, if one or more of the claimants immediate family members was injured in the same accident, only one $564 excess needs to be met.

What type of accidents are covered by the TAC?

In addition to motor vehicle accidents involving cars, the Victorian TAC scheme covers accidents involving trucks, motorcycles, heavy work vehicles, bicycles, trams and trains. You are entitled to compensation through the TAC regardless of whether you were a driver, passenger or pedestrian.

Those who have suffered injuries in a car accident which took place in Victoria may be able to obtain compensation for their losses. If a third party was wholly or partially to blame for your accident, you may be entitled to instruct a Victoria car accident solicitor to bring a common law claim for compensation.

A successful claim for compensation in Victoria covers damages including:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of amenity

Typically, a claim for compensation in Victoria involves a car accident solicitor initiating court proceedings against the individual who was at fault, or partly at fault, for the car accident.

In order to bring a compensation claim in Victoria, you must have suffered a “serious injury” as a result of the accident. The general definition of a serious injury is a level of permanent impairment which is 30% or greater. However, other injuries may be deemed serious under the law if they involve:

  • a serious, permanent disfigurement; or
  • the loss of a body function; or
  • a serious, long term impairment of a body function; or
  • a severe, long term mental disturbance or disorder: or
  • a severe, long term behavioural disturbance or disorder; or
  • the loss of a foetus.

The “serious injury test” is a threshold requirement for bringing a common law compensation claim. It is critical that a potential claimant understand the test and know in advance whether they will meet its criteria. A Victoria car accident solicitor can advise you on the serious injury test and whether your injuries satisfy this basic requirement.

You are not necessarily precluded from bringing a common law claim for compensation in VIC just because you were partly at fault for the accident. You can still bring a claim if you can prove that the accident was caused in part by the negligence of the other party involved. The legal term for the claimant being partly at fault for an accident is “contributory negligence.” If contributory negligence is found, your common law settlement will be reduced accordingly.

For those involved in car accidents in Victoria, compensation will be paid by the TAC on behalf of the responsible party in most cases. Under this system, while the victim is suing the person whose negligence caused the accident, the TAC is essentially indemnifying that person. It is the TAC, then, who will actually pay you the settlement you are owed.

In Victoria, the law sets out minimum and maximum compensation entitlements. If your damages for pain and suffering or economic losses do not meet the minimum amount, then the Court will be unable to award you compensation. These minimum and maximum limits change each year, so it is wise to consult with a TAC solicitor to learn the potential value of your claim.

When the ultimate tragedy occurs, and the victim of a car accident dies as a result of an accident caused by another person’s negligence, the dependants of the deceased victim may bring a common law claim for compensation. In addition to the ability to bring a common law claim for compensation, the deceased victim’s dependants also have access to benefits made available through the no-fault compensation scheme.

Victims must bring their common law compensation claim within six years of the date of the accident. However, the court does have the discretion to extend this time limit in exceptional cases. In bringing common law claims for compensation, it is always advisable to act swiftly. The sooner you bring your claim, the sooner you can focus on healing from your injuries and moving forward with your life. Important evidence can be lost and memories of witnesses can fade over time. If you feel you may have a common law claim for compensation, contact a solicitor as soon as possible.

What will I be compensated for?

The TAC recognises that those who have been injured in Victoria in a motor vehicle accident will incur numerous expenses. The majority of these expenses are covered by the TAC no-fault compensation scheme. The following is a non-inclusive list of the types of compensation to which a successful a claimant may be entitled:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Nursing services
  • Attendant care

If your claim is accepted, there are a number of entitlements which the TAC in Victoria must pay you. One of those entitlements is loss of wages. The TAC compensates individuals whose transport accident injuries have rendered them unable to work. There are two types of payments made by the TAC for lost wages: loss of earnings benefits and loss of earning capacity benefits.

Proving Your Medical Expenses

Generally it is not difficult to meet the medical excess. Bulk billed treatments count towards the excess, and expenses related to doctor visits and prescription medications add up quickly. However, you must be able to prove that you have incurred these expenses. To do so, you must submit a “Medical Excess” form to the TAC, and the form must be accompanied by documentation such as your Medicare history statement and receipts for each accident-related medical expense you incurred.

A TAC solicitor can advise you on which expenses can be applied towards the medical excess. Your solicitor can also help you maintain the records and receipts necessary for ensuring that you get full reimbursement.

Obtaining Prior Permission

In order to receive full reimbursement for a given treatment in Victoria, you must receive prior approval. The standard procedure is for a physician or other healthcare professional to submit a written request outlining the recommended treatment. The TAC will review the request and decide whether they will pay for the treatment. If they refuse to pay for a treatment, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Victorian TAC solicitor for assistance with challenging this decision.

Challenging a TAC Decision In Victoria

If you are unhappy with a decision rendered by the TAC, you can have it reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. There is a strict time limit of twelve months from the date of the decision for seeking the review. To ensure that you do not miss any of these critical deadlines, contact a Victorian car accident solicitor as soon as possible. Your solicitor will take on the responsibility of filing the necessary paperwork and will keep track of the various time limits applicable to your claim or challenge.

Another important time limit to be aware of is related to seeking reimbursement for medical expenses. You have only two years from the date of incurring the medical expense within which to submit the expense to the TAC. If you fail to seek reimbursement before that time limit expires, the TAC is under no obligation to consider your claim. A solicitor can help ensure that you meet all of the time limits associated with TAC claims. You do not want to miss out on the compensation to which you are entitled because of missed deadlines.

Travel Expenses

You will incur various expenses while travelling to and from the hospital or doctor’s office to receive treatment for your injuries. The TAC generally reimburses you for these costs. Examples of eligible travel expenses include:

  • Travelling by private vehicle
  • Public transportation
  • Taxi fares
  • Airfares

As with medical expenses, you should obtain prior approval from the TAC for travel expenses before they are incurred.

Disability Services and Rehabilitation

Disability and rehabilitation services include:

  • Programs to help you return to work
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain management

Medical Equipment

Medical equipment for which the TAC in Victoria provides reimbursement includes:

  • Modified footwear
  • Special furniture, such as tilting chairs and mattresses
  • Gym equipment/equipment for physical therapy
  • Walking sticks
  • Modified cleaning appliances

Childcare

Sometimes the injuries suffered in a transport accident will impair the victim’s ability to care for their family. If a transport accident has left you unable to fully care for your children, you may be entitled to up to 5 years of childcare paid for by the TAC. The number of hours of childcare you receive each day or week depends on the particular circumstances of your case. Those who are dissatisfied with the childcare services allotted to them by the TAC should consult with a TAC solicitor to learn more about their options.

Domestic Assistance and Housekeeping

Those injured in a motor vehicle accident in Victoria may find it difficult, perhaps even impossible, to perform typical daily tasks such as chores. In these situations, the TAC provides housekeeping and domestic services to assist the victim in their daily life. The amount of help provided depends on the specific circumstances of the individual, and it can range from a few hours each month to several hours per week.

Below are some examples of the types of housekeeping and domestic services that the TAC provides:

  • House cleaning
  • Yard work such as mowing and gardening
  • Washing clothes
  • Preparing meals
  • Dressing and personal hygiene

Modifications Made to House and/or Motor Vehicle

If a transport accident has left you with a permanent disability, you may need to modify your home and/or motor vehicle to accommodate your special needs and equipment. These are some examples of the types of modifications for which you may be reimbursed by the TAC:

  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Shower rails
  • Modified toilets and toilet chairs
  • Modified steering wheels
  • Modifications to accommodate transport of a wheelchair

Loss of Earnings Benefits

For the first eighteen months following your accident, the TAC in Victoria pays loss of earnings benefits for each day you cannot work because of the injuries you incurred in the accident. However, you are only entitled to compensation for your first five days of missed work if you are able to prove that you will suffer financial hardship unless you are compensated for those days.

An individual who is entirely unable to work due to the injuries they sustained in the accident will be paid either 80% of their pre-accident weekly earnings or a statutorily-defined minimum payment. The claimant will receive the greater of the two payments. The amount of loss of earnings benefits paid out will be reduced proportionately for those individuals who are able to work a limited number of hours.

Note that a statute places a limit on the amount of compensation you may collect each week in the form of loss of earnings benefits.

Loss of Earning Capacity Benefits

Those with severe injuries may still be incapable of working in their pre-accident capacity after the initial 18-month period has expired. In these cases, you are entitled to receive continued loss of earnings benefits from the TAC for the days on which you cannot work because of your accident-related injuries.

Typically, the Victorian TAC will cease making loss of earnings payments after three years. The exception is individuals whose injuries have left them with a 50% or greater impairment. Individuals with impairments of that severity will continue to receive loss of earning capacity benefits from the TAC even after the 3-year anniversary of their accident.

During the time period of eighteen months to three years after the date of your accident, you will receive 80% of your pre-injury earning capacity or the minimum payment set forth by statute, whichever of the two is greater.

The TAC considers a variety of factors in determining your pre-accident earning capacity. Your skills, experience, training and your chance of making a full recovery are all looked at. The amount of compensation the TAC calculates may or may not be equal to your pre-accident weekly earnings. Loss of earning capacity benefits are reduced accordingly for those suffering only a partial loss of earning capacity.

As with the loss of earnings benefits, a statutory cap is placed on the amount of compensation you can receive in the form of loss of earning capacity benefits.

What if I am partly to blame for the accident?

In most cases, you are still eligible to receive compensation through the TAC in Victoria even if you were partly at fault for the accident. That is why it is so important that anyone injured in a road traffic accident in Victoria contact a solicitor. A solicitor will review the facts of your case and determine what amount of negligence, if any, on your part contributed to the accident. Despite any contributory negligence, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages and medical expenses.

Is there a time limit on applications to the TAC?

Yes. Those involved in road traffic accidents should not delay in seeking the advice of a TAC solicitor. You have only 12 months from the date of the accident in which to make your claim to the TAC. If warranted by special circumstances, the TAC has the authority to extend the time limit to three years.

Do any other time limits apply to TAC claims in Victoria?

Yes. Those making a claim must comply with two additional time limits. First, you have only twelve months from the date of the TAC’s decision in which to challenge it. Second, there is a time limit of six years from the date of your accident to make a claim for compensation for impairment benefits due to a permanent injury.

Victoria TAC Solicitors

The TAC is essentially an insurance company in Victoria. Like all insurers, the TAC must weigh its duty to provide fair compensation to accident victims against operating in an economically efficient manner. As such, your interests as a victim are not necessarily aligned with those of the TAC. It is the job of a TAC Claim solicitor to represent your best interests and yours alone. Your solicitor is working on behalf of you and no one else, which means they will zealously pursue your full legal entitlements under the TAC scheme.

In addition to representing your interests as an accident victim, a TAC Claim solicitor will also guide you through the complicated claims process. Complex legislation sets forth the compensation powers assigned to the TAC. Dealing with the TAC can be a confusing and frustrating experience for those without specialised knowledge of the system. Your solicitor will take on all of those responsibilities on your behalf.

Also, as mentioned above, you have the ability to challenge a TAC decision. A solicitor can help you put forth your challenge and increase your chances for a more favourable outcome.

TAC compensation claims call for the legal services of a solicitor with specialised knowledge. Our TAC solicitors have extensive experience and are qualified to handle complex cases. If the accident occurred as a result of negligence by a third party then our TAC compensation claim solicitors can help you to assert your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. If you would like advice at no cost without further obligation just complete the contact form to speak to one of our experts.

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 339 958