Making a TAC claim
Under Victorian legislation, if a pedestrian is injured in a transport accident in Victoria, they can lodge a claim with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).
A transport accident is defined as an incident directly caused by the driving of a motor vehicle, railway train or tram.
Claim against a negligent owner/driver
To commence a claim for common law damages in Victoria for your transport accident injuries, you must establish you have suffered a ‘serious Injury’, and your injury was caused by the negligence or fault of another person.
One avenue for pursuing this type of claim is when you are assessed as having a permanent whole person impairment of 30 per cent or more for all the injuries suffered in the accident. The percentage impairment is determined in accordance with the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. In situations where a person’s impairment is assessed at 30 per cent or more, that person has an automatic serious injury (deemed serious injury) allowing them to make a claim if they are not at fault.
Recently, we were able to assist a client resolve a claim for damages against the TAC after he suffered significant crush fractures to his spine, hip and right leg when an out of control car ran over him. Our client’s whole person impairment was assessed at more than 30 per cent.
In the accident our client was being visited by a friend at his home. His visitor parked his car on a steep incline, and exited the car which then began to roll down the street while both our client and his friend were chatting nearby. Our client rushed to the car as it rolled down the hill and tried to bring it to a stop. At one point the car mounted a kerb, our client lost his footing and he was pushed to the ground with the car rolling over him.
As the owner/driver had failed to secure his car properly by placing the handbrake on, the incident was a transport accident under the Transport Accident Act. Failing to park the car correctly is considered part of the driving of the vehicle and the owner/driver was found to be negligent for his actions and had caused our client’s injuries.
A possible issue for our client was whether he acted reasonably by placing himself in danger to assist his friend.
If his actions were not considered reasonable, in all the circumstances, his overall damages could have been reduced. If that were the case he would have contributed to the accident and his resultant injuries. We considered, however, that our client was placed in a situation where the “agony of the moment” would mean he could not be found responsible in any way for the accident and he should receive his full entitlement. The TAC agreed and did not seek any reductions.
We were then able to achieve a significant pain and suffering loss settlement at an informal conference with the TAC for our client.
Our client also retained the right to make future claims for reasonable medical and like expenses from the TAC for as long as he requires treatment.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury as a result of a transport accident, it is important to get legal advice early. To arrange your free initial consultation, contact our legal team on (03) 9321 9988 or submit an online enquiry today.