Compensation legislation update: TAC

Compensation legislation update: TAC

The new Victorian Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2016 (the Act) affects the entitlements of those injured in transport accidents covered by the TAC scheme. The Act was assented in December of 2016 and most of the provisions are now active. The remaining provisions will come into force on 1 July 2017. For those injured in past transport accidents, loss of earnings payments will continue until pension age, rather than at age 65. This is to ensure that, when the changes to the pension qualifying age take effect, a gap will not open between the age at which an injured person ceases to be entitled to payments from the TAC and the age at which they qualify for the aged pension. This change will take effect from 1 July 2017. Families of a person killed in a transport accident may now be eligible for some assistance from the TAC for their travel and accommodation. Immediate family are eligible for assistance if they travel to a funeral, burial or cremation in Australia and their normal residence is more than 100 kilometres from the service. Up to $5000 in total is available to immediate family members. This is available if the family incurs expenses in Australia . The meaning of the phrase expenses in Australia is not made clear. Finally, the assessment of spinal injuries caused by transport accidents has been adjusted with the intention of making assessments more uniform and producing more equitable results. Parliament has said the previous method created an anomaly in the assessment of spinal injuries and inequities in compensation . Spinal injuries were being assessed based on damage done to the spine and not necessarily the symptoms or level of disability that the damage caused. The new method is intended to be clearer and fairer. Ultimately, this change affects doctors completing assessments and should not concern those who have been injured. All of these changes should work to make the lives of people injured in transport accidents easier. Time will tell whether families travelling from overseas for funerals, burials or cremations in Australia are treated equitably and whether those who have suffered spinal injuries will benefit from the new scheme. If you would like further information about the Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2016, our friendly team can be contacted on (03) 9321 9988.

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