TAC claim eligibility and the benefits of seeking a TAC claims lawyer

TAC claim eligibility and the benefits of seeking a TAC claims lawyer

Who can make a TAC claim?

If you have suffered physical or psychological injuries as a result of a transport accident in Victoria or whilst in a Victorian registered vehicle, you are entitled to make a claim with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). You may also be entitled to an impairment benefit and/or common law damages.

The legislation that governs compensation is the Transport Accident Act 1985 (Vic).

Generally, where a person is injured or killed as a result of a transport accident in Victoria or with a Victorian registered motor vehicle whilst interstate, that person or their surviving dependants can make a TAC claim. However, if the vehicle involved in the transport accident was unregistered or uninsured, this can significantly impact the injured person’s eligibility to claim compensation from the TAC.

What is a transport accident?

A transport accident is defined as:

  • an incident directly caused by the driving of a motor car or motor vehicle, a railway train or a tram and includes cyclists who are injured in Victoria by: a collision with a motor vehicle, train or tram;
  • a collision caused by an open or opening car door;
  • a collision with a parked or stationary vehicle.

To know where you stand, you should engage a TAC lawyer.

Who can’t make a TAC claim?

Not all people are eligible to make a TAC claim.

‘Unregistered’ motor vehicles

If the motor vehicle involved in the transport accident was never registered with VicRoads (or an interstate equivalent) and was used on private land at the time of the accident, the TAC is unable to pay compensation to those who are injured or die as a result of that transport accident. Private land means any land (whether publicly or privately owned) that is not a highway and members of the public may not enter or may not remain on without permission. However, if the vehicle is capable of being registered, the injured person may still be covered by TAC scheme.

‘Uninsured’ motor vehicles

A motor vehicle is considered ‘uninsured’ if it was previously registered with VicRoads (or an interstate equivalent) but the owner of the vehicle has failed to pay or renew their registration (which includes the TAC charge) for at least 12 months.

If at the time of the accident, the motor vehicle involved in the accident was uninsured and the accident happened on private land, the owner of that uninsured vehicle cannot claim compensation under the TAC scheme. However, the owner of the vehicle has a 28-day grace period from the date of the accident to pay the registration to be covered.

In instances where the owner of the uninsured vehicle was involved in a transport accident on a highway, they will be able to claim compensation under the TAC scheme.

Those who are non-owner passengers/drivers of an uninsured vehicle who are injured as a result of the transport accident, are eligible to claim TAC compensation.  

Electric e-scooters & motorised wheelchairs 

Vehicles such as electric scooters/e-scooters (with an output of less than 200 watts), electric bicycles (with an output of less than 200 watts), motorised wheelchairs (with a 10kph limit) and golf carts cannot be registered with VicRoads. Thus, if your injury was caused by any of the above vehicles, you will not be eligible to claim compensation from the TAC. However, the TAC will consider a claim if a person sustains injuries where a motor vehicle collides with an e-scooter/motorised wheelchair. 

Are refugees, migrants and tourists eligible to make a TAC claim?

Yes! As long as you meet the requirements above, you are able to claim compensation.

Regardless of how you arrived in Victoria - tourist visa, temporary work visa, student visa or as a migrant or refugee - you are entitled to assistance when you are injured in a transport accident. Your entitlements are not affected by your citizenship or right to be in Australia, although the Transport Accident Commission may need this information to assess your entitlements and provide you with assistance to recover from your transport accident injuries.

If you are injured in a transport accident in Victoria, or in an accident involving a Victorian registered vehicle, you should lodge a claim with the TAC. The TAC is a Victorian Government-owned organisation and will pay benefits to people injured in transport accidents regardless of where they are from.

To make a claim, you need to report your accident to police, call 1300 654 329 to speak with the TAC and then complete some simple paperwork. You should also contact your travel insurer in case they need to negotiate their contribution with the TAC. Lodging a claim with the TAC will never cost you money.

In some cases, the TAC will pay for everything related to your transport accident. In other cases, the TAC will not contribute to your expenses until you have reached a certain excess. The TAC also has policies outlining whether to pay for some expenses and can exercise its discretion. In all circumstances, having a claim lodged with the TAC protects your rights and could save you a lot of money.

The TAC may pay for:

  1. lost earnings wherever you are in the world;
  2. medical treatment in Australia;
  3. some medical assessments overseas;
  4. travel costs of returning to Australia for medical assessments; and
  5. extension of visas if you are medically unfit to leave Australia.

The TAC may also contribute to the cost of assisting injured people to return to their home overseas or replacing an expired ticket. Unfortunately for those who live overseas, if a relative has died in a transport accident in Victoria, the TAC will only pay for funeral expenses if the funeral takes place in Australia. The TAC may contribute to the cost of returning a relative to their home country but will not pay for overseas burial or cremation.

What are the eligibility requirements to lodge a claim with the TAC?

When you submit a TAC claim for compensation, the TAC requires:

  • Medical evidence that you have sustained an injury; and
  • Evidence that your injury was directly caused by the transport accident, i.e. an incident directly caused by the driving of a motor car, motor vehicle (e.g., motorcycle or truck), a railway train or a tram.

Medical evidence

Medical evidence such as hospital admission/discharge summary reports, medical certificates/reports detailing the physical or psychological symptoms you have experienced as a result of the transport accident, diagnosis or aggravation of a pre-existing condition or injury and the treatment required for the accident-related injury can greatly assist the TAC in their consideration to accept or reject a  TAC claim.

Transport accident evidence

Prior to lodging a TAC claim, the injured person needs to ensure that they have reported the transport accident to the Police (either at the accident scene or after the accident if the Police did not attend the accident scene), and where relevant, to the train or tram operator.

For accidents which involved a collision between a cyclist (pedal) and a stationary or parked motor vehicle between 9 July 2014 and 26 September 2018, the TAC does not require that a report has been made to a police officer under section 61A of the Road Safety Act 1986 (or otherwise) to consider the TAC claim.

If I have an accepted TAC claim, what am I entitled to?

There are three forms of financial compensation available to people injured in motor vehicle accidents, depending on their personal circumstances.

  1. Loss of earning payments, in particular:
    • Loss of earning payments for the first 18 months; and
    • Loss of earning capacity payments after the first 18 months, for up to another 18 months.
  2. Impairment benefits; and
  3. Common law damages.

In addition to financial compensation, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident will be entitled to claim the costs of reasonable medical expenses.

Learn more about potential entitlements under the TAC scheme.

If the TAC rejects my claim, what can I do?

If you believe the TAC’s decision was incorrect or unfair, you can do either of the following:

  • Request that the TAC conduct an informal review by a Review Officer. The Review Officer works independently from the team/department who made the original TAC decision which you are disputing. The officer will either change or uphold the original decision. The informal review option is a free service. You have 12 months from the date of the decision to seek an informal review. If you remain unhappy with the outcome of the informal review, you may wish to engage a lawyer for further assistance.
  • With the assistance of your lawyer, you can lodge a dispute application with the TAC. You have 12 months from the date of the TAC’s decision to lodge a dispute application. Once lodged, your lawyer may request further supportive information and prepare a statement on your behalf. Once the statement is provided to the TAC, your lawyer will attend a conference with the TAC to try to resolve your dispute.
  • If your dispute remains unresolved after the above dispute application process, you may request a review of the TAC’s decision at the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT).

How can a TAC lawyer assist me?

A TAC lawyer can assist you to navigate the often complex and unfamiliar TAC scheme and to alleviate the legal burden on you.

It can often be a daunting experience to begin making your TAC claim, and a TAC lawyer can guide you through the necessary steps to:

  1. Determine your eligibility for an initial claim
  2. Advise you through the claim lodgement process
  3. Carefully explain procedures, timelines and documentation.

If your TAC claim is rejected, a TAC lawyer can advise you and represent your interests to dispute the TAC’s decision.  Similarly, if the TAC makes a decision regarding your entitlements that you do not agree with, it is open to you to dispute the decision. To do so, a TAC lawyer can provide you with essential legal advice about the likelihood of success, the dispute process, important time limits as well as represent you in a timely manner, if you elect to dispute the decision.

A TAC lawyer can explain the available entitlements to you and your prospects of success, as well as provide you with advice and assistance to pursue these entitlements and maximise the benefit to you.

To support your claim, a TAC lawyer will take your detailed instructions about the circumstances of the accident and its aftermath, provide you with verbal and written advice, obtain updates from you regarding your transport accident injuries, obtain medical documentation from your treating doctors and independent medical examiners regarding your injuries, make requests for and follow up on your appropriate benefits, and communicate with the TAC as well as other stakeholders (including medical and liability experts, barristers and courts) on your behalf to progress your claim(s). This is to ensure that you obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve for your transport accident injuries.

The TAC recommends that you engage a personal injury lawyer that operates within the Common Law Protocols, and if you are unrepresented, the TAC will often recommend that you seek legal advice and representation to resolve your common law claim. Redlich’s operate within the Common Law Protocols recommended by the TAC.

What can go wrong if you don’t engage a TAC lawyer?

Without expert advice to guide you through the TAC legal process while you deal with your injuries, you may find yourself focusing less on you and your treatment.  You will not be informed about your right and entitlements, you may miss important time limits, or fail to pursue lump sum compensation claims. 

The TAC lawyers at Redlich’s provide clear, practical and realistic advice about your prospects of success. We take on the legal burden for you, so you can focus on getting back to better.

Contact us

If you think you are eligible for benefits through the TAC claims process, it is important you engage a personal injury lawyer experienced in this area of law as soon as possible. The Redlich’s team has a wealth of specialised experience and will provide a consultation free of charge. To book in, contact our adviceline on (03) 9321 9988 or submit an online enquiry today.

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Our No Win, No Fee and No Uplift Fee arrangement means you will only pay legal fees if your claim is successful. *Conditions apply

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