TAC claims for cyclists injured on the road

TAC claims for cyclists injured on the road

Under the legislation dealing with transport accidents in Victoria, cyclists injured in an accident are entitled to various benefits from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), including the payment of reasonable medical treatment.

A transport accident is defined as “an incident directly caused by the driving of a motor vehicle, railway train or tram”. If a cyclists is injured by the opening of a car door when a vehicle is parked or stationary, that too is considered a transport accident.

Case study

We recently assisted our client with her TAC claim after she collided with a car while on her bicycle. Our client was riding her bike alongside a moving vehicle when the driver of the car attempted to make a left turn in front of her. Our client was unable to avoid the collision and hit the rear of the car, sustaining injuries as a result. Unfortunately, there were no witnesses at the scene.

When our client lodged her TAC claim, the TAC obtained a statement from the driver who stated that he did not believe his vehicle was struck by our client’s bicycle, or that his driving had caused our client to fall off her bike. Our client’s claim was therefore rejected so she approached us for assistance.

We reviewed all the material available to us and found inconsistences with the driver’s version of events. Based on the information we had, we were able to establish that there was a collision, and that our client had been involved in a transport accident.

Our client requested we lodge a dispute application with the TAC but at a subsequent informal conference, the TAC was not prepared to accept her claim. The TAC were of the view that it was one person’s word against another and they had no reason to doubt the driver so we recommended our client lodge an Application for Review with the VCAT.

In preparation for the VCAT hearing, our client was able to provide us with details of friends and work colleagues who were aware of her injuries as she had told at the time of the accident what had occurred. At a compulsory conference, required by VCAT, the TAC accepted our client’s evidence and acknowledged that our client was in fact injured in a transport accident.

What TAC entitlements can I access when my TAC claim is accepted?

The TAC can assist with funding for reasonable medical treatment, loss of earnings benefits and in some cases, lump sum impairment benefit.

For our client, an accepted TAC claim will entitle her to seek funding for reasonable medical treatment and be assisted by the TAC during her recovery.

If our client’s doctor certifies her as being unfit to work due to her transport accident injuries, she would also be entitled to claim loss of earnings benefits from the TAC.

Once our client’s accident-related injuries stabilise, and if she is left with a permanent impairment, she may be entitled to lump sum impairment benefit. The permanent impairment is usually assessed approximately 18 months after the accident.

What if the TAC rejects my claim?

If you believe the TAC has incorrectly rejected your claim, we can assist you in disputing that decision. You have 12 months to lodge a dispute from the date you became aware of the TAC’s written decision.

After reviewing your matter, we will advise you on the merits of your TAC dispute. If you have reasonable prospects of succeeding, we will prepare and lodge a dispute application against the TAC. We will then have an opportunity to conference with the TAC to try to resolve your dispute. A significant number of dispute applications resolve at an informal conference with the TAC.

However, if your TAC dispute remains unresolved after the informal conference, you can apply to have the TAC decision reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Any incorrect decision made by the TAC involving a denial of an injured person’s claim, medical and like treatment, loss of earning benefits (wages) or impairment benefit can be appealed to the VCAT.

If you or a family member has been injured on the road and require legal advice, call our TAC lawyers for a free initial consultation on (03) 9321 9988.

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