Compensation is available in Victoria for a person who is injured as a result of a transport accident. To access compensation, the accident must have occurred in Victoria or, in the case of an interstate accident, involve a Victorian resident who was driving or a passenger in a registered motor vehicle.
How do I make a TAC claim?
Making a TAC claim is easy to do by visiting the TAC website at www.tac.vic.gov.au and following the menu options. If you prefer to lodge your claim via telephone you can do so by calling 1300 654 329.
You should make sure you have details of your accident handy, including the details of any witnesses and whether the accident was reported to the police. You should also have any relevant medical information and certificates as well as income and bank details.
What TAC can and can’t pay for
The Transport Accident Act establishes the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) to administer claims and pay out lump sum compensation to eligible people. The TAC can also pay for income support and medical treatment.
The TAC can pay for a broad range of medical treatments and services to help you recover from an accident. Some examples include ambulance, hospital and medical or doctor appointments including the cost of surgery. The TAC can also pay for services such as physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment and occupational therapy as well as medication, x-rays and scans.
TAC can’t pay you for damage to your car, motorbike, scooter, bicycle or other type of transport due to an accident. Similarly, TAC can’t pay for damage to personal items such as mobile phones, clothing or motorcycle gear.
If your accident injuries prevent you from working in the first 18 months after your accident, the TAC can pay loss of earnings benefits. From the 18 month mark to the three year mark after your accident, the TAC can pay you loss of earning capacity benefits.
In order to receive weekly loss of earnings payments, you will need to firstly lodge a claim and also provide TAC with payslips for the 12 months prior to your injury. This is so TAC can work out the amount of your weekly pay. You will also need medical proof that you are unable to work, so you should obtain regular certificates of capacity from your doctor.
Under the Act, you are not able to claim lost wages in the first five days following an accident. After that time, if you are still unable to work, the TAC will calculate your pre-accident weekly earnings rate and pay you income support, up to a maximum of $1,540 per week.
Loss of earnings benefits stop 18 months after your accident, but if you are still unable to work, TAC may be able to pay you a further 18 months of loss of earning capacity payments. The current maximum for loss of earning capacity payments is $1,340 per week.
Lump sum payouts
The TAC can also make lump sum payouts to eligible people in the form of an impairment benefit and/or common law damages.
In order to obtain a payout for an impairment benefit, you need to have permanent, stabilised injuries which are assessed at more than 10 per cent whole person impairment under Permanent Impairment Guidelines. TAC currently pays out $9,010 for injuries which assess at 11 per cent impairment. The maximum payout for 100 per cent impairment is currently $411,470.
In order to obtain a payout from TAC for common law damages, you need to establish that you have a ‘serious injury’ which was caused by the negligence of another party, typically another driver. TAC can pay a maximum of $639,200 for pain and suffering and $1,438,310 in economic loss.
TAC payouts in the form of impairment benefits and common law damages are not taxable. Even if you receive common law damages for future economic loss, these are not viewed as ‘income from personal exertion’ by the ATO and as such are not taxed.
Common law damages claims are very specialised and there is often overlap between TAC payouts and other support schemes like Centrelink, NDIS and private health insurance. It is important that you seek expert legal advice about cases where you might be entitled to a compensation payout.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury as 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.