In Victoria, there are compensation schemes available both for people injured in the course of their employment (a worker’s compensation claim through the WorkCover scheme) and people injured in transport accidents (a TAC claim through the Transport Accident Scheme). But who provides you with compensation and benefits if you’re injured in a transport accident on your way to or from home and work (commonly referred to as a journey claim)?
Accidents travelling from home to work are likely to be TAC
Generally, if you’re unfortunate enough to be injured in a transport accident on your way between your home and workplace, whether that’s in a private vehicle, on public transport or as a pedestrian, it is likely that the TAC insurance scheme will apply to paying benefits and compensation in relation to your injuries.
This is because an injury to a worker is only compensable under the WorkCover worker’s compensation scheme if it “arises out of or in the course of employment” or as part of an “authorised recess”
Your ordinary commute between home and work is generally not considered to be something which is “in the course of your employment”, however, there are a number of exceptions depending on the purpose of your travel and the nature of your work.
Journey accidents that are likely to be WorkCover
If you’re injured in a transport accident while driving from one work site to another, or if you don’t have a fixed place where you usually attend work, your entitlements and compensation could be covered by the WorkCover scheme.
Let’s take a look at some other examples where the Workcover insurance scheme may apply (because you are considered to be “in the course of your employment”). These could include if you’re injured:
- when you are on a work trip (including conferences and seminar your employer has arranged for you to attend);
- on your way to a second job site;
- during an authorised recess such as a lunch break;
- while driving as part of your role (i.e. you are a bus, train or tram driver);
- travelling to a medical exam required by your employer or WorkCover;
- travelling to get a WorkCover medical certificate;
- travelling to get medical, surgical or hospital advice, attention or treatment arising from an injury at work;
- on your way to trade school, or another training program which your employer expects you to attend.
Journey accidents that are likely to be TAC
It is likely that injuries suffered in a transport accident will fall under the TAC scheme where:
- there is a substantial interruption or deviation to your journey; and
- the interruption/deviation is not connected with employment.
So, you work as a delivery driver, but on your way home you decide to drive to the shopping centre to collect some groceries. While in the carpark you are struck by a reversing car. Because you have taken a substantial interruption to your journey (gone to the shops), and the interruption is not connected with your work, it is likely that your injuries will be covered by the TAC, rather than by WorkCover.
Why Does it Matter whether I claim WorkCover or TAC?
Both WorkCover and the TAC are insurers that provide benefits and allow compensation for people who are injured, so you may be wondering whether it really matters which insurance scheme is responsible.
As personal injury specialists, we know that the support, compensation and outcomes for our clients are significantly impacted by the way in which they are injured and by the insurer that is responsible for their benefits and compensation.
The benefits and compensation available can vary dramatically between competing insurance schemes and compensation laws. There are some limited circumstances where you may be eligible for WorkCover benefits and a TAC common law claim for the same event. This is rare, and you can read more about this in our earlier blog, “Transport accidents while working – is it a WorkCover or TAC claim?”
Because of the complexities around determining which compensation scheme is appropriate for your unique circumstances, it is critically important to get expert advice about the law that applies to your accident as early as possible.