In TAC Talk: Road Crashes, Workplace Injuries
Victorian WorkCover and TAC claims for injuries suffered outside Victoria

Australia’s states and territories have a complex patchwork of laws, rules and regulations. This is particularly obvious in relation to personal injury compensation. When we specifically look at TAC claims after a motor vehicle accident or WorkCover claims after a workplace injury, the benefits and damages you are entitled to depend heavily on the way that you were injured and on where you were injured.

For example, for people injured in a car accident, the same injuries sustained in an accident in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria can result in compensation and benefits that are hundreds of thousands of dollars apart in terms of compensation and benefits paid to the injured person.

For people injured at work, there are two schemes of worker’s compensation; the Commonwealth scheme, Comcare and state-based schemes, with the Victorian one being WorkCover.

The Comcare scheme covers employees of the Commonwealth Government, most ACT Government employees and workers some large companies licenced to be insured under the Comcare scheme. The Comcare scheme covers injured workers no matter which state or territory they were injured in.

The state-based WorkCover scheme will most often cover workers injured in Victoria.

Which compensation scheme applies to your accident?

A general rule of thumb is that the state where the injuries occur is going to be the state whose compensation scheme applies.

So, if you’re injured in a car accident in Victoria, you will be eligible to lodge at TAC claim for benefits and compensation.

If you’re injured at work in Victoria, you will probably be covered by the Victorian WorkCover Authority for benefits and compensation.

There are, however, important exceptions to the general rule that can mean that if you’re injured outside Victoria, you can also be eligible for TAC or WorkCover benefits.

Motor Vehicle Accidents outside Victoria and TAC claims

Someone injured in a motor vehicle accident outside Victoria can still be eligible for the TAC claim if:

  1. they were injured (or killed) while they were a passenger or driver in a Victorian registered vehicle; or
  2. they were not a passenger or driver, but were injured or killed as a result of an accident involving a Victorian registered vehicle and they were (or were about to be) a Victorian resident.

Case scenarios for TAC claims if injured outside Victoria

A tourist is a passenger in a Victorian registered vehicle when the driver loses control and crashes the vehicle in Sydney. The passenger is entitled to benefits and compensation under the TAC scheme.

A Victorian resident is visiting Canberra and witnesses a car crash caused by the driver of a Victorian registered vehicle. The Victorian resident is entitled to benefits and compensation under the TAC scheme.

The situation is a little bit more complex in relation to workplace injuries.

Workers Compensation for Injuries Within and Outside of Victoria

For a worker to be entitled to benefits and compensation under the Victorian WorkCover scheme, their employment must be “connected to Victoria”.

In some rare cases this will mean that although a worker is injured in Victoria, their employment has no connection with Victoria.

It also means that in some circumstances a worker injured outside Victoria when an injury happened can be entitled to compensation and benefits under the Victorian WorkCover scheme.

In fact, in some cases it is not even necessary for the person’s injuries to have been sustained in Australia to be covered by the Victorian workers compensation scheme. In the case of VWA v Michaels [2009] VSCA 261, the court found that a worker buying books in China, seven days prior to the commencement of his employment, was injured in the course of his employment and as a result covered by the Victorian workers compensation scheme.

The Workplace Injury and Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (“WIRCA”) sets out that a worker’s employment is connected with:

  1. the State in which the worker usually works in that employment; or
  2. if there is no state where they usually work (or several states so that the Court cannot say that they usually work in one particular state), the connection will be based on the state in which the worker is usually based for the purposes of that employment; or
  3. if neither (a) nor (b) apply, then the state in which the employer’s principal place of business in Australia is located.

In the 2013 case of Wadley v Ron Finemore Bulk Haulage P/L [2013] VSC 5, the plaintiff’s employment was sufficiently connected to Victoria by reason of the employer’s principal place of employment being Wodonga, Victoria. The injured worker in this case worked both in NSW and Victoria and was not primarily based in either state. As a result of this finding, the injured worker was able to access benefits under the Victorian WorkCover scheme.

As you can imagine, the potential variations and examples are endless, especially with more people working remotely since COVID-19.

It is important to get expert legal advice whenever you have sustained a workplace injury or you’ve been injured in the car accident, whether it is in Victoria or in another state/territory. For workplace injuries, if injured in another state/territory, or overseas, you may also be entitled to worker’s compensation while you are carrying out or preparing for employment connected with Victoria.


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