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ROAD ACCIDENTS

Whether the motor vehicle accident involved a car, motorbike,
train, tram, or a bus, you should be able to access TAC benefits.

Motor Vehicle Accident
TAC Claims

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is the insurer for all injuries in Victorian motor vehicle accidents. You can lodge a TAC claim if you are injured as a result of a road accident involving a car, truck, tram, motorcycle, bicycle, train or as a pedestrian.

Immediately after a road accident, or as soon as practicable after your accident, there are a number of important things you should do. This includes getting details of others involved, reporting the accident to police and, most importantly, seeking medical treatment.

Read more here about what to do immediately following your motor vehicle accident.

Who can lodge a TAC claim for compensation related to injuries in a road accident?

Generally, a person injured in a road accident in Victoria where that accident was caused by or involved:

  • a car;
  • a truck;
  • a bus;
  • a motorbike;
  • some farm or work machinery including tractors and forklifts;
  • a pedestrian, where a motor vehicle was involved in the accident;
  • a bicycle, where a motor vehicle was involved in the accident (even where the crash is caused by a near miss, or a stationary car);
  • a tram; and/or
  • a train, can lodge a claim for TAC benefits.

If someone dies as a result of a road accident in Victoria, a claim can be lodged by dependents of that person.

What is the TAC?

TAC is a government insurer responsible for compulsory third-party insurance for registered motor vehicles in Victoria.

If you’re injured as a result of a transport accident, TAC can offer a range of entitlements and benefits such as medical and like expenses, loss of income and lump sum compensation for your permanent impairment, pain and suffering and future loss of earning capacity.

The TAC is not responsible for any property damage. That is, TAC will not pay for the replacement of your motor vehicle or for any damage to be repaired.

How do I lodge a TAC claim?

If you are injured in a road accident in Victoria, you should lodge a claim with the TAC by calling 1300 654 329 or visiting the TAC website for more guidance and information.

What information should I have available when I call the TAC?
  1. Details of the accident
  2. Police details;
  3. Details of any doctors or hospitals that have treated you; and
  4. Any financial information relating to your income, e.g. recent payslips.

Keep all information you gather that is related to your motor vehicle accident, including:

  • any receipts for expenses you’ve incurred since the accident;
  • witness details;
  • Police report; and
  • your TAC claim number.
What benefits can I access under TAC?

If you’re injured in an accident, the TAC can pay a range of benefits and compensation.

These can include:

Medical and associated expenses

You’re entitled to reasonable medical & like expenses for your accident injuries.

For example, TAC can pay for the following: ambulance, hospital, doctors, physiotherapy, medication, hydrotherapy, surgery and home assistance like cleaners and gardeners.

Loss of income

If you can’t go back to work after the accident, TAC can pay you 80% of your pre-injury income – excludes the first 5 days after the date of the accident.

If you’re a low-income earner, the TAC can pay 100% of your pre-injury income.

TAC will ask you to provide recent payslips or tax returns from previous years to help their calculation of your weekly payments. TAC can pay a maximum of $1350 per week (as at 1 July 2019).

Lump sum benefits for permanent impairment

If you suffer injuries from the accident and do not fully recover, you may be entitled to a lump sum amount. Your injury will need to be assessed by an independent medical examiner under the AMA guides.

If you receive a permanent impairment score of more 11%, you will receive approximately $7,880. This amount is indexed each year.

An additional amount will be paid for every 1% of impairment greater than 11%. A 50% impairment entitles you to $86,000 (as at 1 July 2019).

TAC can assess your level of impairment as soon as 3 months after your accident.

If your injuries have not stabilised, TAC can make a part payment of your impairment benefit until your injuries have healed and stabilised; i.e. your injury is unlikely to get any better or worse.

Your right to apply for an impairment assessment may expire 6 years from the date of the accident.

Common Law Compensation 

In addition to medical, income replacement and impairment benefits, the TAC can be required to pay compensation on behalf of a driver who was at fault in an accident which caused injuries.

The TAC is the insurer for road accidents and in most circumstances will be required to pay compensation on behalf of the person at fault for the accident.

So, If the accident was wholly or partially caused by someone else you may be entitled to further compensation which can include:

  1. Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life – up to $558,760 (as at 1 July 2019); and
  2. Past and future economic loss – up to $1,257,290 (as at 1 July 2019)

To obtain compensation you need to be able to show that:

  1. The accident was caused or contributed to by another party (negligence).
  2. You have a “serious injury”.

A “serious injury” is a legal test, and detailed consideration of your personal circumstances and medical opinion will be required to determine if you have a serious injury. Serious injuries can include:

  • Permanent impairment of 30% or more; or
  • Long term physical injury or loss of body function which impacts your working life, social, domestic or recreational activities; or
  • Long term severe psychological injuries which impact your working life, social, domestic or recreational activities; or
  • Serious scarring or disfigurement; or
  • Loss of a foetus.

Handy hint:

The serious injury test looks at the effects of the accident on your life. It is worth making note of things your injuries stop you doing. If you loved hiking, line dancing, salsa classes, knitting or riding your bike prior to the accident, the impact of your injuries on those activities can be important factors in showing that you have a “serious injury”.

If you’re unsure about whether your injuries meet the “serious injury” test, you should get advice from a TAC expert lawyer without delay.

If you are over 18 years at the time of the accident, you generally have 6 years from the date of the accident to make an application.

If you were under the age of 18 years at the time of the accident, you will have until your 24th birthday to make a claim.

Compensation and support when a loved one dies in a transport accident

If your spouse, partner or loved one has passed away as a result of a road accident, the TAC may be able to provide you with some assistance.

Below are some examples of what the TAC can help pay for:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Counselling
  • Travel and accommodation
  • Weekly payments including income benefits and education allowances
  • Home duties and childcare
  • Lump sum benefits
How long does it take for TAC to begin paying benefits?

Once your TAC claim is lodged and accepted, you can be eligible to receive medical benefits and loss of income payments very quickly.

Once you’ve lodged your claim with the TAC, they have 21 days to accept, reject or request for more information from you to help them make a decision.

If your claim is accepted, you will be entitled to medical and like payments straight away.

If your accident occurred on or after 14 February 2018, you’re no longer required to pay a medical excess. You need to make sure that your treating doctors and pharmacy are billing directly to TAC, rather than billing you.

If you are unable to go back to work as a result of your accident injuries, TAC can begin paying you for your loss of income once you provide them with the financial information that they need.

How do I challenge a TAC decision?

If TAC makes a decision that you believe is incorrect, you have 12 months from the date of the TAC’s decision to dispute it.

For example, the TAC makes a decision to stop paying for your physiotherapy but your physiotherapist believes you will require ongoing physiotherapy to treat your accident injury.

If you’re unhappy with a decision from TAC, you should seek advice from a lawyer experienced in TAC claims.

If this happens, we can help you dispute this decision. To do this, we investigate and analyse the medical material in your case, provide TAC with reasons as to why they should accept the treatment request, and take the steps needed to challenge the decision.

We can organise a free consult and send you information about our process for disputing TAC decisions and how we can help get you get the TAC benefits and compensation you deserve.

No-one else was in the accident. Am I covered by the TAC?

Where you are injured as a driver in a single vehicle accident, you are likely to be covered by TAC for benefits including payment of medical expenses, loss of wages and a lump sum payment for your permanent impairment.

You are unlikely to be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and long-term loss of earning capacity unless you can prove that the accident was caused by or contributed to by another party.

The accident involved an unregistered vehicle. Am I covered by the TAC?

If you were injured by or while driving an unregistered motor vehicle at the time of the accident, you can still be covered by TAC as long as the vehicle was capable of being registered with VicRoads.

For example:

• A tractor on a farm hits you and causes injury. As long as the tractor is capable of being registered, you will be entitled to TAC benefits.
• You are injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle whose registration has recently lapsed or expired.

If you are injured by a motor vehicle accident in a driveway, you can also make a TAC claim.

The driver cannot be found. Am I covered by the TAC?

If you were a victim of a hit and run in Victoria, you will still be entitled to TAC benefits.

Similarly, if you are injured in another state by a Victorian registered motor vehicle, you will be able to make a claim for TAC benefits, and you can still receive compensation for your pain and suffering and economic loss.

What if I haven’t paid for TAC insurance?

TAC insurance is paid for as part of VicRoads registration fees. So, whenever you register a vehicle, some of that registration fee goes to the TAC.

Importantly, TAC compensation is not just for people who own registered vehicles. TAC benefits can be paid to anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident in Victoria and in some circumstances, outside Victoria too.

For example, if you are involved in an accident with a Victorian registered vehicle in NSW, you would be entitled to make a TAC claim.

Contact Polaris to find out more. It costs you nothing to find out if you’re entitled to claim.

Do I need a lawyer for my TAC claim?

It is very important to get legal advice about your TAC claim, even if you don’t think you need to.

The TAC will generally pay some benefits, including basic medical treatment such as GP consultations and medications along with loss of income benefits. But they won’t voluntarily offer to pay you everything you’re entitled to unless you know what your entitlements are.

Having a lawyer who specialises in TAC claims will ensure that you understand and maximise your entitlements and benefits and means that you know you will get the compensation you deserve.

How much will it cost me to make a claim for compensation?

Polaris acts on a “No Win No Fee” basis, meaning that you don’t pay for our fees until you win your claim for compensation.

When you receive TAC compensation, the TAC will be required to pay for some of your costs.

Just like a doctor that does not bulk bill, you will be asked to pay the gap between the total costs and what the insurer does not pay.

Polaris makes sure that the costs you pay are capped, so that you know you’ll keep the majority of your compensation. Not every law firm does this.

The costs you pay when you win are not a percentage of your compensation. Instead, costs are calculated based on the work that Polaris has done, and the portion of those costs which has been paid by the TAC.

Want to know more?

Send us an email and we’ll give you a copy of a cost agreement so you can see for yourself.  Also, see the examples provided below.

Example 1

  • You win your case by settlement with the TAC after documents are lodged with the TAC but without the need to lodge court documents.
  • You receive $250,000 in compensation.
  • The total costs (including disbursements) are $60,000.
  • The TAC pays $40,000 of your total costs.
  • There is $20,000 in shortfall costs.
  • Your costs for this milestone were capped at $30,000
  • Because the shortfall costs are less than the cap, you pay only $20,000 in costs from your compensation.

Example 2

  • You win your case by settlement with the TAC at a mediation and you receive $300,000 in compensation.
  • The total costs (including disbursements) are $75,000.
  • The TAC pays $35,000 of your total costs.
  • There is $40,000 in shortfall costs.
  • Your outstanding costs are $40,000
  • Your shortfall costs were capped at $30,000
  • You only pay the capped amount of $30,000, rather than the shortfall of $40,000

Need help?

Polaris Lawyers are award-winning personal injury lawyers.

We offer an obligation and cost-free consultation to discuss your options in relation to TAC claims.

Contact us today to start the process of getting the compensation you deserve.

Not sure if you’re eligible to claim TAC benefits?

At Polaris, we’ve designed a free and simple online tool to assist you in determining if you’re eligible to claim compensation after your motor vehicle accident.

It doesn’t take long and it’s free to use, so there’s nothing to lose.

Click on the ‘Get Started Now’ button in the banner below.

If you have been injured in a road or motor vehicle accident; you are likely to be entitled to a range of benefits including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage replacement
  • Lump sum payments for your permanent impairment
  • Damages for pain and suffering
  • Domestic care expenses
  • Travel expenses (for attending medical appointments)

Unsure where to turn after
a motor vehicle accident?

Use our free online tool to find out how to get started with a TAC claim.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

With over 50 years combined experience in personal injury law we have the knowledge and insight to get the best outcomes for our clients.

Take the stress out of pursuing a claim and focus on your recovery. We are a compassionate and understanding team with no hidden fees or charges, free initial advice when and where you need it.

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