Should I lodge a TAC claim?
In most instances where a person has been injured in a transport accident in Victoria we would recommend that they lodge a TAC claim.
There is very little downside to lodging a TAC claim and in terms of upside, it is something that can potentially provide you with a significant amount of assistance if you understand the system and what you can claim.
The rest of this page will explore why you should lodge a TAC claim.
You have paid for TAC insurance
Every year that you pay for your vehicle registration, you are paying for TAC insurance to cover you and other road users in the event of an accident where someone is injured or dies.
A component of your yearly vehicle registration fee is for this TAC insurance component and it makes up a pretty significant part of the overall registration fee.
You can read more about that here.
You could have potentially paid several thousands of dollars for this TAC insurance over the years and many people aren’t even aware of this.
What is a TAC claim?
A TAC claim, once accepted, will provide an injured person with certain benefits.
There are four main benefits under the TAC scheme.
Once you have lodged and had accepted an initial TAC claim, which you can read about here, you’ll be entitled to the payment of reasonable medical and like expenses and income benefits if your ability to work has been impacted.
This might mean that you are not able to work to the same extent that you were working before the accident but still able to do some work, or you’re not able to work at all.
You can read about the TAC claim process here.
If as a consequence of the road accident you have suffered permanent impairment of some sort, you may also be entitled to a lump sum in the form of an impairment benefit.
Finally, if you’ve suffered a serious injury in the accident which was at least contributed to by the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to pursue another lump sum called a common law claim.
You may be entitled to be compensated for pain and suffering and economic loss.
If a person died in a road accident, assistance and compensation is available to the family members and you can read more about that here.
Alternatives to lodging a TAC claim
If you don’t want to lodge a TAC claim, there are alternatives however in our opinion none of them come close to providing the level of assistance that the TAC will.
You could for example if you are not able to work or if your ability to work has been impacted, access your employment entitlements such as sick leave, annual leave and long service leave.
You could pursue a claim for income protection or total and permanent disablement via your superannuation or through standalone policies.
If your ability to work is impacted you may be able to access Centrelink benefits.
We could go into detail in relation to the positives and negatives of accessing the above alternatives to a TAC claim, but really there is no comparison in relation to the level of assistance that you can obtain.
Is a TAC claim worth it?
Some people avoid lodging a TAC client because they view it as not being worth it and potentially a nuisance to have to deal with.
The reality is that most TAC claims that are lodged are accepted without issue.
You will more than likely not need to attend a medical assessment after lodging a TAC claim to have your claim determined.
What usually happens is the TAC will consider the claim and then make a decision to either accept or reject your claim relatively quickly and usually with minimal fuss. Most claims lodged on the TAC will be accepted.
You will then be entitled to the payment of medical and like expenses and if your ability to work has been impacted, income payments.
Claiming medical expenses from the TAC is for the most part not difficult.
You can either pay for a particular type of medical expense yourself or you can give your TAC claim number to a provider and ask them to send their bill to the TAC directly.
However, sometimes issues in relation to claiming medical expenses can arise.
Some common issues are;
- A person isn’t sure whether they need to get approval from the TAC first before claiming a particular type of medical expense.
- The TAC will only pay certain amounts for different types of medical treatment and sometimes this can cause an issue. For example, when I provider bills you for more than what the TAC will pay for you there can be sometimes issues with paying the gap amounts.
- TAC can sometimes reject paying for different types of medical treatment which can lead to disputes.
- There can sometimes be delays with providers getting paid by the TAC which can cause frustration.
- They can sometimes be delay The TAC reimbursing you for medical expenses that you have paid for.
If you have a lawyer, then you can deal with many of these issues by simply asking them to assist you which many will do.
If you wish to obtain income payments, then you will need to obtain certificates of capacity on a regular basis.
You can read about certificates of capacity in detail here.
In general though if you are wanting to claim income payments on an ongoing basis, maybe for months or perhaps for years, you need to know that you’re likely have to attend your GP or other health practitioner on roughly a monthly basis in order to obtain certificates.
Some people find this to be an inconvenience.
Also sometimes the TAC can reduce and or terminate your entitlement to income payments but you will be notified if this happens and provided with reasons as to why. And if you or your lawyer disagree with the decision to reduce or terminate, there are appeal avenues that you can pursue.
Sometimes there can be delays in income payments being made to you.
In relation to an impairment benefit lump sum claim, you don’t have to pursue this in the first place if you do not want to.
In a nutshell, you would need to be assessed by medical practitioners who grade all of the injuries and conditions that result from the accident.
Sometimes people find it inconvenient to have to attend medical assessments which can sometimes take several hours each.
Sometimes a person may only have one assessment to attend but other times they could have three or four or potentially more that they would need to attend to pursue the claim.
This claim can take several months from start to finish.
In relation to a common law claim, this is a claim that can sometimes cause people some frustration as it can sometimes take years to resolve if contested by the TAC (other times they can resolve in only a matter of months however).
You can decide what entitlements you can pursue under a TAC claim
If you don’t want to claim a particular type of medical expense from the TAC for whatever reason, you don’t have to.
You don’t have to pursue an impairment benefit lump sum claim or a common law claim if you don’t want to.
You could lodge a TAC claim and then potentially not claim anything for a number of years before making a claim, for example, for the payment of medical expenses or perhaps even surgery.
So you have flexibility to access entitlements that may assist you and you do not need to access all of the entitlements open to you if you do not want to.
And in most cases, at any time you can choose not to continue to pursue a particular TAC entitlement.
The word however in relation to this. There are time limits involved in relation to TAC claims.
For example in most cases people are entitled to the payment of income benefits for three years post accident or three years from when an injury first manifests itself after an accident.
If you want to read more about the time limits involved you can visit this page.
In just about every case in which a person has been involved in a motor vehicle accident where they have suffered an injury, we would recommend they lodge a TAC claim.
Victorians pay for TAC injury insurance coverage in their yearly vehicle registration fees and the TAC component makes up a significant part of this.
A person is able to get assistance from the TAC in the form of medical expenses paid for, income benefits if their ability to work is impacted, and a potential entitlement to lump sum compensation claims.
There are some factors in a TAC claim that some people might find inconvenient such as having to obtain certificates of capacity from a doctor on a regular basis if they wish to obtain income payments, or issues with obtaining reimbursement for medical expenses from the TAC.
These factors should be considered against the assistance that the TAC in general can provide to a person.