Can you claim for trauma from a car accident?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that entitles you to TAC assistance, you might be wondering whether you can claim for trauma from that accident.
This page will explore this issue further.
What is trauma?
Trauma can be defined as severe and lasting emotional shock and pain caused by an extremely upsetting experience. Also, physical injury, usually caused by an accident.
For the purposes of an initial TAC claim, the answer in general is that yes you can claim for trauma.
The injury or condition itself that was sustained in the accident is not a relevant consideration when it comes to having a TAC claim accepted.
You just need to have an injury or condition.
The act that covers TAC claims, the Transport Accident Act, defines an injury as either a physical or mental injury, which includes nervous shock suffered by person who is directly involved in an accident.
In addition to this, it also involves a person who might have witnessed an accident or the aftermath of an accident.
Whether a person suffered a physical injury in an accident, or a mental injury or a combination of both, it does not matter for the purposes of lodging and having a TAC claim accepted.
The other thing worth mentioning in relation to the acceptance of an initial TAC claim and claiming for trauma is that a person does not need to show that another party was at fault for the accident to have a TAC claim accepted.
Trauma and medial and like expenses
Once a TAC claim has been accepted, one entitlement that a person can access is the payment of medical and like expenses.
If they have suffered trauma in the form of a physical injury, then they are able to obtain payment for medical expenses to treat that physical injury (or injuries).
Whether that means GP attendances, physiotherapist treatment, orthopaedic surgeon attendances or surgery, chiropractic treatment, or a range of other treatments.
Also, if you’ve suffered a mental type injury the TAC will cover such things as psychologist or psychiatrist treatment, counselling expenses, medication etc.
To read about the payment of medical and like expenses you can do so in detail here.
Trauma and income payments
Another entitlement once you have an accepted TAC claim is the payment of income payments.
If your ability to work has been impacted, whether you can’t work at all or whether you can only work in a restricted capacity, you may be entitled to claim income payments from the TAC.
If you’ve suffered trauma in an accident, again whether that be physical, mental or a combination of the two, you are entitled potentially to the payment of income payments.
You’ll just to obtain certificates of capacity certifying you as either having no work capacity for employment, or a capacity for modified/suitable duties.
There just needs to be an impact on your ability to work.
To read about income payments we can do so here.
Trauma and an impairment lump sum
A further entitlement once you have an accepted TAC claim is an impairment benefit lump sum which you you read about here.
This is a lump sum where a person can be compensated for permanent impairment following an accident.
All of the injuries and conditions that you suffered in the accident should be assessed by appropriate doctors who put percentage figures on each of the injuries or conditions and the percentage figures then get combined into one overall whole person impairment rating figure called your whole person impairment rating.
In relation to trauma in an accident, under an impairment you can take into account both physical trauma and psychological trauma.
That is, any physical injuries that you suffered in the accident and any psychological injuries or conditions that you suffered in the accident.
One thing to note in relation to psychological injuries is the distinction between primary psychiatric injury and secondary psychiatric injury.
With an impairment claim, primary psychological injury can be taken into account but secondary psychological injury cannot.
An example of primary psychological injury would be if you were involved in the car accident and as a consequence you suffered post traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of the accident.
An example of secondary psychological injury would be if you suffered a physical injury in the car accident, and that as a consequence and secondary to that physical injury, you developed depression.
Trauma and common law claims
The final entitlement under a under the TAC scheme is a common law claim.
You can read about common law claims here.
You are entitled to be compensated for trauma by way of a common law claim.
Again, you can be compensated for physical trauma and you can be compensated for psychological trauma.
If you’ve suffered trauma from a car accident, you are able to claim compensation via a number of TAC entitlements.
This is the case whether the trauma that you suffered in the accident is physical, mental, or a combination of the two.