Injured in a car accident that was my fault
Even though the accident was your fault, you still may be entitled to assistance from the TAC if you’ve suffered an injury in an accident.
This is because TAC in Victoria is both a no fault and fault scheme.
This means that in order to claim some entitlements, you do not need to show fault on behalf of another party.
These entitlements are the payment of medical and like expenses, weekly payments and an impairment benefit lump sum.
In order to claim common law damages under the TAC scheme, you need to show that another party was at fault.
No fault required for initial claim
In order to obtain TAC compensation after an accident you need to lodge a TAC claim.
It’s important to keep in mind that fault is not relevant to whether a TAC claim will be accepted or not.
You could be at fault for a road accident and you are still be entitled to have a TAC claim accepted and claim many of the same benefits that a person that was not at fault is entitled to claim.
Lodge a TAC claim
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, even if it was your fault you should consider lodging a TAC claim.
If your claim is accepted then you’ll be entitled to the payment of medical and like expenses and if your ability to work has been impacted, whether that means you can work only a partial basis or you can’t work at all, you’ll be entitled to the payment of income payments potentially for up to 3 years post accident (and in a limited number of cases, beyond three years).
There are instances in which fault can impact on your TAC entitlements
The TAC does not need to pay loss of earnings benefits for the first 18 months post accident if a person was driving under the influence, unless that did not contribute to the accident. Compensation for loss of earnings can also be reduced depending upon the level of alcohol in the blood or breath.
The TAC does not need to pay loss of earnings benefits for the first 18 months post accident if a person was the driver or a passenger in a motor vehicle being used for or in connection with or in the commission of an indictable offence.
If other people were injured in the accident
If other people are injured in the accident, whether those people were in the car that you might have been driving or in another vehicle, those people are also entitled to pursue TAC claims.
If you were at least in someway responsible for the accident and another party brings a TAC common law claim (where you need to show fault on behalf of another party) you may be named as the at fault party but in most cases will not be required to pay any compensation to any other injured people.
This is because the TAC is your insurance company and you have been paying for paying TAC insurance as part of your vehicle registration yearly fee.
It does not matter whether another party is entitled to $10,000 or 10 times that amount, you will not be required to pay any compensation to any injured people following an accident.
Was another party also at fault?
While you may be at fault for an accident, was another party also partially at fault?
So for example, you may have failed to give way at an intersection but the other party may have been eating and not paying attention to the road.
In this example both parties are at some way at fault for the accident.
The no fault entitlements, as mentioned above, will not be impacted by the fact that another party was in some way at fault for the accident.
But you may be entitled to pursue a common law claim even if you were at fault for the accident and another party was also at fault.
If both parties are found to be at fault then the concept of contributory negligence applies.
This basically means is that any settlement amount will be reduced taking into account the extent of each parties negligence.
So for example if you were found to be 40% responsible for the accident and the other party 60%, then the amount of compensation payable to you would be reduced by 40%.
If you’ve been involved in an accident on the road that was your fault and you suffered injury, you still may be able to obtain assistance from the TAC.
TAC has both no fault and fault based entitlements.
If you were at fault for the accident you still may be entitled to pursue the payment of medical expenses, income payments and an impairment benefit lump sum.
There are some cases however in which fault will impact your entitlements.
However it’s always worthwhile contacting the TAC after an accident in which you suffered injury and discussing the matter with them or alternatively seeking legal advice.
If another party was also at fault for the accident then you may be entitled to pursue common law damages and the concept of contributory negligence may apply. Any compensation that you are awarded by way of a common law claim would be reduced by taking into account the level of negligence of both parties.