When to get a lawyer after a car accident (Vic)
In this post, we are looking at getting a lawyer for a potential TAC claim.
If you are being sued or being asked to pay an amount of money in relation to property damage from a car accident, then you should consult your insurer if you have one.
If you don’t have an insurer, you should contact a lawyer unless you’re very confident that you can handle the matter yourself.
If you are facing potential criminal charges or an interview by the police, you should get legal advice as soon as possible as to your options.
Now we’ve dealt with those scenarios, let’s look at when it would be a good idea to get a lawyer after a car accident, if you’ve been injured in that accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident
The answer to that question is going to depend firstly on how bad the injuries from the accident are.
If you’ve lodged a claim with the TAC for minor injuries as a precaution, then you may potentially never need a lawyer.
For example, you’re car is rear-ended by another driver.
You’re shaken up and have a very sore knee because it hit the steering wheel in the collision.
You lodge a claim with the TAC because you’re not sure how bad the injury is.
3 months later, there’s no ongoing pain or restriction and you don’t need any more medical treatment.
TAC have paid your medical bills and any time off work.
In relation to time off work, even if your injuries seem relatively minor but you need some time off work, you should carefully review how your loss of earnings payments have been calculated.
If it doesn’t seem right to you, you can consult a lawyer to look into that issue for you.
Other times you might need a lawyer is if the TAC make a decision you don’t agree with.
Lets say they reduce or stop some of the medical treatment you are having, or refuse to pay for a surgery you and your doctor think you need.
Otherwise, the main time that you need to get a lawyer in a TAC matter is when you have injuries that are more than temporary.
You can speak to a lawyer to get an idea as to whether your injuries might be bad enough to claim a lump sum, either through the TAC “no fault” impairment process and potentially a serious injury/common law claim.
The TAC does in some matters arrange medical assessments themselves to assess your level of impairment and then pay a lump sum to you based on those assessments.
In rare cases they will even offer you money for common law damages even if you don’t have a lawyer.
Certainly if your impairment claim is relatively straightforward, for example, you have a lumbar spine injury that is accepted by the TAC, no other injuries and no unusual circumstances, you can negotiate with a potential lawyer for lower fees for representing you in an impairment claim.
There will be a lower level of complexity and less work required than in some other matters.
It’s important to have a lawyer for both of the process, and it’s in our opinion essential for a common law claim.
It’s very difficult for someone that’s not regularly working on TAC common law claims to have an idea of what a claim is worth.
It can also be difficult to separate the emotion of the accident and injuries from the potential value of a claim that a judge or jury might decide.
If you or a loved one clearly have serious injuries, then at least getting legal advice at an early stage is a good idea.
You might do this once the initial intensive rehabilitation period is finished and you have some more time to focus on other things.
There’s no need to speak to a lawyer about a TAC claim immediately after an accident, but you can of course do that if you want to.
If there are no other issues than claiming a lump sum, then a lawyer isn’t realistically able to start preparing that claim until after your injuries are stable, or mostly stable.
The TAC generally expects this to be 12 months after the accident, at a minimum.