Injured in a car accident while working (Vic)
If you were injured in a car accident while you were working, you may be wondering whether you can obtain assistance from the TAC or from WorkCover.
This page should help clarify things for you.
Your no fault entitlements will likely be through WorkCover
If the car accident happened while you were working (and not in one of the scenarios below) then you’re no fault entitlements will be paid through WorkCover and not the TAC.
What are the WorkCover no fault entitlements?
The first no fault entitlement under WorkCover is the payment of reasonable medical and like expenses.
If you need medical treatment for the injuries that you suffered in the car accident, then many of those expenses will be paid for by the WorkCover insurer.
The second no fault entitlement is weekly payments.
If your ability to work has been impacted, meaning you are not able to work at all or you’re only able to work for example reduced hours, then you’ll be entitled to the payment of weekly payments from the WorkCover insurer.
The WorkCover insurer will pay you based on your pre-injury average weekly earnings.
This is sometimes referred to as PIAWE.
This is an average of your earnings over the 12 months prior to the accident. If you were not employed for 12 months with an employer, than an average of whatever period you were employed with that particular employer.
You’ll be paid at the rate of 95% for the first 13 weeks, and thereafter you’ll be paid at 80%.
You can be paid for a total of 130 weeks.
In some cases you can be paid in addition to 130 weeks if you can show that you’ve got no work capacity and this is likely to continue indefinitely.
This is a very difficult test for people to meet.
If you were getting paid overtime or shift allowances prior to the accident then you will be entitled to factor these in to your pre injury average weekly earnings calculations for the first 52 weeks but not thereafter.
Another no fault entitlement under the WorkCover scheme that you may be able to claim is an impairment benefit claim.
In order to pursue an impairment claim, your injuries need to be stabilised – in that they’re not getting any better and not getting any worse.
A whole person impairment rating needs to be determined by way of a medical assessment or medical assessments.
The whole person impairment rating will determine how much you will be entitled to be paid by way of compensation under this claim.
How do I lodge a WorkCover claim?
In order to initiate a WorkCover claim, you’ll need to complete and lodge a WorkCover claim form.
You can obtain a WorkCover claim form from the Victorian WorkCover authority, your local post office, your union or your lawyer.
Once lodged the claim form has been lodged, it will then be determined by the insurer and either accepted or rejected.
If your claim is accepted then you’ll be entitled to the payment of medical expenses and potentially weekly payments and if you wish you can pursue an impairment benefit claim down the track.
If your claim is rejected then you can appeal the rejection to conciliation.
Common law entitlement will likely be through the TAC
While your no fault entitlements will be the responsibility of the WorkCover insurer if you suffer injury in a car accident while you are working, any common law entitlement will be under the TAC scheme.
If you want to read about common law you can do so here.
In a nutshell, a common law claim is a lump sum claim where you must prove that you suffered a serious injury in the accident and that the injury was contributed to by someone else’s negligence.
In order to pursue a common law claim claim should have a lawyer.
To initiate a common law claim, you first need to lodge a serious injury application.
If you succeed in a common law claim, you can be compensated for pain and suffering and loss of earnings both to the date of settlement and into the future.
What if the car accident happened on my way to or from work?
If the accident happened on your way to or from work, then the TAC will likely be responsible for the payment of all benefits and not WorkCover.
What is the accident happened during a lunch break or authorised recess?
In this case, then it would likely be the responsibility of WorkCover to pay you any benefits and not the TAC.
What if the accident happened on after work hours but in a work car?
In this case, the fact that the accident occurred in a work car does not make a difference. Your entitlements would be the responsibility of the TAC and not WorkCover.
The general position is that if you were involved in a car accident you suffered injury while you were working, your no fault entitlements will be paid by WorkCover and any common law entitlement will be the responsibility of the TAC.
If you were injured in a car accident either on your way to or from work, then the TAC will be responsible for all benefits paid.
If you’re injured during your lunch break or other authorised break from work, then WorkCover will be responsible for paying any benefits.
The bottom line is that it can sometimes be difficult to work out where to get assistance from after a work related car accident. For this reason, you should ensure to get legal advice to ensure you’re on the right track.