Claiming compensation for a car accident (Vic)
This page will describe how you can go about claiming compensation following a car accident in Victoria.
Claiming compensation if you suffered injury
If you have suffered injury in a car accident, you may be entitled to pursue a TAC claim and obtain assistance from the TAC if you meet the eligibility criteria.
After the accident, if you’ve suffered injury or the there is the potential for injury you should lodge a TAC claim as soon as possible.
If you’re not sure whether the TAC claim is right for you, then you can visit this page.
In a nutshell however, in almost all cases we recommend the lodgement of a TAC claim where a person has suffered injury or there is the potential that injury was suffered.
Many people are unaware that every time they pay their vehicle registration, a portion of the total fee goes to the TAC. This is essentially insurance that people are paying for in the event they are involved in a car accident so they have coverage if they suffer injury.
The TAC component makes up quite a significant amount of the overall amount.
So for this reason, if you’re on the fence about whether to lodge a TAC claim remember that you’ve been paying for TAC insurance every year that you’ve been registering your vehicle.
To read more about this you can do so here.
To lodge a TAC claim, you can visit this page for step-by-step instructions.
In a nutshell, there are three ways that are TAC claim can be lodged.
You can telephone the TAC and lodge a claim over the phone, you can lodge a claim via the TAC online portal or if you were hospitalised after the car accident then it is possible that the hospital lodged a TAC claim on your behalf.
Many times if hospitals lodge a TAC claim on behalf of someone and that person doesn’t get told.
If you would like to lodge a TAC claim you do not need to contact the other driver involved in the accident (if there was one).
You simply need to get in touch with the TAC and initiate the claim.
Once the claim has been lodged the TAC will determine the claim.
They will either accept or reject the claim.
If the claim is accepted, then you are entitled the payment of medical and like expenses from the TAC.
Can read about how medical expenses work here.
In order to claim medical expenses, you can pay for the particular medical expense yourself and then seek reimbursement from the TAC or alternatively in some instances you can provide your TAC claim number to the provider (e.g. general practitioner, physiotherapist, pharmacist, psychologist) and request that they send their account off to the TAC for payment directly.
Please note however that some providers will not do this and instead prefer for people to pay and seek reimbursement from the TAC themselves.
Also note that in relation to claiming some particular types of medical expenses, you will need preapproval from the TAC first. You should visit the page referred to above further information in relation to this.
If your ability to work has been impacted, whether that means you can’t work at all or you can only work some of what you were working prior to the accident, you will likely be entitled to the payment of income benefits from the TAC.
You can read about how income benefits work here.
In order to claim income benefits, the TAC will need pay material to establish your average earnings over the 12 months that you’ve been employed prior to the accident.
They may request copies of payslips, tax returns or other information from your employer to determine the appropriate amount to pay you.
Also, in order to claim income benefits you will need to obtain certificates of capacity. These are specialised TAC medical certificates which can read about in detail here.
Claiming sum compensation from the TAC
There are two potential lump sum claims under the TAC scheme that you may be entitled to pursue after a car accident.
The first is called an impairment benefit.
Can read all about impairment benefits here.
An impairment benefit is a lump sum claim for permanent impairment that a person is able to pursue once any injuries suffered in the accident have stabilised.
Any injuries are then assessed by specialists who put percentage figures on them which then get combined into one overall percentage figure. This percentage figure then get matched up to a compensation amount.
It’s important to note that you do not need to prove fault on behalf of another party in order to succeed in a impairment benefit.
Any compensation you receive if another party was not at fault will be the same as what you would receive if another party was at fault.
If you are legally represented (and it is our opinion that you should be if you wish to pursue an impairment claim) then your lawyer will organise appointments for you to be assessed by the appropriate medical practitioners.
They will also complete and lodge the impairment claim form.
If you are not legally represented, the TAC will send you correspondence in relation to an impairment benefit and if you would like to pursue it they will organise the medical assessments for you.
The second lump sum claim is called a common law claim for damages which you can read about here.
Unlike an impairment benefit lump sum claim, to succeed in a common law claim you need to show that another party was at fault in some way for the accident.
You also need to show that you suffered a serious injury in the accident.
You can be compensated for pain and suffering and loss of earnings.
In order to claim common law claim for damages, the first step is for your injuries to stabilise.
The next step is to then lodge a serious injury application which is an application that includes the following material; an affidavit, serious injury application form, medical material both from treating practitioners and medical assessors and any other supporting material.
It’s then up to the TAC to determine whether to accept or reject the serious injury application.
Common law claims can resolve within a matter of months after lodgement of the serious injury application.
However sometimes they can take years to resolve. It really depends upon how contested the matter is on behalf of the TAC.
Who pays the compensation
The compensation is payable by the TAC. This is all compensation under the TAC’s system.
Even a common law claim, which requires proving that another party was negligent for the accident, is payable by the TAC and not the other party.
If you have suffered injury in a car accident, you may be entitled to TAC benefits and we would recommend the lodgement of a TAC in almost all cases.
To initiate a claim you need to contact the TAC and lodge a claim either over the phone or using the online claim lodgement portal.
In some cases a claim will have been lodged on your behalf by the hospital if you were hospitalised after the accident.
You can claim medical expenses from the TAC once your claim is accepted and you can do so by submitting any accounts to the TAC or having the provider send accounts to the TAC on your behalf quoting your claim number.
You can claim income benefits if your ability to work has been impacted. You will need to obtain certificates of capacity and you’ll also need to supply pay information to to the TAC so they can determine the appropriate amounts to pay you.
You may claim impairment benefit if you’ve suffered permanent impairment following the accident.
If you have legal representation then your lawyer will organise appointments for you to be assessed by doctors who will put percentage figures on your injuries which will then be combined into one overall figure. Your lawyer will also complete the necessary impairment claim documentation and lodge it on your behalf.
If you do not have legal representation then the TAC will contact you and if you want to proceed with the claim they will organise appointments for you to be medically assessed.
In order to claim common law claim for damages the first step is to prepare and lodge a serious injury application which contains a number of different documents in support of your application.