Motorcycle accident compensation claims (Vic)
This page explores the issue of compensation if you’ve been involved in a motorbike accident.
What compensation am I entitled to if involved in a motorcycle accident in Victoria?
If you are involved in a motorbike accident, you may be entitled to pursue compensation via a TAC claim.
The TAC will pay compensation to a person who suffered injury in a motorbike accident (or to the dependent of a person who dies as a result of the motorbike accident) that occurred in Victoria or alternatively, that occurred in a state of Victoria with a Victorian registered vehicle and the injured person is a resident in Victoria or alternatively it was riding a Victorian registered motorbike.
You might not be aware of this, but when you registered your vehicle, part of the total cost is for TAC insurance.
This covers you in case of accident.
In order to obtain compensation after a motor vehicle accident, you need to lodge a TAC claim.
Once the TAC claim has been accepted, you can potentially be entitled to claim the following;
- Payment of medical and like expenses.
- The payment of income benefits for up to 3 years post accident (sometimes more in limited circumstances.
- An impairment lump sum claim if you have suffered permanent impairment as a consequence of the motorbike accident.
- Common law claim for damages if someone else was at fault for the accident and you suffered a serious injury.
Do I need to show fault in a motorbike accident to obtain compensation?
No. You do not have to show that someone else was at fault for the motorbike accident in order to lodge a TAC claim.
Even if you were at fault for the accident, for example, even if you were involved in a single vehicle accident, you’re able to pursue a TAC claim.
You do not need to show fault (or you could be at fault) to obtain medical expenses, income replacement benefits or an impairment benefit lump sum claim if you’ve suffered permanent impairment.
These are called no fault entitlements and they are open to anyone to access if they’ve been involved in a motorbike accident.
Remember, you do not need to show that another party was at fault for the motorbike accident order to claim these three TAC entitlements.
It’s important to also remember and keep in mind that if you were at fault for the accident, you are entitled, in many cases, claim the same no fault entitlements and the same amounts that a person would be entitled to if they were involved in a motorbike accident that was not their fault.
However, if you wish to pursue a common law claim for damages, which is a lump sum claim, then you do need to show that someone else was at fault for the accident.
You would also need to show that in the motorbike accident you suffered a serious injury.
You can read more about common law claims here.
What if I was partially to blame for the accident?
In most cases, as mentioned above, you’ll still be entitled to make a TAC claim and obtain payment for medical expenses, income payments and an impairment benefit lump sum.
However, when it comes to a common law claim, something called contributory negligence is relevant.
Contributory negligence will not stop you from pursuing a common law damages claim, but it will reduce what you may be entitled to.
Here’s an example of how contributory negligence works: let’s say that it is determined that the other party was 80% responsible for the accident, and you were 20% responsible.
This would mean that your lump sum would be reduced based on the level of fault.
Regardless as to the circumstances however, you should never automatically assume that you were at fault in a collision.
Even if you made an error, such as breaking suddenly or failing to indicate, your mistake could’ve been entirely irrelevant to the actual cause of the accident.
Determining fault in an accident can sometimes be very tricky and court cases can be run solely on the issue of negligence and fault.
What about dirt bike riding or trail bike riding?
As mentioned above, when you register your motorbike, a part of what you’re paying for is TAC insurance.
But what about dirt bikes which are usually ridden off road?
Well, if your motorbike is registered, then you are covered in case of an accident that occurs on a public road – as is anyone that rides that bike and who suffers injury on a public road.
If your motorbike is not registered but you’re involved in an accident on a public road, then you are also covered (however the benefits that the TAC will pay you are restricted).
If your motorbike is unregistered and was involved in an accident on a private road rather than a public road, then generally speaking you will not be entitled to TAC compensation, nor will anyone else that might of been riding the bike.
Keep in mind however that you can register a motorbike for recreational use and in this case you would be covered by TAC coverage if you suffer an injury on private land.
You can read more about accidents on private land here.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents
Ask any motorbike rider about why they ride a motorbike and excitement would probably be at the top of the list.
Riding a motorbike is an exciting way to experience the road in a way that is unmatched by driving a car.
However, riding a motorbike does come with serious risk.
While cars have airbags and seatbelts and metal to protect people in the event of an accident, motorbike riders aren’t afforded the same luxuries.
Motorbike riders need to be extra vigilant on the road and take precautions to reduce risks.
But even when doing everything perfectly, accidents can happen.
And unfortunately, accidents involving motorcycle riders can often result in severe and debilitating injuries or possibly even death.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents in Victoria are;
- Failure of car drivers to check for blind spots before turning or changing lanes.
- Aggressive driving by car drivers and failing to give motorcycle riders adequate space.
- Distracted driving.
- Driving under the influence.
- Poorly maintained roads or poorly designed roads.
- Failing to abide by traffic signals.
- Excessive speed.
What to do if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident
1. Ensure that you are out of harms way as much as possible. This means moving out of the path of oncoming traffic if you’re able to.
2. If you are able to, obtain the contact details of any other parties involved in the accident, as well any people who may have witnessed the accident or the aftermath of the accident.
Try and obtain names, phone numbers, car registration details, addresses and insurance information.
3. Don’t delay calling 000 for assistance.
4. Use your phone to take pictures or videos of the accident scene.
5. If you are not at fault for the accident, don’t apologise.
6. Don’t get into an argument or be confrontational with other people that might be involved in the accident. This might be difficult but it will usually not help.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, either on a public road or on private land, you should contact the TAC and ask to initiate a claim.
Remember that another party does not need to be at fault for the accident for you to make a claim following a motorcycle accident. Even if no other party is at fault, you still may be entitled to obtain payment for your medical and like expenses, income benefits and potentially an impairment lump sum claim.
If another party was at fault for the motorcycle accident, then you may also potentially be able to claim compensation via a common law lump sum claim.
If you were partially at fault for the motorcycle accident and another party was partially at fault, you may still be entitled to claim common law damages, but the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced.