Pedestrian accidents (Vic)
Do you know what your rights are if you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian involving a car or other motor vehicle?
Injuries sustained by pedestrians can be severe, and these types of accidents are unfortunately common in Australia.
This page will explain what you need to know if you are a pedestrian that is injured in a motor vehicle accident in the state of Victoria.
Common injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents
Anyone walking down the street or in public could be at risk of a pedestrian accident.
And a simple fall can lead to serious head or spinal injuries. Common injuries sustained include;
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Trauma to the head or face
- Shoulder injuries
There are certain members of the community who might be at greater risk of serious injury in these types of accidents, usually older adults and children.
What should I do if I’m involved in an accident as a pedestrian?
If you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian in Victoria, the most important thing to do after the accident is to seek medical care and attention.
If you suffer an injury, then you should contact triple zero as soon as possible or ask someone to contact them for you.
Even low impact accidents can result in serious trauma.
And even if you feel okay, you should ensure that you are evaluated by a doctor.
It is sometimes the case after motor vehicle accidents, you may feel okay immediately after the accident however in the days following you may notice pain.
Particularly if there is the potential for injury to the spine or brain, you should ensure to see a doctor as soon as possible without delay.
After a pedestrian accident, you should try and gather as much information as you can
The following information is important;
- The name and contact information of anyone involved including any witnesses
- The number plates of any vehicles involved
- If you have your phone with you and you are able to do so, taking photos or videos of the accident scene as well as your injuries may be helpful.
Ensure the accident is reported to police
If you’re involved in an accident as a pedestrian then you should ensure that the incident is reported to police.
If police attend the scene then you do not need to worry about reporting it however if they did not attend the scene then you should contact your local police station as soon as possible and let them know as many details about the accident as you can.
If you are not feeling up to contacting the police and reporting the incident then you should ask a friend or family member to do it on your behalf.
How is fault determined after a pedestrian accident?
Usually in a pedestrian accident, it is the driver of the vehicle who is at fault but this is not always the case. Factors to consider when determining who is at fault in a pedestrian accident include;
- Was the driver of the vehicle speeding?
- Did they fail to give way or stop when required?
- Were they distracted whilst driving?
- Were they driving under the influence
- Was the pedestrian not paying attention to the road?
- Did the pedestrian cross the road when they were not supposed to?
- Was the pedestrian not visible enough? This is particularly relevant if they were walking at night
- Was the pedestrian a intoxicated at the time of the accident.
This is an important point; even if you were at fault for the accident the law says in Victoria in Victoria that you are able to still lodge a TAC claim and obtain assistance.
What compensation am I entitled to as a pedestrian?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian, then you are entitled to pursue a TAC claim.
In general, you will be entitled to claim the following;
- The payment medical expenses
- Income replacement benefits if you are not able to work to the same degree that you were working before the accident occurred
- An impairment benefit lump sum if as a consequence of the accident you have suffered permanent impairment
- A common-law claim for damages. You can only succeed in a common law claim for damages if someone else was at fault for the accident. You are also able to pursue a common law claim for damages if the other party was at fault and you were also at fault in some way. This is called contributory negligence.
You can read more about what the TAC covers here.
How long do I have to lodge a TAC claim after a pedestrian accident?
A TAC claim should be lodged as soon as possible after an accident, and within 12 months from the date of accident.
It is best to lodge the claim as soon as possible after the accident occurs because a TAC claim will provide you with assistance to help you get back on your feet and recover from the accident.
How do I lodge a TAC claim after a pedestrian accident?
There are three ways at a TAC claim can be lodged. For an in-depth explanation as to how to lodge a TAC claim visit this page.
The first way that a TAC claim can be lodged is to contact the TAC over the phone and tell them you wish to lodge a claim. They will then assist you through the process.
The second way a TAC claim can be lodged is using the online form.
The third way the TAC claim can be lodged is by a hospital if you were admitted after the accident. Sometimes hospitals will lodge TAC claim on behalf of people that are admitted to hospital to ensure that any treatment related expenses get paid for.
What if the driver is unidentified?
You can still lodge a TAC claim and you should be entitled to the same no fault entitlements as if the driver was known.
If you intend to pursue a common law claim for damages for your injuries sustained in the accident, then you need to put the TAC on notice that the driver is unidentified and that you intend to bring a common law claim.
If this is applicable to you then we would strongly suggest that you obtain legal advice for assistance.
How long will a TAC claim take if I was involved in a pedestrian accident?
This depends upon what you are claiming but lodging the initial claim is a fairly straightforward and quick process.
Once your claim is lodged, the TAC will make a decision on the claim fairly quickly (within a few weeks).
You can then claim the cost of any medical expenses you need to treat the injuries that you suffered in the accident and you can also claim loss of earnings benefits if you’re not able to work or if your ability to work is restricted.
You are able to obtain income benefits for up to three years post accident. In some cases people are able to obtain income benefits after the three year period, but they need to be assessed as having a 50% whole person impairment rating or greater relevant to their impairment benefit lump sum claim. Not many people get assessed as having a 50% or greater whole person impairment rating.
In relation to how long and impairment benefit claim can take, before lodging a claim your injuries need to be stabilised. The general guideline is 12 months post accident at least before an injury can be considered stable.
Usually this claim resolves within a matter of months however it does require you to be assessed by specially trained doctors who will grade your injuries.
In relation to how long a common law claim for damages may take, this depends upon a number of factors but generally speaking if negligence is not an issue and if you have suffered a serious injury, your matter can resolve within a matter of months after lodgement of the application.
If negligence is disputed then obviously your matter may take longer to resolve.
Again, your injuries need to be stable before you can lodge the application as mentioned above in relation to the impairment claim.
If you’ve been involved in an accident as a pedestrian involving a motor vehicle, you’re likely entitled to assistance from the TAC and you should lodge a TAC claim as soon as possible.