What is TAC whole person impairment?
During the course of your TAC claim, you may come across the term whole person impairment.
Whole person impairment (or WPI) refers to a percentage figure given to injuries or conditions following an assessment of the degree of permanent impairment.
Doctors who have undergone specialised training review any injuries or conditions related to the motor vehicle accident, and essentially put a percentage figure on each one.
All of these figures then get combined into one overall figure, which is called your whole person impairment rating.
For the purposes of your TAC matter, there are three instances in which you are most likely to come across the term ‘whole person impairment’.
- In relation to an impairment claim
- In relation to weekly payments
- In relation to a serious injury application
Whole person impairment and impairment claims
If in a motor vehicle accident you suffer some sort of permanent impairment then you are entitled to pursue an impairment claim.
This is a lump sum claim.
You do not need to show that anyone else caused the accident in order to pursue an impairment claim (that is, you don’t need to prove negligence).
It is called a no fault claim.
What happens is that once all the injuries and conditions that you suffered in the motor vehicle accident have stabilised, in that they are not getting any better or worse, then you are able to lodge an impairment claim.
An impairment claim will need to be supported by impairment assessments.
These are medical reports that have been completed by specially trained doctors who assess all of your injuries and conditions and put percentage figures on them.
As mentioned above, all of these figures then get combined into one overall figure, called your whole person impairment rating.
The doctors that assess you will assess you in accordance with the American Medical Association Guide to Permanent Impairment (4th edition).
This is a book that outlines how injuries and conditions are to be assessed.
Your whole it’s an impairment is what your impairment claim is based on.
Your whole person impairment rating will correspond to a compensation amount. The greater your whole person impairment rating is, the greater the compensation amount will be.
To be entitled to an impairment claim under via the TAC, you must be assessed as having whole person impairment rating greater then 10%.
If you have gone through the impairment assessment process and you’re not happy with what the TAC has offered you, taking into account the medical assessments, then you are able to appeal the assessment.
Whole person impairment and common law claims
A common law claim is a lump sum claim open to a person to pursue if they have been involved in an accident and there was negligence on behalf of another party.
In order to succeed in a common law claim, other than showing negligence an injured person needs to show that they suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident.
One way that a person can show that they have a serious injury is if, for the purposes of their impairment claim (referred to above), they have been assessed as having a 30% or greater whole person impairment rating.
If you are assessed as having a 30% or greater whole person impairment, then you are considered as having a serious injury and you should be provided with a serious injury certificate.
Whole person impairment and income benefits
If as a consequence of a transport accident your ability to work is impacted, you are able to obtain income benefits from the TAC.
For the first 18 months post accident, the TAC will pay you loss of earnings benefits.
After 18 months they will pay you watch called loss of earning capacity benefits.
Loss of earning capacity benefits in most cases will cease at three years post accident.
However, if you have been assessed as having a 50% or greater whole person impairment rating and you continue to be incapacitated for work, then you are entitled to be paid income benefits beyond the three year period.
In the circumstances, the TAC will generally perform a review of your whole person impairment every five years.
Whole person impairment is a percentage figure that is given to injuries or conditions suffered in an accident.
You may come across the term whole person impairment in a number of instances during your TAC claim.
These are: in relation to an impairment claim, a common law claim and in relation to income benefit payments.