What happens if you get hurt in a car accident (Vic)?
If you get hurt in a car accident in Victoria, there’s a number of options open to you if you need assistance.
You should lodge a TAC claim
If you have been hurt in a car accident, you should lodge a TAC claim as soon as possible.
Most people that are injured in motor vehicle accidents in Victoria will likely be entitled to compensation from the TAC.
The TAC actually covers a wide range of accidents that occur in different scenarios and you should visit this page if you are unsure as to whether your accident may be covered.
One important thing that you should keep in mind if you are not convinced that a TAC claim is the right option for you, consider the fact that TAC is insurance.
It is insurance that you have paid for, possibly for many years.
Every year that you pay your vehicle registration fee, a part of that fee is for TAC insurance. It actually makes up a significant part of the overall fee.
So if you’ve been a driver for a number of years, you could potentially have paid thousands of dollars in TAC insurance coverage.
So if you’re injured, you should utilise your TAC insurance for assistance.
It doesn’t matter whether the injury is minor or severe
For the purposes of a TAC claim, it doesn’t matter whether you have a minor injury or a severe injury.
The severity of the injury is irrelevant when it comes to the acceptance of the claim.
Fault is not relevant
This comes as a surprise to many people. However, when it comes to having a TAC claim accepted, fault is not relevant.
What this means is that you do not need to show that another party was at fault for the accident in which you were hurt in order to pursue TAC compensation.
You could, for example, be driving your vehicle and fall asleep at the wheel and drive off the road and suffer injury.
And if this was the case, you could still lodge and have accepted a TAC claim.
The issue of fault it’s only relevant in relation to one aspect of a TAC claim and that is in relation to a common law claim which is a lump sum claim described in detail here.
To succeed in that claim you need to show that another party was at fault.
You do not need to be the driver
You could be a passenger in the vehicle and be entitled to the same compensation as what you would be entitled to if you were the driver of the vehicle.
You do not need to be the driver of the vehicle in order to be entitled to compensation.
How to lodge a claim
This page takes you through how to lodge a TAC claim and describes various ways that a TAC claim can be lodged.
In a nutshell, here are the ways that a TAC claim can be lodged.
The first way that you can lodge a claim, and probably the best way in our opinion, is to telephone the TAC and tell them that you’ve been involved in an accident and that you want to lodge a new TAC claim. They will assist you over the phone.
The second way is to use the TAC‘s online claim lodgement form.
The third way is that if you were hospitalised after an accident, in some instances the hospital will lodge a TAC claim on people‘s behalf. They do this to ensure that all relevant medical expenses get paid.
So sometimes TAC claims have been lodged for people but they are not aware of it.
Once your TAC claim has been accepted
You’ll be entitled to the payment of medical expenses.
So any recent medical expenses related to the accident, you will be entitled to claim.
You can read about medical expenses here.
If you needed to take an ambulance to hospital after the accident, the TAC will likely be responsible for paying the cost of this ambulance regardless as to whether you have ambulance cover or not.
So you should ensure to get the treatment that you need because a TAC claim is designed to assist you to get the treatment that you require and get you back on your feet.
Many people do not utilise a TAC claim to the extent that they should in terms of claiming medical and like expenses.
So for example, if you need modifications to a car or your home after the accident then this is something that TAC can potentially pay for.
If for example you suffer a hand injury or an arm injury and you have trouble doing the vacuuming, and you currently use a vacuum that you need to plug in and drag around, TAC can pay for a lighter, handheld vacuum cleaner.
Likewise, if you have trouble for example using a petrol whipper snipper they may agree to replace that with an electric one because it is lighter and easier for you to use.
So there are a range of things that the TAC can potentially pay for and you should utilise the TAC claim by claiming for items and services that might assist you.
Remember that you have paid for TAC insurance coverage.
If your ability to work has been impacted the TAC will pay for income benefits and you can read about those here.
There’s also two potential lump sum claims under the TAC scheme.
The first is called an impairment benefit in the second is called a common law claim for damages.
If you or ability to work has been impacted and is likely to be impacted into the future, you can potentially be compensated for your loss of earnings.
This is in addition to obtaining compensation for pain and suffering.
It is worth noting in relation to TAC compensation that even if another party was at fault for the accident and you got hurt, they will not be required to pay any compensation to you.
This is because they will likely have been paying their vehicle registration which will mean that they have been indemnified by the TAC. That is, the TAC is their insurer as it is yours.
You get one go at a TAC claim
Once you go through the TAC system and exhaust your entitlements, that is your obtain all of the income payments that you’re entitled to, you obtained an impairment lump sum and possibly common law damages, you cannot pursue further compensation in relation to these entitlements down the track.
Even if your injury gets worse, you cannot pursue further compensation for that a second time via a TAC claim.
You may however still be entitled to claim medical expenses even after many years after the accident.
If there has been a significant period of time where you have not claimed a particular medical expenses from the TAC, or any medical expenses, the TAC may require you to have a letter or a report from a medical practitioner explaining what type of treatment you need and why you need it and how it is related to the injury you suffered in the motor vehicle accident.
Impact on employment
As mentioned above, if you’re not able to work at all or if you can only work at a reduced capacity, the TAC can pay you income benefits.
However, unfortunately your employer does not have to keep your job open for you following a car accident.
If you are hurt in a car accident in Victoria, you should lodge a TAC claim. You’ve paid for TAC insurance coverage as a part of your yearly vehicle registration.
The TAC can assist you by payment of medical and like expenses, income payments, and two potential lump sum claims: an impairment benefit and a common law claim for damages.
You do not need to show that another party was at fault in order to have a TAC claim accepted, and the severity of any injuries you suffered in the accident are not a relevant consideration when it comes to the TAC determining a claim.