To be eligible for compensation under the Transport Accident Act, you must have been: injured in an accident (either physically or mentally) which was a direct result of a car, motorcycle, bus, tram or train. Pedestrians and cyclists injured in road accidents are also covered by the Act.
The TAC has a ‘no fault’ scheme, meaning that you can still be eligible for compensation even if you caused the accident.
The TAC will only accept a claim for compensation if you can prove that:
- the accident occurred;
- the accident has been reported to the police;
- the person who was injured or died was involved in the accident; and
- the injury or death was the result of the accident or a pre-existing injury was made worse by the accident.
Evidence may be in the form of witness statements, photographs, police reports or medical reports, for example.
Work-related Road Accidents
Unless the accident is covered under a different scheme (such as Comcare), the TAC will pay compensation for accidents that occur:
- to and from your place of employment
- between different place of employment
- to and from employment training locations, which you are expected to attend
- to and from appointments for the purposes of Workcover, such as to obtain medical certificates
- between jobs, for those that are self-employed
The Victorian Workcover Authority will often manage claims where the accident occurred ‘during the course of work’. For example, if a train driver is injured in an accident during the course of employment, they would apply for compensation through the Victorian Workcover Authority. It is important to note however, if a person’s claim is rejected by WorkSafe, they should make an application to the TAC.
Provided you are a resident of Victoria and were driving (or were a passenger of) a Victorian registered vehicle, you may still be eligible if the accident occurred in another state or territory.
If you are from interstate and were injured in a transport accident within Victoria, you should be eligible for compensation, even if the vehicle is not registered in Victoria.
The TAC will also pay compensation to a non-Victorian resident if the accident occurred interstate but the vehicle was registered in Victoria.
There are certain situations involving vehicles where the TAC will limit compensation such as:
- Motor Sports Accidents – this includes drivers, spectators, officials, organizers and assistants at organized races.
- Accidents that occur in an unregistered vehicle on private land
- Accidents that occur in an uninsured vehicle on private land
- Accidents that occur as a result of a person committing an offence. With the exception of medical and like expenses, where a person is convicted of culpable driving (or an interstate equivalent), the TAC will not pay compensation
- If the driver did not hold a licence or if their licence had been suspended at the time of the accident
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Unfortunately, the TAC will often not automatically offer payment for every benefit applicable to an injured party. This can often result in a person missing out on compensation entitlements simply because they were not made aware of them. An experienced lawyer will:
- assist you in pursuing your claim so that you are paid the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled;
- discuss your options with you if your claim has been rejected and, where applicable, lodge a VCAT application to challenge the TAC’s decision; and
- provide guidance and representation if you wish to make a common law claim for damages.