Transport accidents at work: Who is responsible and what assistance can I access?

Tuesday 2 June 2020
Genna Angelowitsch

Many Victorians are aware that if they suffer an injury at work, they can receive financial assistance from WorkCover, and if they sustain an injury in a transport accident, they can make a claim with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).  But what happens when a person is injured or killed in a transport accident while they are at work?

If a person is involved in a transport accident on their way to or from their ordinary place of employment, this is considered to be a standard claim with the TAC.  The TAC will manage the entirety of the claim, and the injured person’s employer is not involved in the claim at all.

If a person suffers an injury in a motor vehicle accident during the course of their employment, WorkCover and TAC share responsibility for assisting the injured person.  An accident will occur in the course of someone’s employment when a person is travelling to or from a destination because of their work duties (other than their usual place of employment).

For example, if a person ordinarily works in an office and is injured in a transport accident travelling to their office, their claim for assistance will be managed by the TAC.  If the person has to leave their office to visit a client or attend a work function, and they are involved in a transport accident on the way to that secondary location, they will have been involved in an accident “in the course of their employment”.

If a person is injured in a transport accident in the course of their employment:

  • WorkCover will attend to payment of their medical expenses and weekly payments for their time off work. 
  • If they have suffered a permanent injury, they may also be eligible for a small lump sum from WorkCover, known as an impairment benefit. 

If the accident was caused by the fault of someone other than the injured person:

  • They may have the right to sue the other person for pain and suffering damages and economic loss if they have suffered a serious and permanent injury.
  • If the negligent person was driving a Victorian registered vehicle, the TAC will insure the other party and the injured person’s damages will be paid for by the TAC.

If a person dies as a result of a transport accident while at work, their family members can:

  • Access a dependency claim through WorkCover.  This entitles them to funding for funeral expenses and counselling sessions, as well as lump sum payments and a pension if they are considered wholly or mainly dependent on the person who died. 
  • If the transport accident was caused by the negligence of a Victorian registered vehicle, the family members can sue the negligent driver for additional compensation, which will be paid for by the TAC.

Compensation systems can be complex and convoluted. If you or a family member have been injured, we recommend that you get free advice from one of our personal injury experts on (03) 9321 9988.

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