A person injured in a transport accident in Victoria can access assistance from the Transport Accident Commission (the TAC). The TAC insures all Victorian registered vehicles, including trains, trams and buses.
For the TAC to be liable for your losses, the accident needs to have been caused by the driving of the vehicle. This means if you are injured on public transport, but not because of the driving of the public transport, you probably will not be covered. For example, if you are hit by something someone throws in a tram and you are injured or if you suffered a heart attack on a train, the TAC would not insure you. However, if a bus stopped suddenly and you were injured, your injury was caused by the driving of the vehicle and you should lodge a claim. Injuries which are caused by the opening and closing of train, tram, and bus doors are automatically covered by the TAC scheme.
You should make a TAC claim within 12 months of the transport accident and you cannot lodge one after 3 years. Before you can make a TAC claim, you need to have reported the transport accident. If it was a car accident, you report it to the police. If your accident was on public transport, you need to report the accident to the public transport operator (e.g. Yarra Trams, Metro Trains or the relevant bus company). You will need to keep all the details about this report. Once your accident has been reported to the police or transport operator, you can call the TAC on 1300 654 329 to begin the claims process. Your claim will not be'lodged' until you have also returned paperwork to the TAC.
If you are unable to work for more than five days, the TAC will reimburse part of your lost earnings. Any medical expenses which are reasonable and related to the accident will also be paid, although in some cases the injured person is required to pay the first $629 of medical expenses as an excess . If you are left with permanent impairment which satisfies the legal threshold, you will be entitled to lump-sum compensation. All of these entitlements are available regardless of whether anyone was at fault in the accident - even if it was your own fault.
Further compensation may be available if you suffer a serious injury as a result of the negligence of another person, including a tram, bus or train driver. For more information about serious injury and negligence, click here.
If you or someone you know was injured on public transport or because of a train, tram or bus, you can call our Adviceline on (03) 9321 9988 and speak directly with a lawyer about your TAC entitlements.