TAC Entitlements

I have been injured in a transport accident – what should I do?

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) scheme covers individuals who have been injured in an accident in Victoria caused by the driving of a car, motorcycle, bus, train or tram.

It is a ‘no fault’ scheme and individuals are entitled to assistance regardless of who was at fault.

If the accident occurred interstate, the TAC scheme only covers Victorians if the accident involved a Victorian registered vehicle.  A non-Victorian resident who is injured in an interstate accident can only make a TAC claim if they are the occupants of a Victorian registered vehicle.

To start the process of claiming compensation you must report the accident to the police or the relevant public transport operator (Metro Train, Yarra Trams or the relevant bus company).  If the police attended the accident, you do not have to report it again.

You should then lodge a claim with the TAC by calling 1300 654 329.  You will be asked for personal details, information about the accident and to provide your employment details if you can’t work.

The TAC will send out a completed form which you must carefully check and sign.  It is vital that you list all of your injuries, even those that appear minor at the time.  You must return the signed claim form to the TAC for the claim to be accepted.

How long do I have to make a TAC claim?

To claim statutory “no fault” benefits (medical expenses and loss of earnings) from the TAC, your claim form must be lodged within one year of the date of the accident or when the injury first manifests.  In exceptional circumstances a claim form can be lodged within three years.

If the TAC makes a decision you disagree with, you have 12 months to dispute that decision. 

A claim for lump sum compensation must be made within six years of the date of the accident.

Suing for compensation where someone is at fault for loss of earnings and pain and suffering must be made within six years of the date of the accident.

If you think that you might be out of time to lodge a claim, please contact us.

How long does the TAC have to accept or reject my claim?

The TAC will contact you within 21 days from the date that you made your claim to let you know if your claim has been accepted or rejected.  They may sometimes request further information.

If the TAC fails to contact you at the end of 21 days, your TAC claim is considered rejected.  You can have this rejection reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

If you would like further information on the review process, please contact us.

If I was injured in a transport accident at work, am I covered by the TAC or by WorkCover?

If you are injured in a transport accident and you were driving in the course of your employment, you are covered by WorkCover.  
If you are injured in an accident that occurred whilst travelling to or from work, you are covered by TAC.

I am a cyclist and was injured on the road. Am I covered?

The TAC scheme covers you if you are injured in Victoria by a:

  • collision caused by a moving motor vehicle, train or tram
  • collision caused by an open or opening car door
  • collision with a parked or stationary vehicle
  • collision involving a runaway or out of control vehicle.

The TAC does not cover you if your injuries are caused by a:

  • collision with another cyclist
  • collision with a pedestrian
  • falling off your bike.
Can I make a claim if my family member died in a transport accident?

If you have lost a family member in a transport accident there are two types of TAC claims that you might be entitled to make:

  1. dependency claim
  2. nervous shock claim.

Dependency claim 

You will first need to lodge a funeral and dependency benefits claim form with the TAC.

The TAC can pay for burial or cremation expenses up to $15,880 (from 01/07/2019).  In some circumstances, the TAC may also pay for travel and accommodation expenses for family members to attend the funeral.

The spouse or partner, parents, children and siblings of the person who has died are eligible for family counselling services up to $16,850 per family (from 01/07/2019).

If the spouse or children were financially dependent on that person, the dependants are entitled to receive a lump sum payment and a weekly loss of dependency benefit.

The weekly benefit is payable for a period of five years or until the dependent child completes full time education.  The maximum weekly benefit payable is currently $1,390 (from 01/07/2019).

Dependent children also have an entitlement to an education allowance.

It is also possible to bring an action for the loss of income and household services that were reasonably expected to be provided from the person who died.

Nervous Shock claim 

If you are diagnosed with a psychiatric injury because a family member died in a transport accident, you may be eligible to lodge your own TAC claim.

If your TAC claim is accepted, you may be entitled to:

  • reasonable medical expenses
  • loss of income benefits
  • a monetary payment for a permanent injury
  • the right to sue for lump sum compensation.
Claims for drivers of unregistered motor vehicles or unlicensed drivers

You may still be able to lodge a claim with the TAC, but you will not be entitled to all of the benefits that the scheme offers.  
If you are injured in a transport accident while driving an unregistered vehicle which you owned, the TAC will not pay your lost income for the first 18 months after the accident.  You would be entitled to receive all other ‘no fault’ benefits (i.e.  medical expenses).

If you are the unlicensed driver of a vehicle and you are injured in a transport accident, the TAC will not pay your lost income for the first 18 months after the accident.  You would be entitled to receive all other ‘no fault’ benefits (i.e. medical expenses).

Claims for drivers, unlicensed cars or who drove whilst intoxicated by alcohol or affected by drugs

You may still be able to lodge a claim with the TAC but you will not be entitled to all of the benefits that the scheme offers.  
If you were injured whilst drink driving, your entitlement to receive loss of income in the first 18 months will be reduced in accordance with your measured blood alcohol level (BAC).  No loss of earnings is payable if your BAC reading was .24 or more.
If you were injured whilst driving a vehicle drug affected, your entitlement to receive your loss of income in the first 18 months will be reduced in accordance with the nature and concentration of the drug in your body.

The reductions only apply to drivers.  Passengers or pedestrians injured as a result of an intoxicated or drug affected driver are entitled to receive full ‘no fault’ benefits from the TAC.

I caused the transport accident – Am I still covered by the TAC scheme?

The TAC compensation scheme is a ‘no fault’ scheme and individuals are entitled to assistance regardless of who was at fault.

What am I entitled to if my TAC claim is accepted?

If your TAC claim is accepted, you may be entitled to the following “no fault” benefits:

  • reasonable medical expenses
  • loss of income benefits
  • a monetary payment for a permanent injury
  • the right to sue for lump sum compensation.

There are certain exceptions if you were convicted of an indictable offence or drink driving offences.

You may not be entitled to sue for a further lump sum compensation.

Do I need to attend a medical examination arranged by the TAC?

The TAC can make arrangements for you to be medically examined from time to time by doctors nominated by the TAC.  The purpose of this is to confirm your inability to work.

You cannot fail or refuse to attend the appointment without a reasonable excuse, or your income benefits can be suspended.

What medical and like expenses can I claim?

If you have an accepted claim, the TAC will pay for all your reasonable medical expenses that are related to the accident.  
These include costs such as:

  • ambulance and hospital expenses
  • doctor’s fees
  • counselling
  • medication
  • aides such as crutches
  • personal and household support; including counselling, modification to a home or car, household help, gardening and transportation
  • rehabilitation costs; including assistance designed to either return you to your pre-injury job, to re-educate or re-train you, or otherwise assist in obtaining other employment
  • travel to appointments for medical treatment and examinations if you are unable to drive.

If you require personal and household services or transport to medical treatment, ask your GP to complete a TAC medical certificate outlining the treatment you need and send the original medical certificate to the TAC.

Does the TAC pay for all medical and like expenses?

The TAC will pay for all medical expenses where the treatment is reasonable and directly related to the accident.

How long does the TAC pay medical expenses?

Payment of medical expenses for transport injuries continues for as long as needed.  The entitlement to medical expenses does not stop if court or any other action is taken.

How much weekly earnings will I receive in a TAC claim?

The TAC will not pay for any lost income for the first five days after the accident.

If you were working prior to your accident and afterwards you are still unable to work or are working reduced hours, you are entitled to weekly payments for your lost income.

You must provide the TAC with TAC medical certificates from your doctor stating that you are unfit to work, or only fit to work reduced hours because of your transport accident injuries.

The TAC will pay 80 per cent of your gross income before the accident, up to a maximum of $1,390 per week (from 01/07/2019).

What if I’m self-employed?

If you are self- employed you will need to provide your TAC co-ordinator your tax returns and details about your pre-accident weekly earnings.  The TAC may require further information to assess your entitlement.

The TAC will pay 80 per cent of your gross income before the accident, up to a maximum of $1,390 per week (from 01/07/2019).

Alternatively, the TAC may pay the costs of replacement workers in connection with the business because of your incapacity instead of loss of earnings benefits.

It can be of great assistance for the self-employed to employ a casual replacement whilst they are injured and seek immediate reimbursement from the TAC for the wage.  Contact should be made with the TAC claims support co-ordinator about this at an early stage.

I can’t work. How do I claim for loss of earnings payments?

You will need to provide the TAC with details of your employer, payslips and tax returns to assess your claim.

You must provide the TAC with TAC medical certificates from your doctor stating that you are unfit to work, or only fit to work reduced hours because of your transport accident injuries.

These type of weekly benefits continue up to 18 months after the accident.

I still cannot work 18 months after the accident. How do I claim payments?

After 18 months, if you are still unable to work or are working reduced hours, you are entitled to weekly payments for your lost income.  These are called “loss of earning capacity benefits”.

“Loss of earning capacity” is the difference between your capacity to earn income before the transport accident and their capacity to earn income after the transport accident.

If you are still have no capacity for work after 18 months, your weekly benefits will be 80 per cent of the net amount of your income, after tax, which was being paid before the accident.

The maximum payable is $1,190 (from 01/07/2019).
These weekly payments will cease:

  • three years after the date of the accident
  • when you have reached normal retirement age; or 
  • if you are certified as having capacity to work.

If your impairment is assessed at 50 per cent or over, the TAC will continue to pay you loss of earning capacity payments until you reach retirement age.

Am I entitled to any compensation from my superannuation fund?

Many superannuation funds contain insurance policies that may allow you to claim disability benefits for Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) or Temporary Disablement if you are unable to work.  These disability benefits from your superannuation fund are in addition to TAC benefits.

To lodge a successful TPD claim, you must be able to meet the specific definition of ‘Total and Permanent Disablement’ in your superannuation policy.  This usually requires you to show that you are unable to return to the type of work that you have education, experience and training in, because of your injury.

If you have been injured in a transport accident and want to check that you are receiving all benefits available to you, call the experts at Adviceline Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988.

Can I dispute a decision about my entitlements?

Yes.  If you disagree with a decision made by the TAC about any of your entitlements, you have the right to dispute that decision.  You can request that the TAC informally review that decision.

If this is unsuccessful, we would need to issue a notice of dispute with the TAC and engage in a dispute resolution conference with the TAC.  If your dispute does not settle at the meeting, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the TAC’s decision.

Some common examples of disputes that arise with the TAC include the following: 

  • rejection of your TAC claim
  • disputes regarding the calculation of your income benefits
  • termination or suspension of your TAC benefits.

You have 12 months from becoming aware of the TAC’s decision to lodge a notice of dispute and appeal to VCAT.  If you do not dispute or appeal the decision within 12 months, you are unable to challenge the decision.

Permanent Impairment Claims

What is a permanent impairment benefit?

A permanent impairment benefit is a once-off lump sum payment to compensate you if you suffer a permanent injury.  
This lump sum is made in addition to the other benefits you receive from the TAC.

This is a ‘no fault’ benefit, meaning you do not need to establish that someone else was at fault.

An independent doctor would need to examine you in accordance with a guide published by the American Medical Association.  The Guide provides specific instructions on how to measure the extent of an injury.  The lump sum compensation is calculated using a specific formula according to this Guide.

You will only be entitled to an impairment payment if you are assessed as having an 11 per cent or more whole person impairment.  

What are the minimum levels of impairment required to qualify for compensation?

You will only be entitled to a lump sum impairment benefit if you are assessed as having an 11 per cent or more whole person impairment.

The following are indications of the amount of compensation that may be paid if your accident occurred on or after 16 December 2004:

  • 11 per cent: $7,880
  • 20 per cent: $21,410
  • 50 per cent: $86,000

Contact Adviceline Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988 if your accident occurred before this time.

When can I make an impairment benefit claim?

A claim for this lump sum compensation is usually made when your injuries are fully stabilised (that is, it has reached a point where it is not getting any better or worse).

A request for an impairment benefit must be made within six years of being injured.

Common Law Claims (The Right to Sue)

What is a common law claim?

You only have the right to sue for further compensation where someone else is at fault for the accident and you have suffered a serious injury.  This is called a common law claim.

You may be entitled to claim for both loss of earnings as well as ‘pain and suffering’ damages.

This is separate and in addition to your entitlements to medical and like expenses.

What damages will I receive from a common law claim?

There are two main types of compensation that you can receive from this claim:

  1. pain and suffering, or general damages – this is compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured and will continue to endure, and your loss of enjoyment of life
  2. past loss of earnings and future loss of earning capacity – compensation for wages lost because you have been unable to work, and/or are unable to work into the future.
When can I make a common law claim?

Even where your injury was caused by another person's fault, you do not automatically have the right to sue for further compensation.

You must first establish that you have suffered a ‘serious injury’.  In order to establish this, your lawyers have to prepare and lodge a detailed application with the TAC referred to as a serious injury application.

A claim for further compensation must be commenced within six years of the date of injury.

What is a ‘serious injury’?

You must have a serious injury to be able to make a claim for further compensation.

You have a serious injury if you have: 

  • an assessment of 30 per cent or greater in a lump sum compensation application
  • permanent serious impairment or loss of a body function
  • permanent serious disfigurement
  • permanent severe mental or behavioural disorder; or
  • a loss of a foetus.

Whether you meet any of these definitions involves an assessment of the injury and its consequences to determine if they have a significant impact on your life.

If your application is accepted, the TAC may issue a certificate confirming you have suffered a serious injury.  You will then have the right to sue for further compensation.

If your application is denied, proceedings can be issued in the County Court of Victoria seeking a serious injury certificate.

Does the serious injury certificate entitle me to sue for both types of damages?

A serious injury certificate allows you to sue for both ‘pain and suffering’ and loss of earnings.

What happens when I get the serious injury certificate?

If a serious injury certificate is granted, you have the right to sue for further compensation.  You must prove ‘fault’ or ‘negligence’ by the person who caused your injuries.

Strict timeframes apply following a grant of a serious injury certificate.

Before we issue any court proceedings, we will have a meeting with the TAC in an attempt to settle your case.  The majority of our cases settle at this meeting.

How long does it take to sue for further compensation?

It is very difficult to estimate how long a claim for further compensation will take.  The claim may only be brought after the injury is stabilised and the medical evidence is gathered.

From this time, the duration varies and is dependent on factors including whether the TAC rejects or accepts the serious injury application, the complexity of the case, and whether the case settles prior to litigation.

As a rough guide, from the date of the serious injury application a claim can take between 6 - 24 months to be resolved.

How long do I have to sue?

A claim for further compensation must be commenced within six years of the date of injury.  However, you should seek advice well before the six years expires as preparing a case takes some time.

Even if you do not think your injury is serious, you should still obtain legal advice regarding your possible right to sue while the accident is fresh in your mind.

In some limited circumstances, you can make a claim more than six years after your date of injury.

Would I have to go to Court?

In suing for further compensation, there are two possible stages in the process that could involve going to Court – the serious injury application, and the trial regarding negligence.

The majority of our cases reach negotiated settlements.

Adviceline Injury Lawyers will advise you fully on your case and any risks involved prior to any litigation being commenced.

What compensation could I receive?

If you are granted a serious injury certificate by the TAC, you can sue for your ‘pain and suffering’ and your loss of earnings.  Any money you receive from the court in compensation is called ‘damages’.

If your case goes to Court, the assessment of ‘pain and suffering’ damages will ultimately be determined by a jury.  To recover any compensation for pain and suffering damages you must achieve a verdict of $55,840.  The maximum sum that can be awarded is $558,760 (from 01/07/2019).  The amount awarded for ‘pain and suffering’ damages varies according to the severity of the injury and the effect that it has and will continue to have on your life.

If you have already received a lump sum payment (or ‘impairment benefit’), this is deducted from any ‘pain and suffering’ damages that you receive.

If your injuries have affected your ability to earn an income, you can also sue for your future loss of earnings.  The amount of damages that this includes depends on the amount you can prove that you were earning prior to your injury and your earning capacity into the future.  There is a threshold for this type of compensation of $55,840 and payment for loss of earnings after 18 months are taken into account.  The maximum sum is $1,257,290 (from 01/07/2019).

If I receive 'damages', will TAC stop paying my medical expenses?

No.  TAC will continue to pay your medical expenses even after you receive compensation for pain and suffering and/or loss of earnings.

If I receive money, will this affect my Centrelink payments?

If you receive money for ‘pain and suffering’ only, this may not affect any Centrelink payments.

If you receive compensation for loss of earnings, you may be required to pay back certain sums to Centrelink, and/or be precluded from receiving Centrelink payments for a period of time into the future.

Adviceline Injury Lawyers can give you clear advice on your particular situation.

Who pays the ‘damages’ compensation?

If you receive money for ‘pain and suffering’ only, this may not affect any Centrelink payments.

If you receive compensation for loss of earnings, you may be required to pay back certain sums to Centrelink, and/or be precluded from receiving Centrelink payments for a period of time into the future.

Adviceline Injury Lawyers can give you clear advice on your particular situation.

Who pays the ‘damages’ compensation?

The person who was found to be at fault in your accident is ordered to pay your compensation.  However, the driver or owner of any registered vehicle in Victoria is covered by the TAC.  Therefore the TAC pays your compensation.

What will it cost me to sue for further compensation?

At Adviceline Injury Lawyers we offer a No Win, No Fee arrangement in TAC cases.

This means that if you proceed with a claim you will only be required to pay our legal costs if you are successful.  Additionally if you are successful, the TAC will pay for a portion of your legal costs.

We are committed to maximising the compensation to be received by people injured in transport accidents.  We offer competitive professional fees, work hard to recover expenses and do not charge an uplift fee.

We invite you to call Adviceline Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988 for free legal advice about your potential rights and entitlements.

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