ROAD ACCIDENT INJURIES / TAC Victoria
FIGHT BACK THROUGH MAURICE BLACKBURN When you’ve been hurt, injured or suffered loss, it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of big organisations and big legal teams. But you shouldn’t have to suffer because of it. You fight back, and you do it through us. Maurice Blackburn was born from one man’s belief in making a difference to people’s lives. Nearly 100 years on these values remain a powerful influence on everything we do. We exist to help everyday Australians fight back against unfair treatment. And we’ll fight for what you need to get on with life. Because at Maurice Blackburn, we fight for fair.
If you’ve suffered an injury as the result of a motor vehicle accident, you’ll understand the stress, pain and frustration that accidents and dealing with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) can cause. At such a difficult time, compensation benefits can help. Unfortunately, the law relating to TAC claims can be complicated and the process of claiming can add to your load. At Maurice Blackburn we make the process easier for you by providing straight-forward legal advice. We want you to know your entitlements, which is why we have produced this brochure. If you’d like to know more, we’re happy to discuss your situation during a free first consultation. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TAC CLAIMS CAN I MAKE A TAC CLAIM?
WHAT IS THE TAC?
If you’ve been injured in a road accident or public transport accident in Victoria or by a Victorian registered vehicle, you can claim compensation through the TAC.
The TAC is a government body that acts as a third party insurer and as a payer of benefits. Where the TAC is the insurer – and it is for all drivers of Victorian-registered vehicles – its interests are not the same as yours.
Regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not, you may be entitled to ‘no-fault’ payments including: medical and hospital expenses rehabilitation expenses nursing and disability services attendant care post acute support services wages substitution expenses arising from a death, and lump sum payments. You must contact the TAC on 1300 654 329 to lodge the claim.
WHAT INFORMATION CAN THE TAC ACCESS? The TAC will gather information about you from a variety of sources, including your entire medical history, police records, prior compensation claims and taxation records. They may source information from the internet about you, in particular social media such as Facebook or Twitter. You also could be put under surveillance and secretly filmed. Your personal information, including any information you give to a TAC officer, may be used by the TAC to minimise your entitlements.
WHAT MEDICAL EXPENSES ARE COVERED? The TAC must pay: approved medical and hospital expenses approved rehabilitation expenses, including any aid, treatment, counselling, appliance, apparatus or other service travelling expenses related to medical and rehabilitation appointments pharmacy expenses incurred because of the transport accident, and family counselling expenses, where the accident caused death or severe injury. Your claim for reimbursement of such an expense must be made within two years of the date of service. The TAC is not the sole judge of whether your treatment is required. However, you should be aware that the TAC’s in-house medical and rehabilitation practitioners may contact your treating practitioners. If that occurs, you will not always be advised of the contact – or of any decisions made – yet it can result in your treatment being limited or terminated.
DO I HAVE TO PAY A MEDICAL EXCESS? You may have to pay a medical excess before the TAC starts paying your claim. However: only one excess applies to one family in the same accident the excess does not apply if you were admitted to hospital for one day, and the excess costs may be claimed from Medicare or a private health insurer.
WHAT OTHER EXPENSES ARE COVERED? The TAC is required to fund the reasonable costs of: approved disability services, including attendant care, assistance, accommodation support, community access, respite care or household help
post-acute support for an injured person requiring support in personal care, mobility, transfers, banking or shopping after discharge from hospital modifications required to a house or motor vehicle – if modifications cannot be made, the TAC may contribute to alternative housing or a motor vehicle, and daily living costs if residing in an aged care, supported residential or shared community facility for up to 18 months after discharged from hospital. The TAC may also be required to pay for services such as housekeeping, home services or child care.
WHAT TRAVEL EXPENSES ARE COVERED? The TAC is required to pay travel or accommodation costs of: a parent visiting their injured child in hospital a partner or dependant child of the injured person (if the hospital is at least 100km from their residence), and travel for treatment or rehabilitation. The TAC may also have to pay travelling expenses to an ‘earner’ for up to 12 weeks once the earner returns to work after the accident.
CAN I CLAIM FOR LOST WAGES? If you are an earner injured in a vehicle accident, the TAC will pay you loss of earning benefits. Even if you were not working at the time of the accident, or you are a seasonal worker, you may still be eligible for loss of earning benefits. Your loss of earning benefits will be paid from the time of the accident until 18 months after the event. Payments are not made for the first five days of loss, unless there is acute financial hardship. Loss of earning capacity payments are payable from 18 months until three years
after the accident. Payments cease three years after the accident unless you have an impairment of at least 50% of the whole person. These may be payable even if you were not eligible to receive loss of earning benefits.
CAN I SUE THE OFFENDING DRIVER? COMMON LAW?
The TAC may contribute to lost wages incurred beyond three years if you have further time off for surgery.
Under Victorian law you can make a common law compensation claim if you have suffered a ‘serious injury’.
WHAT IS AN IMPAIRMENT BENEFIT?
A ‘serious injury’ is one that has a long term impact on your quality of life or ability to earn a living and includes:
Impairment benefits are paid on the basis of your whole person impairment. This is a percentage figure that is worked out by doctors using the AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The TAC may do its own calculation, but you do not have to accept it. No benefit is paid if you have a whole person impairment of 10% or less. If your whole person impairment is above 10%, you will receive a lump sum payment.
WHEN IS MY IMPAIRMENT LEVEL DETERMINED? You must make an impairment claim within six years of the date of the accident. The TAC is required to determine your entitlement to an impairment benefit when your injuries are stabilised or three years after the accident, whichever occurs first. If your accident occurred before 16 December 2004 then you will receive approximately $1015.67 for each 1% beyond 10%. If the accident was after 16 December 2004 then the chart on the next page applies.
CAN I APPEAL? You can appeal any TAC decision. However you should know: an appeal must be commenced within 12 months of the date of the decision, and the TAC’s internal review is not independent and it does not ‘stop the clock’ on its decision.
Where your injuries result from someone else’s negligence, you may be able to make a common law claim, that is, a claim for damages (compensation) for pain and suffering and financial loss.
30% impairment or more a physical impairment psychological consequences of the accident permanent serious disfigurement, or loss of a foetus.
HOW LONG HAVE I GOT TO MAKE A COMMON LAW CLAIM? To make a common law claim you must start it within six years of the date of the accident. In rare cases this time limit can be extended.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW? If you have been injured in a vehicle accident you must notify the police.
CORRESPONDENCE The TAC has a system of scanning incoming mail and using e-files. Based on the number of complaints we hear about information getting lost, we recommend you write your claim number on and keep copies of every page, certificate and invoice that you send to the TAC.
THE TAC WEBSITE In dealing with the TAC you will be referred to its web page, policies and guidelines. While many of the points described on the TAC website are fair, others are based on opinion and are without legal authority.
PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS IS OUR BUSINESS
THE TAC IS A STATE INSURANCE COMPANY. THEIR INTERESTS ARE NOT THE SAME AS YOURS.
At Maurice Blackburn, we are committed to getting a fair outcome for our clients so you can get on with your life without disadvantage.
Our expert TAC lawyers provide a free first consultation and will fight to ensure you receive the best possible outcome, because we recognise that the compensation you receive is vital to ensuring quality of life for you and your family. If you would like to make an appointment please call 1800 810 812.
If you are unhappy with the TAC’s conduct you can complain to: The Ombudsman for Victoria 22nd Floor, 459 Collins Street Melbourne 3000 (03) 9613 6222
FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, WE FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF ORDINARY PEOPLE. WE CONTINUE THIS TRADITION TODAY.
IMPAIRMENT BENEFITS Accident – after 16 December 2004 0%-10%
Information correct at 1 July 2013. Figures indexed yearly. This brochure is a general guide to dealing with TAC claims and is not a substitute for professional advice in this area.
OUR TAC EXPERTS JOHN VOYAGE* Principal MELBOURNE
GERALDINE COLLINS* Principal SUNSHINE
TIM DIONYSSOPOULOS* Principal DANDENONG
John has practised in personal injury law for his entire career. He is committed to redressing the balance between powerful insurers, such as the TAC, and people made vulnerable through injury and consequent loss of income.
Geraldine has practised in the transport accident field since 1993.
Tim has practised personal injury all his career and exclusively in road and transport accidents since 2002. He is a member of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Southern Solicitors Group and a committee member of the Victorian branch of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.
MALCOLM CUMMING* Principal RINGWOOD
CANDA GLANVILLE* Senior Associate FRANKSTON
DIMI IOANNOU* Senior Associate MELBOURNE
Malcolm has worked as a litigation lawyer since 1997. He now works exclusively in TAC matters, obtaining compensation for clients injured in transport accidents.
Canda practises exclusively in personal injury law assisting people who have been injured as a result of road accidents.
Dimi works exclusively in the area of road accident injuries, fighting for client’s entitlements against the TAC.
Prior to joining Maurice Blackburn in 2003, Canda worked in the areas of criminal law and family law with Victoria Legal Aid.
She speaks fluent Greek and is actively involved in the Greek community. Dimi is also on the TAC Law Institute committee.
CAROLYN KOVAC* Senior Associate GREENSBOROUGH/RESERVOIR
EMILY ANDERSON * Senior Associate GREENSBOROUGH
DANIELLE LEO* Senior Associate GEELONG
Carolyn has practised exclusively in personal injury law since 2003, joining Maurice Blackburn in 2007.
Emily advises TAC claimants of their entitlements to nofault statutory benefits and common law damages.
She is an active member of the LIV Northern Suburbs Law Association and the LIV Courts Practice Committee.
Emily is a current member of the LIV TAC Committee, the TAC Legal Liaison Group, the TAC Protocols Forum Working Group and the LIV Personal Injury Advisory Committee.
Danielle has practised exclusively in the area of transport accident law since 2005. She has a strong Italian and Trade Union background.
She was the President of the Victorian branch of the Australian Lawyers’ Association from 2009-2011 and is the Victorian Director of the ALA.
She was the president of the Geelong Law Association from 2010-2012 and is a member of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.
*Accredited Personal Injury Specialist
1800 810 812 wefightforfair.com.au ROAD ACCIDENT INJURIES
Melbourne (03) 9605 2700 Level 10 456 Lonsdale St Melbourne VIC 3000
MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE ASBESTOS DISEASES SUPERANNUATION & INSURANCE CLAIMS PUBLIC LIABILITY FAULTY PRODUCTS COMCARE WILL DISPUTES EMPLOYMENT & INDUSTRIAL LAW CLASS ACTIONS COMMERCIAL LAW SOCIAL JUSTICE
Dandenong (03) 9794 0403 Suite 3 314-326 Thomas St Dandenong VIC 3175 Frankston (03) 9784 6100 Shop 3 428 Nepean Hwy Frankston VIC 3199 Geelong (03) 5221 1152 120 Yarra St Geelong VIC 3220
Greensborough (03) 9431 7500 85 Grimshaw St Greensborough VIC 3088
Sunshine (03) 9310 2966 225 Hampshire Rd Sunshine VIC 3020
Mildura (03) 5018 4000 159 Lime Ave Mildura VIC 3502
Traralgon (03) 5174 8633 Level 1 7 Princes Hwy Traralgon VIC 3844
Reservoir (03) 9462 2608 301 Spring St Reservoir VIC 3073 Ringwood (03) 9876 8555 41–43 Ringwood St Ringwood VIC 3134
Wangaratta (03) 5720 1500 29 Ely St Wangaratta VIC 3677
VISITING OFFICES – FREECALL 1800 810 812 Bairnsdale Ballarat Bendigo Box Hill Broadmeadows Cranbourne
Horsham Kerang Leongatha Lilydale Melton Morwell
Oakleigh Pakenham Rosebud Sale Shepparton Swan Hill
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Offices also in QLD, NSW, ACT & WA
Quality ISO 9001
Maurice Blackburn is a leading Australian law firm certified to the international ISO 9001:2008 quality standard. Information correct at 1 July 2013. This brochure is a general guide to dealing with Road Accident Injury claims and is not a substitute for professional advice in this area. Maurice Blackburn is proud to be carbon neutral (see our website for details). This brochure is printed on ecoStar Silk. Made with 100% certified post consumer waste fibre, it is produced with a carbon neutral manufacturing process and has been made in a facility that operates under the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. MB4184_VICRA 10/13