1 MAURICE BLACKBURN LAWYERS ROAD ACCIDENT INJURIES / TAC VICTORIA
2 02 MAURICE BLACKBURN YOU RE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. If you are hurt, injured, or are facing an unfair situation, you and your family shouldn t have to suffer. That s why we never stand back when bad things happen to good people. At Maurice Blackburn we believe that the law should serve everyone. Who you are or where you re from, it doesn t matter. You re worth fighting for. 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 fight for your rights. For what you deserve. When life isn t fair we ll help you to fight for everything you re entitled to. Because at Maurice Blackburn, we fight for fair.
3 03 ROAD ACCIDENT INJURIES 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? 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. Regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not, you may be entitled to nofault payments including: medical and hospital expenses rehabilitation expenses nursing and disability services expenses arising from a death, and lump sum payments. You must contact the TAC on to lodge the claim. What is 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. attendant care post acute support services wages substitution
4 04 MAURICE BLACKBURN 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. 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. 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.
5 05 ROAD ACCIDENT INJURIES Can I claim for lost wages? Maurice Blackburn exist to fight for your rights. For what you deserve. When life isn t fair we ll help you to fight for everything you re entitled to. 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. 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. The TAC may contribute to lost wages incurred beyond three years if you have further time off for surgery. What is an impairment benefit? 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.
6 06 MAURICE BLACKBURN 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 $1, for each 1% beyond 10%. If the accident was after 16 December 2004 then the chart on page 10 applies. The patience shown, the expertise that shone through and the ongoing support given was tremendous. Maurice Blackburn Client
8 08 MAURICE BLACKBURN 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. Can I sue the offending driver? Common law? 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. Under Victorian law you can make a common law compensation claim if you have suffered a serious injury. A serious injury is one that has a long term impact on your quality of life or ability to earn a living and includes: 30% impairment or more 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. Remember The TAC is a state insurance company. Their interests are not the same as yours. 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.
9 09 ROAD ACCIDENT INJURIES Complaints Protecting your rights is our business If you are unhappy with the TAC s conduct you can complain to: At Maurice Blackburn, we are committed to getting a fair outcome for our clients so you can get on with your life without disadvantage. The Ombudsman for Victoria 22nd Floor, 459 Collins Street Melbourne 3000 (03) Words could not express my sincere appreciation for the remarkable outcome of our case. Your friendly and professional approach through the long journey will always be remembered with deep gratitude. Maurice Blackburn client 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 From the very beginning, we fought for the rights of ordinary people. We continue this tradition today.
11 CONTACT US If you are considering legal action or want to fight for your rights, get in touch and we can assess what you need or arrange for a meeting with one of our lawyers. For most practice areas, your first consultation is free (business hours) mauriceblackburn.com.au Road Accident Injuries Work Related Injuries Medical Negligence Asbestos Diseases Superannuation & Insurance Claims Public Liability Faulty Products Comcare Will Disputes Employment & Industrial Law Class Actions Social Justice You are welcome to drop into one of our Victorian offices: Melbourne (03) Level 10, 456 Lonsdale St Melbourne VIC 3000 Dandenong (03) Suite 3, Thomas St Dandenong VIC 3175 Frankston (03) Shop Nepean Hwy Frankston VIC 3199 Geelong (03) Yarra St Geelong VIC 3220 Greensborough (03) Grimshaw St Greensborough VIC 3088 Mildura (03) Lime Ave Mildura VIC 3500 Reservoir (03) Spring St Reservoir VIC 3073 Ringwood (03) Ringwood St Ringwood VIC 3134 Sunshine (03) Hampshire Rd Sunshine VIC 3020 Traralgon (03) Level 1, 7 Princes Hwy Traralgon VIC 3844 Wangaratta (03) Ely St Wangaratta VIC 3677 Visiting offices Call us or visit the website for more details: Bairnsdale Ballarat Bendigo Box Hill Broadmeadows Cranbourne Horsham Kerang Leongatha Lilydale Melton Morwell Oakleigh Pakenham Rosebud Sale Shepparton Swan Hill Sunbury Warragul Warrnambool Werribee Wodonga
12 Maurice Blackburn is a leading Australian law firm certified to the international ISO 9001:2008 quality standard. Information correct at 1 July 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 Environmental Management System. MB4184_VICRA 07/14
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