How to Make a TAC Claim.
Getting injured in a motor vehicle accident isn’t the sort of thing you can plan for, and if you find yourself in a worst-case scenario then you probably don’t even know what to do next. You might find yourself asking questions like “what is TAC?”, “what am I entitled to?”, and “how do I lodge a TAC claim?” At Law Partners we specialise in TAC claims, and we’ve put together this guide on everything you need to know about how to make a TAC claim, including tips from our top solicitors and advice about how to get help with your case. Keep reading to find out more about making a TAC claim.
What is TAC?
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is a ‘no-fault’ insurance scheme run by the Victorian government, and they’ll oversee the process if you’re injured by a vehicle and need to make a compensation claim. The scheme exists to compensate you for any damages caused by a vehicle accident, whether you’re a driver, rider, pedestrian, passenger, or even if you witness to a road incident that causes you to develop psychological injuries like anxiety or PTSD.
‘No-fault’ means you can lodge a TAC compensation claim for financial support even if you caused or were partially at fault for an accident. This is true for statutory benefits like money to cover lost wages for time off work, medical costs, and rehabilitation treatments. If you’re not at fault in any way and the TAC determine that you meet the definition of a ‘serious injury’ then you may also be able to claim a lump sum, known as a common law damages claim, on top of statutory benefits. You’ll need to make this claim with a lawyer who specialises in TAC claims, and they’ll negotiate with the TAC to determine your TAC settlement.
‘Serious injury’ is a legal term and describes the long-term impact of your injuries. You may qualify if you’ve experienced loss of function in a body part, long term psychological impacts like PTSD, or reach a threshold of more than 30% whole person impairment. This might be one significant injury, or a combination of injuries, and you’ll need to provide the TAC with your medical information so they can decide if you meet the criteria.
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I’ve been in a car accident, what do I need to do?
If you’re injured in a car accident these are the steps that we recommend you take to give yourself the best chance of making a successful TAC compensation claim.
Step 1. Seek medical treatment
The most important thing is to take care of any injuries straight away, including calling an ambulance and going to hospital if you need to. Making sure your injuries are assessed and taken care of is the first step after an accident.
Step 2. Contact the TAC
You’ll need to actually lodge your claim with the TAC to start receiving statutory benefits. If you’re not sure how to lodge a TAC claim you can start by filling out the form on their website, calling them on 1300 654 329, or you can have someone lodge on your behalf. If you’re in hospital then they may be able to do this for you, otherwise one of our TAC lawyers can help you.
This step is simple, and you can fill out the form in about five minutes. The TAC will then issue you with a reference number for your case. You’ve only got twelve months to lodge your TAC claim for statutory benefits so the sooner you can do this step, the better.
Step 3. Get details
You’ll need as many details about your accident as possible to make a TAC claim, so try to track them down immediately. This includes things like the license plate and details of other drivers involved, details of anyone who witnessed the accident, what time of day the incident occurred, and what injuries suffered. If emergency services attend the accident, then they’ll take down all the relevant information, and you should make sure you speak to them so that they can be contacted about your claim. If emergency services don’t attend, then you’ll need to inform them of the incident before you make a TAC claim. You can do this by calling the non-emergency number to tell them about the accident, on 131 444.
While the TAC won’t ask you for photos of the accident, we always strongly recommend taking some pictures if you’re able to. In our experience with TAC claims, this gives us a better idea of the situation and is part of our process of getting to know everything about your accident. At Law Partners we take a more personal approach to understand the full impact of your injuries, so we can help you access more compensation from your TAC settlement.
Step 4. Make a record of the accident
Following step 3, you should keep a record of all the information you’ve got, which will make it easier to lodge a TAC claim. You’ll need records of any doctors you’ve seen or treatments you’ve had, as well as details about your accident. If you’re injured on public transport, you’ll also have to contact the operator of the service. To report an incident involving a public transport operator (trains, trams, or buses), contact Public Transport Victoria on 1800 800 007.
It can be easy to lose track of things, so writing everything down in a book, or having a digital copy, can make it easier to keep together.
After an accident the whole process can seem completely overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. A good TAC lawyer will help you get all the relevant information together and can act on your behalf to make the claims process as smooth as possible while you recover.
Step 5. See your doctor for treatment
You’ll need a doctor to assess your injuries, and if you weren’t at fault for the accident then you can apply for the TAC to recognise any ‘serious injuries’. Seeing a doctor familiar with TAC claims can make the process easier because they’re more likely to assess of the overall impact of your injuries. Even a small detail missed could cause you to miss out on thousands of dollars of compensation that you’re entitled to. Our TAC lawyers can suggest doctors who are familiar with injuries and claims just like yours, which can increase your chances of making a successful TAC claim.
In the aftermath of an accident, the last thing you want to be worrying about is paperwork. At Law Partners we win over 99% of our cases and have assisted thousands of Australians to access all the compensation that they’re entitled to. If you’d like to find out what we can do for you, give us a call on 13 15 15 or reach out online to get some free, personalised advice about your situation.
My TAC claim: what happens next?
You have to lodge your TAC claim for statutory benefits within a year of your accident, although there’s some flexibility if your injuries didn’t become clear until after that period, and a good TAC lawyer will be able to help you work around the time frame. Once your claim has been lodged then the TAC has 21 days to accept or deny it. If they accept it, you’ll start receiving benefits immediately. If they deny it, you can appeal their decision with the help of a TAC lawyer.
If you’d like to get a sense of what to expect, or just some advice about how you should approach your claim, talking to a specialised TAC lawyer is always a good idea. Give us a call and speak to one of our TAC solicitors to see how we can help you with your case.
TAC claims: what are my entitlements?
When you make a TAC claim for statutory benefits you’re entitled to a range of financial compensation, even if you were at-fault or partially at-fault for the accident. These entitlements include:
|Medical expenses and supports||Payments to cover allied health and physical therapies, ambulance, hospital, surgery, and a range of other medical expenses|
|Income support||Payments to cover your loss of earnings while you’re unable to return to work|
|Common law compensation||If you weren’t at fault, you may be entitled to a lump sum payment for your loss of past and future earnings, and for pain and suffering|
|Permanent impairment benefits||If you have a physical or psychological impairment assessed at over 11% then you may be entitled to a permanent impairment lump sum|
The TAC will pay for medical costs related to your injury that are considered ‘reasonable and necessary’. This includes costs like medication, scans, surgery, home assistance or improvements, and recovery support services like chiropractors and physiotherapists. Sometimes the TAC might determine that a treatment is no longer necessary and will inform you that they won’t pay for a specific service anymore, but if you still need the treatment then you have 12 months to lodge a dispute and get them to continue payments.
To make sure that the TAC will pay for medical care like GP appointments, physio sessions, or psychologist treatments, you’ll need to make sure you get pre-approval before attending the session. Otherwise you can get stuck paying out of pocket while you wait for the TAC to decide if they’ll reimburse you.
If your injury occurred before the 14th of February, 2018, then the TAC will only pay for any medical expenses over the amount of $651. This is known as an excess, and usually only applies if you weren’t admitted to hospital.
Loss of earnings
Under the no-fault statutory benefits claim you’re entitled to 80% of your pre-injury wages, paid by the TAC, for up to 18 months after the injury. To access this, you’ll need to see your GP every 28 days, and your doctor will provide you with a certificate of capacity telling the TAC that you’re unable to return to work. If you still have no capacity to work after 18 months, then you’ll be able to extend the 80% of your wages paid for another 18 months – a total of three years.
If you’re assessed as having a whole person impairment of 50% or more then your benefits will automatically be applied and you’ll continue receiving 80% of your pre-injury earnings indefinitely, without needing a certificate of capacity. The TAC will review this every five years.
Being injured in a motor vehicle accident can turn your life upside down in an instant, but being informed about how to make a TAC claim can help you get your life back on track. Accessing compensation to assist with your medical bills and lost wages can lift the financial burden of recovery and let you focus on getting better, sooner. Having a specialised TAC lawyer on your side can make this process easier again. If you’re interested in how a lawyer could help you with your claim, or would just like some specialised advice, get in touch with Law Partners today for a confidential conversation, completely free of charge.
An accredited specialist in personal injury law and one of the country’s foremost authorities in motor accident compensation claims.
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