Compensation Claim Guide by the TAC
Nobody expects to get in a car accident, let alone one that’s serious or causes injury. But accidents happen, so it’s important to know what you need to do should you ever be in one. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Victoria, you can make a claim for compensation from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). This article will outline the process for making a compensation claim from the TAC so that if you find yourself in an unfortunate incident, you know exactly what you can do.
What is the TAC?
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is an organisation owned by the Victorian State Government. The TAC pays compensation for the reasonable costs of treatment and other services you may require as a result of injuries sustained from a car accident. A treatment or service is deemed reasonable if it contributes to your recovery. The goal of the TAC is to offer you support while you recover from the accident and move on with your life.
If your compensation claim is accepted, the TAC will deliver your entitlements swiftly and efficiently. You will also be advised of any decisions made relating to your claim, and how you can have the decision reviewed if desired. The TAC respects your privacy and will therefore treat all information about you with strict confidence. To make a claim with the Transport Accident Compensation, ensure you take the following measures after being in an accident.
1. Report the accident to police
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should first and foremost call the police. No matter how small the injury may seem at the time, it must be reported. TAC legislation requires that an accident be reported to police before a claim can be accepted. Report the accident to the police even if you were unable to identify the other vehicle.
2. Gather information to help you assess the claim
Before calling the TAC, you will need to have the following information ready:
- Details of the accident, e.g. location, circumstances, sustained injuries
- Details of the cars involved, including registration numbers, other occupants, etc.
- Names and contact details of any known witnesses
- Names of police who attended the scene or took a report, and the name of their station
- If police didn’t attend the scene, note down:
– The date you reported the accident to the police,
– The name of the police officer you spoke to, and
– The name of their police station
- Your employment and income details if you needed time off work due to your injuries. This will be used to assess whether you’re eligible for compensation for loss of income
- Your bank details
3. Call the TAC to lodge your claim
Call the TAC on 1300 654 329 to lodge your compensation claim. A TAC staff member will ask you questions regarding your accident and discuss your entitlements, as well as gather the information required to begin the claim process. All the information you give to the TAC will be used to assess your compensation claim. The TAC will contact you within 60 days from the claim date to inform you whether or not your claim has been accepted.
Remember, you need to lodge a claim within 12 months from the date of the accident to be eligible for compensation. That time period can be extended to 3 years if you have a reasonable excuse. The earlier you lodge a claim to the TAC, the earlier they can assess your payment entitlements for medical treatment and any other services you may require.
4. Find out what other benefits you’re entitled to
You may be entitled to other types of benefits, depending on the level of your injuries and the nature of the accident. As mentioned above, you could be eligible to receive payment for medical expenses and loss of income (i.e. weekly payments from the TAC if you’re unable to work). It’s strongly advised to seek out the aid of a personal injury lawyer to ensure you receive all the appropriate benefits and compensation you deserve.
You may be entitled to the following benefits:
- Medical and health related expenses
- Disability services
- Rehabilitation services
- Impairment benefit for a permanent impairment/injury
- Funeral expenses, counselling, and dependency benefits if a family member died in the accident
- Damages for pain and suffering, and loss of income if your injuries are considered to be ‘serious’ and caused by another person’s negligence
5. Review your Claim for Compensation Summary
If your claim is accepted, the information you provide to the TAC will also be summarised in a Claim for Compensation Summary, which will be sent to you after you have initially contacted the TAC. If you find any information is incorrect, contact the TAC immediately.
6. Return forms to the TAC
You’ll also be given a General Authority to Release Information form that authorises the TAC to contact your health professionals and help them with delivering your entitlements quickly. You may also need to give a Certificate of Capacity form, which has to be completed and signed by your medical practitioner. All forms must be completed and signed before being returned to the TAC.
7. Use your claim number
The TAC will give you a claim number to help identify your claim and you should refer to this number when you deal with them. Use your claim number when attending treatments for your injuries as well.
8. Check that you’re eligible before beginning a new treatment
Contact the TAC prior to starting a new treatment or service as they will only pay for treatments deemed eligible.
9. Arrange payment
Usually, your treatment or service provider will be the one who sends invoices/receipts directly to the TAC. If you’re sent a bill, pass it on to the TAC. If you pay for a treatment or service yourself and want to be reimbursed, keep your receipt and give it to the TAC when making a claim. Keep in mind, however, that you have two years from the date you received a treatment or service to claim payment from the TAC.
If you pay for travel expenses, household support services, and pharmacy/chemist items yourself, you’ll have to complete a form to claim these services. The TAC will pay for support services via electronic funds transfer, so it’s necessary that you give your bank account details to allow for prompt payment. If your treatment or service provider bills the TAC directly, you don’t have to complete an expenses claim form.
10. See a good car accident lawyer as soon as possible
It’s important that you receive advice from a specialist personal injury law firm like Henry Carus + Associates so that you can fully understand the scope of assistance available before making a compensation claim. While the TAC may appear to be on your side in the initial period following your accident, they will actively fight against you when it comes to receiving compensation, as they effectively work in the same way as an insurance company would.
A personal injury lawyer can help prepare you for any discussions with the TAC, as well as work with you to achieve the best possible outcome for your claim, and if possible, avoid court litigation. A good personal injury lawyer will also:
- Guide you through the many no-fault benefits of the TAC scheme, fostering a relationship that will continue throughout the rest of your life
- Seek to find early resolution to your claim, while still achieving the best possible outcome from your claim
- Tell you when it’s necessary to fight longer, in order to win you more money in court. Once the compensation claim has been finalised, you cannot go back and ask for more money, so it’s important to have a lawyer you can trust who can get the maximum compensation for you.
Henry Carus + Associates will be able to secure the required evidence to show what had happened to you on the day of the accident, which will ensure you get the support you need from the TAC and the compensation you deserve. What’s more, we’ll help you on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so you won’t have to worry about paying legal fees unless your case is won.
For a free consultation, simply fill out the enquiry form on our site or give us a call on 1800 525 018.