TAC claims for children are a complicated subset of transport accident compensation. It is important to realise going in that the TAC does not publish a significant amount of information on claiming TAC benefits for a child injured in a road accident. This can make it difficult for parents to lodge a claim and obtain the full compensation they deserve.
Henry Carus + Associates have unsurpassed knowledge of Victoria’s TAC legislation. Our lawyers can help you and your family overcome the challenges of the claims process and obtain benefits and additional compensation following a transport accident.
Call 03 9001 1318 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Henry Carus + Associates handle TAC claims for children in Melbourne and throughout VIC.
Road Accidents and Child Injuries
Transport accidents are one of the leading causes of death among children aged 14 and under. According to the Transport Accident Commission, approximately 300 children are injured and 7 children are tragically killed every year in road accidents.
Crashes in which children suffer injury range from back-over accidents in driveways to being struck by a vehicle in the street, and to injuries sustained when riding in a car with their parents. Some of the most common injuries a child may sustain in a road accident include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Lacerations from broken glass
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Chest and abdominal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Psychological trauma
All of these injuries are compensable by the TAC. Unfortunately, parents are hard-pressed to find resources from the TAC on lodging a claim for their children’s injuries. One of the few publicly accessible resources is a brochure titled ‘TAC information for families of children with injuries’. This brochure shares a lot of tips for getting on with life after a child is injured in an accident, but it contains very little information on claiming benefits.
Obviously, children can’t explore their legal options. It often falls to mum and dad to claim all available entitlements for their child. Henry Carus + Associates can provide much-needed guidance and support and help you to maximise your compensation.
Understanding TAC Claims for Children: How to Get Compensation
Being injured in a transport accident is a stressful experience. When it is your child who gets injured, however, the stress can be downright overpowering.
Lodging TAC claims for children is largely the same as the process injured adults would follow after an accident. The child’s parent or guardian will need to provide the following information to the TAC:
- The date, approximate time, and location of the accident
- Any injuries the child has suffered
- The names of any doctors your child has seen for injuries from the accident
- Name(s) and contact information for the driver(s) involved in the accident
- Registration numbers for the vehicles involved
- Witness names and contact information
- Information about the police response to the accident (such as the name and badge number of any officers who responded, as well as their station)
How Long Are Children Eligible for TAC Benefits?
Generally, the TAC only allows 1 year for someone who is hurt in a road accident to make a claim. Fortunately, people who are under the age of 18 when they suffer injury in an accident have until the age of 21 to claim compensation. That’s a minimum of 3 years.
When children are injured in transport accidents, however, it is likely in the best interest of the child and the family as a whole to lodge a claim much sooner. Parents should speak to a specialist lawyer about filing a TAC claim as soon as possible.
What TAC Benefits Are Children Entitled to After an Accident?
Children have their whole lives ahead of them. A road accident can drastically impact a child’s development, as well as their future.
Parents need to work with medical professionals to gain a complete understanding of their child’s injuries, including what treatments are required for complete recovery and/or any long-term or lifelong disabilities.
The TAC can pay for a number of medical treatments and supports following a road accident. These include:
- Appointments with a GP and other doctors
- Medical imaging
- Ambulance services
- Physiotherapy and Allied Health services
- Medical equipment and aids
- Rehabilitation services
- Community nursing
- Dental care
- Mental health support
- Travel and accommodation for medical care
- And more
Family members may also be entitled to support. Parents can claim loss of wages if they have to take off more than 5 days of work to care for their child after a road accident. In addition, the TAC can pay for counselling to help families cope with the aftermath of a crash.
The TAC can also fund the reasonable cost of respite services for a TAC client who, as a result of transport accident injuries, receives substantial unpaid care and support from a carer who resides in the same household. A maximum of 28 days of respite breaks per calendar year may be paid by the TAC. Unfortunately, this benefit is not well-publicised or explained, making it difficult for families to get the financial support they need to take a well-needed break or even a holiday.
Minors’ Additional Benefit
If a minor child sustains a permanent injury as a result of the accident and his or her impairment is assessed at 11% or more, the TAC will pay a minors’ additional benefit to the parent(s) or guardian(s) to help with the child’s care. Payments are made weekly, with the amount calculated based on the percentage of permanent impairment (as determined by an Independent Medical Examination). The minors’ additional benefit is available 18 months following a road accident (regardless of whether the injury is considered stable) and paid till the child turns 18.
Loss of Earnings Capacity
Because most children have no work history prior to a road accident, the TAC generally calculates loss of earnings capacity (LOEC) benefits using ‘80% of the average weekly earnings … for all Victorian employees as the pre-accident earning capacity amount.’ Claims for LOEC benefits can be made once the child reaches the age of 18.
It can be difficult to know what employment a child may have been suited for were it not for an accident early in life. Whether you are a child who has reached the age of adulthood or the parent of a child whose ability to work is affected by injuries from a road accident, it is important to be aware of all of the TAC benefits that may be available to help injured people make a living and/or replace lost income.
A minor who was permanently injured in a transport accident as a child can also lodge a claim for the TAC impairment benefit when they turn 18. The impairment benefit is a one-time lump sum payment made to clients whose accident injuries result in permanent impairment of 11% or more.
Common Law Compensation
TAC claims for children may include an entitlement to common law compensation if these conditions are met:
- Evidence shows that someone else (such as the driver of a vehicle) was at fault for the transport accident.
- NOTE: If the child is found to be partly at fault, partial recovery of common law damages is still possible.
- It is determined that the accident injury or injuries have resulted in permanent impairment of 30% or more,
- The child’s injuries meet the definition of a ‘serious injury’ (see Transport Accident Act 1986 S. 93(17)).
Pursuing common law compensation is particularly important with TAC claims for children. Recovering damages for pecuniary loss can help replace a child’s lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, and other economic losses. Pain and suffering damages, meanwhile, compensate children for the pain, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment and amenities of life associated with permanent accident injuries.
A common law claim may be brought up to 6 years after a child turns 18 years of age (i.e., when they are 24 years old). Or, the child’s parent or guardian can lodge a common law claim sooner to recover damages. The timing of such a claim is important; it is crucial to consult a specialist lawyer to determine if a settlement fairly compensates the child and the family for current and future losses.
We Handle TAC Claims for Children
Lawyers at Henry Carus + Associates know how the Transport Accident Commission operates. It is extremely difficult for clients of the TAC to know what benefits and other compensation they deserve—particularly when it comes to injuries suffered by children.
You Deserve More. This is our firm’s philosophy, and it has enabled us to achieve superior outcomes for road accident victims and their families.
TAC claims where a child is injured require specialised knowledge and expertise. We will thoroughly review the matter and collect medical records and other evidence so we can pursue the maximum compensation for you and your family.