So it is not surprising that many people do not actually realise how broad the scope of claims covered by the TAC actually is. In particular, a lot of members of the general public do not immediately realise that accidents involving public transport- trams, trains and buses- are also covered.
The place to start is just with the basic definition of a ‘motor vehicle.’ Whilst a car is the most common example and the majority of accidents involve them, if you broaden your mind just a little you very quickly see that trains, buses and trams are, of course, captured by these words.
Once you understand the scope you can see that the following people actually have TAC claims:
- 1. Someone who falls over on a tram when trying to touch-on their myki and it takes off or brakes suddenly;
- 2. A person who gets jammed in the doors of a train before it leaves the platform;
- 3. Someone sitting on a bus that is hit by another vehicle and they get thrown from their seat;
- 4. Even someone who is train-surfing and injures themselves.
It is becoming increasingly common as more and more people choose trains, trams or buses as their preferred method of getting from A to B for work or pleasure due to congestion on the roads.
It is also the most popular transport for the older members of our communities but they are also some of the people most at risk. They are often the people who need a little more time to get themselves organised and seated and also, sadly, do not always recover as well from falls or injuries in general.
Many people will next start asking questions about the complexity of these claims; Who pays the compensation? Do I do anything differently than if it was a car accident?
Who pays the compensation?
Any person who is injured in a transport accident and who suffers an injury is automatically eligible for benefits to cover their loss of wages and medical and like expenses. This money is paid by the TAC.
If someone sustains a permanent impairment they may be able to access an impairment benefit, (a small once-off lump sum payment) regardless of fault in the accident. If they sustain a serious injury and suffer permanent consequences as a result of their accident (and were not the sole cause of their accident) they may be able to access common law damages. If this is the case it is still the TAC who pays out this compensation.
What to do?
The key steps for any transport accident are as follows:
- 1. Seek medical attention. Your health comes first. Do everything you can to make sure you get appropriate treatment as soon as possible after your accident.
2. Report the accident to the police either at the time of, or after, the accident. The TAC will not process your claim without a police report.
3. Make a claim. Contact the TAC and lodge your claim. Remember to list ALL injuries you suffered and note that you are still investigating what your injuries are.
4. Seek legal advice. If you are unsure about what to do or what your entitlements are you can always contact a law firm- there is no harm in asking some questions. There is peace of mind in speaking to someone experienced with these matters and getting even just some preliminary information.
5. Get details of any witnesses. They may help you later on in the claims process if they support your evidence of how the accident happened.
The main difference in transport accidents is making sure the incident is reported to the transport company as well- be it Yarra Trams, Metro or a private bus company etc. Getting your version of events in writing at the time of the accident can help to avoid problems of conflicting stories later down the track.
At Henry Carus + Associates we have a highly experienced legal team specialising in personal injury matters. We have successfully helped many people with TAC claims involving public transport. If you, or someone you know, has been injured we would encourage you to call us for a free consultation to see if there is anything we can do to assist.