Victoria Car Accident Lawyers
If you were involved in a car accident in Victoria, there is a strong possibility many others were involved as well – either as a driver, a passenger or even a pedestrian. Having experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers on your side, will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
You might have been taken to the hospital and, with that step, a TAC claim is usually submitted to the TAC (Transport Accident Commission), mainly because the hospital wishes to be paid for its services.
What does not occur is comprehensive education for you to understand the role of the TAC, and how in fact the TAC is, in essence, a government insurance company responsible (in part) for providing a vast array of benefits to you for the rest of your life.
Unfortunately, the situation is even more difficult for a person to understand if they do not go to a hospital and are unsure of whether to even submit a TAC claim. This is when experienced legal assistance is needed to help ensure an injured victim obtains all the benefits available and most importantly, preserves the right to seek full compensation for any serious injury suffered.
Our firm’s principal, Henry Carus, has provided legal advice to the TAC over a number of years during the period when the TAC was still coming to understand the legislation. He has been trained to appreciate what no-fault benefits the TAC can provide to an injured person and ensures that our firm seeks such support for each and every client.
In addition to these no-fault type benefits, the TAC also has a role in providing common law compensation, which is given in a lump sum to those seriously injured due to the fault (in whole or in part) of another and such compensation can be very generous.
- We use our experience to achieve excellent outcomes for those injured by a motor vehicle – both to support their entitlement to the no-fault benefits and to obtain as much common law compensation as possible.
Injured in a Car Accident?
Receive the TAC Compensation No-Fault Benefits You Deserve
No fault benefits available from the TAC for a Victorian motor vehicle accident can include the following:
- Payment of reasonable medical expenses to treat injuries suffered in the accident;
- Payment of reasonable rehabilitation costs related to the injuries from the accident;
- Replacement of lost earnings caused by the inability to work while recovering from your injuries;
- Payment for in-home assistance made necessary by your injuries; and
- Lump-sum benefits if your accident-related injuries have left you with a permanent impairment.
In time, if you are left with a serious injury, at least one that has serious consequences to the quality of your life, and the accident was the fault of another (at least in part) then under the law in Victoria, you can seek generous compensation. With such a claim, the TAC becomes the insurance company for the person responsible for the actions of the vehicle that caused the accident.
The scope of the compensation available is more generous than the no-fault lump sum payment, as it seeks to address the overall loss to the quality of life suffered by ongoing pain and suffering, and the loss of income, from the past and into the future by reason of your serious injuries.
TAC’s Commitment to Fund Medical Treatment and Support Services
The TAC will pay the reasonable costs for medical and related expenses, including rehabilitation services, travel, household support and disability services to assist in getting your life back together.
The services that are available to you include:
- Ambulance services – The TAC will pay for transport to the hospital from the scene of the accident and trips between hospitals.
- Hospital services – The TAC will pay for treatments at hospitals, as needed.
- Nursing services – The TAC pays for home visits after you have left the hospital.
- Medical services – This includes visits to your family or specialist doctor.
- X-rays – The TAC will pay for medical imaging that is required to diagnose any injury you may have.
- Medications – This includes medicine that is prescribed to you by your doctor and provided by a pharmacist.
- Equipment – The TAC will pay for the equipment that your healthcare professional recommends for your injuries.
- Dental service – If your teeth were affected in the accident, the TAC will pay to have them repaired.
- Medical aids – The TAC will pay for the replacement of certain things damaged in your accident like glasses, hearing aids, mobility aids, or dentures.
- Rehabilitation services – The TAC will cover the cost of rehabilitation services that you require due to your accident.
- Household support services – This includes services such as housekeeping or gardening.
- Travel – The TAC can reimburse the cost of travel in between doctor’s visits and other appointments having to do with your injuries and accident.
- Therapy services – This includes physiotherapy, chiropractic visits, podiatry. Optometry.osteopathy. And psychology.
In addition, if your doctor advises that you need one of the appointments below, you may book an appointment without approval from the TAC.
- Exercise Physiology
- Chiropractic Services
Other Types of Car Accident Claims We Cover
When it comes to claims involving motor vehicles, many times the accident will not fall immediately into the TAC no-fault benefit world. However, there is still common law compensation to be had from the TAC or others for those injured. When the injury occurs:
- By reason of the use of a motor vehicle, as opposed to the driving of a motor vehicle.
- When the car accident of any type occurs while in the scope of their work duties.
There are situations where the TAC does have an obligation to provide no-fault benefits but its only concern (when you are seeking common law compensation) is to decide if you meet the threshold of having suffered a “serious injury”. In such situations, the TAC has to decide to grant you a serious injury certificate (or a court may do so if needed) and then they are no longer concerned with the common law claim. Situations such as this arise when:
- The car responsible for your accident is not a Victorian registered vehicle, and in such situations, you will be dealing with an out-of-state insurer for that vehicle.
- In a car accident where the fault lies with the roadway itself, such as in how it has been constructed or maintained.
Both situations require a mindset that has an understanding of how other insurance companies see a common law claim, and especially when you are looking at other areas of the law. Our firm is especially well placed to seek such common law compensation as our Henry Carus in the past as an insurance lawyer, represented parties in litigation from all states, and has an in-depth understanding of road design, road construction and road maintenance claims.
Remember that a TAC Common Law Claim gives you Access to Lump Sum Compensation that includes:
- Replacement of lost or reduced earnings, both past and future.
- Compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured and will endure for the rest of your life, as a result of the accident.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
According to the TAC, speed is one of the main factors that contribute to car accidents in Victoria. In 2012, there were a total of 282 road deaths in which speeding was a contributor. Statistics show that a reduction in 5 km/hr can lessen the severity of injuries and can be the difference between life and death. A car that is travelling 60 km/hr will need 45m to stop, and a car going 65 km/hr will still be moving near 32 km/hr after that 45m.
With so much attention being paid to electronic devices these days, distracted driving accidents have reached an all-time high. The use of a cell phone, tuning the radio, eating, and applying makeup can all lead to costly consequences. In fact, taking your eyes off of the road for just two seconds can leave you effectively blind for 27 metres if you are driving at 50 km/hr.
There are four practice areas one could engage in that would be considered distracted driving including:
These types of distractions fit into two categories known as technology-based distractions and non-technology based distractions. One study found that nearly 80% of collisions that occur are caused by a motorist whose attention is not on the road ahead.
Drink driving is one of the most common reasons for road accident deaths in Victoria. According to Towards Zero, around one in five drivers and riders that have a BAC over the legal limit of .05 are killed in an accident. Alcohol affects everyone in different ways, and that is why there is never a “safe amount” to drink if you are planning on driving. To avoid causing injuries to others and yourself, always refrain from drinking if you plan to drive later on.
During long periods on the road, drivers can experience extreme tiredness if they do not find the time to rest. Driving fatigued can be extremely dangerous as falling asleep for just four seconds while travelling at 100km/hr means a car will have travelled 111 metres with no control by the driver. Fatigue causes nearly 50 deaths and 300 serious injuries per year in Victoria. Drivers who are at risk of fatigued driving may include young drivers, shift workers, and drivers with sleeping disorders.
Common Injuries from Car Accidents in Victoria
There is a wide variety of injuries that stem from car accidents. One of the most common injuries that result from car accidents happens to be whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a victim’s head and neck are thrown violently forward as a result of a sudden jolt most commonly from the rear. Whiplash injuries can leave their victims with terrible pain for weeks and in serious cases, for years after an accident.
The TAC, in fact, has provided research to demonstrate that we are not designed to survive a car accident, and their “Meet Graham” campaign is one that should be shared with all those injured in a motor vehicle accident.
While whiplash should be taken seriously and treated as soon as possible, some injuries in car accidents prove to be much more debilitating and severe, including:
Brain Injuries from Car Accidents
Brain injuries in Australia are very common. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 700,000 Australians suffer from a brain injury. During a car accident, vehicle occupants are often jostled around inside of the car with great force. When this happens, a person has little control of their body and often will strike their head on a window, door, steering wheel and/or other objects. A brain injury can leave victims with terrible headaches, vision issues, nausea, and, if serious enough, lifelong dependency and death. What is very sad is that the expressions used by health professionals to describe a brain injury, that being “Mild Closed-Head Injury”, misleads many to believe such an injury should have little consequence. Anyone who suffers any change in consciousness, even from just being disorientated after an accident, should consult an experienced specialist personal injury lawyer.
Spinal Injuries from Car Accidents
The sad truth about car accidents in Australia is that they account for more than 50% of all the spinal cord injuries throughout the country. Many of these spinal cord injuries are permanent and change the victim’s life forever. Often, the victim of a spinal cord injury will need to remain in the hospital for up to a year or more. However, quite serious injuries are suffered by those who never attend a hospital right away. What starts as a discomfort quickly progresses to severe pain, many times radiating to other parts of the body. The fact that they did not have to attend hospital immediately after the accident is seen as an indication that it should not be so serious when in fact the injured person could be on their way to a very serious injury for life. Tragically, the age group most affected by these life-altering spinal injuries is people aged 15-24, when their lives are just beginning and the consequences will alter their quality of life forever.
Broken Bones from Car Accidents
Aside from whiplash, broken bones are one of the most common injuries resulting from a car accident. In fact a spinal injury may be an injury to one of the vertebrae in the spine, with many different types of fractures commonly suffered. The human bone structure is strong to a certain extent; however, when a car accident occurs, bones stand little chance. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims may also suffer broken hands, legs, arms, ribs, facial bones, and feet.
Organ Damage and Internal Bleeding
Internal organs can be punctured and damaged during car accidents. Blunt force trauma can cause bones to break and consequently puncture the lungs and/or other internal organs. This can cause internal bleeding which requires immediate medical attention. The extent of internal damage can easily lead to the loss of an organ or for an organ to be permanently damaged.
Burns, Cuts, and Abrasions from Car Accidents
Car accidents are unpredictable. Fires can erupt, glass can shatter, and car parts can be shot in all directions. Burns from fires, seatbelts, and airbags can leave a victim with lifelong scars and skin grafts. Cuts from glass and shrapnel can require surgeries and lead to loss of functionality of the limbs that they impact. Even the scars left from emergency trauma surgery can lead to a serious disfigurement of a person, which in of themselves constitutes as a “serious injury”.
What is the Psychological Impact of a Car Accident?
Many victims of car accidents are immediately focussed on their physical injuries. However, many accident victims do not realize the psychological impact a car accident has on them until they begin to cope with their situation. Many victims are afraid to talk about the mental impact of a car accident, and it’s important that they feel supported. Henry Carus understands the impact that a car accident can have on a person. Some issues that victims of car accidents encounter after their accident includes:
- Overwhelming guilt
- Fear of driving again
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of enjoyment of life
All of these psychological issues should be taken very seriously because they can impact a person’s life significantly. People who experience them may find it difficult to return to work, be around others, and even have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Henry Carus understands what accident victims go through and is here to help seek help for them in any way that he can.
And then there are those who are seriously and permanently scarred simply by the accident occurring, either by way of witnessing a tragic accident or by having to address a loved one that has been injured or killed in an accident. A TAC claim has to be lodged by all such involved to get no-fault benefits and to preserve their rights to seek common law compensation. Sadly, many persons so affected are not aware of what they need to do right away, and advice from our firm is truly needed ASAP.
Why Choose Henry Carus + Associates as Your TAC Claims Lawyers?
Our team’s experience and the ability of our firm to be across the intricacies of all the areas of the law involved, means our practitioners are well placed to get our clients the results they are looking for.
This makes us very different from the other larger, less personally oriented law firms that only see you as a number. Typically what goes on within these firms are you will be transferred from one practice group to another just to manage the complications involved because they are without a complete understanding of all the legislation involved, and more importantly, no real relationship with you. We see you differently. We see you as a person trying to recover financially, mentally and physically so you can get on with your life. This is why we are so different.
Many firms do not understand or have difficulty accepting that the TAC is constantly creating policies to limit its obligations in providing no-fault benefits.
They also fail to understand that the TAC essentially operates as an insurance company when defending common law claims. In that second role, the TAC is there to defend the person who has seriously injured you and cannot act to give you the best possible compensation available.
Based on our experience with the TAC as a client, we are fully aware of how the TAC thinks and simply prepare to contest its policies as needed and to prove our client’s common law claim in anticipation of TAC’s defensive actions. In other words, unlike many transport accident law firms who get upset by the TAC’s stance, we instead simply spend all the time preparing for the contest to win and more importantly, to win with the best possible outcome for our clients.