Help, I've been in a car accident, what should I do?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Victoria, you have a legal right to claim compensation from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).
Zaparas Lawyers specialise in TAC law. The firm’s expert team of TAC solicitors are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured individuals.
We can ensure your entitlement to benefits is determined fairly and reasonably, and can dispute a decision made by the TAC on your behalf.
What sort of benefits could I be eligible for?
Medical and like expenses
This includes all medical services and treatments that are reasonable and related to the accident. A medical excess applies before the TAC commences payment, but we are happy to help you reach your excess while protecting your entitlements.
Loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity
Loss of earnings benefits may be paid for up to 18 months to a wage earner who is unable to return to their pre-accident employment as a result of injuries sustained. After this period, loss of earning capacity benefits may be paid for a further 18 months.
A permanent impairment arising from an injury may entitle you to a lump sum compensation amount. Your level of impairment is assessed by independent examiners before the TAC determines whether you will receive a payment or not. It’s our job to ensure you are assessed fairly and reasonably and to dispute any decision made by the TAC that we believe to be unjust.
Common law damages
Over and above these benefits, you may be entitled to Common Law damages where it can be shown that the transport accident was wholly or partially the fault of another party and that you have been ‘seriously injured’. Damages may include lump sum payments for pain and suffering and/or economic loss. TAC claims have time limits, so it is vital that you speak to us as soon as possible after you have been injured in a transport accident.
How can I claim on medical expenses from the TAC?
In order to make a request for a particular service or treatment, your doctor will need to send a written request to the Commission to ask it to fund the treatment. We recommend putting in the medical justification for the treatment, and, if there has been a gap in treatment, explain the reasons for that gap as well. This will hopefully help the Commission in its consideration of the request and prevent unnecessary delays.
Once the Commission has received the material, it will make a decision on the merits of the request. If the decision is to approve the treatment, then you can arrange with your treatment provider to undergo the treatment, or with a service provider to the assistance. If the decision is to deny funding, we recommend that you seek legal advice to help you determine whether this a decision that should be challenged.
Understanding your right to medical expense coverage can provide a sense of safety and security for you and your family. For a more in depth understanding about how Zaparas Lawyers can aid you in this process, please see the following video:
If the accident was my fault, do I have any entitlements?
You have entitlements as an injured person regardless of who caused the accident. These entitlements include:
- Medical and related expenses;
- Weekly payments if you are unable to work;
- A lump sum for permanent injury, called an ‘impairment benefit’.
Strict time limits apply, so we recommend seeking advice as soon as possible. A lawyer will be able to help you through this process and negotiate on your behalf.
What if the accident was someone else's fault?
Over and above the benefits outlined above, if the transport accident was caused wholly or partially by the fault of another party and you have sustained a serious injury, you may be entitled to make a common law claim. A common law claim may include lump-sum compensation for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Economic loss.
How long do I have to make a TAC claim?
A claim for compensation must be made within one year of the date of the injury or the date when you first realise you are injured as a result of a transport accident. However, the TAC may consider a claim made outside this one year limit if reasonable grounds exist for the delay in making a claim, and it is made within three years from the date of the accident or the date you first realised you were injured.
The TAC will not consider any claims made outside this three year period, unless the injured person is less than 18 years of age at the time of the accident. In this case they have until the day before they turn 21 years old to make a claim.
I was in an accident interstate, can the TAC help me?
If you were involved in a transport accident that occurred outside of Victoria, you will still be entitled to TAC benefits if:
- You are a Victorian resident who was injured in an accident involving a Victorian registered vehicle; or
- You are a non-Victorian resident who was injured as an occupant of a Victorian registered vehicle.
If a Victorian registered vehicle was not involved in your accident, your claim will be governed by the relevant authority in the state in which the accident occurred.
What should I do next?
Make an appointment to see one of our specialist compensation lawyers who will answer any questions you have and give a comprehensive overview of your legal rights.
Where are your offices?
Currently we have seven offices around Melbourne to assist clients all around Victoria and an office in Queensland. Our solicitors are also happy to make a home visit if required.
Our locations can be found here: Zaparas Lawyers office locations
What should I bring to the appointment?
Please bring all relevant documentation you have such as completed claim forms, letters from the TAC, medical reports, radiological investigations and any other documents that may be relevant.
How much will I pay in legal costs?
When an injury is sustained, it often causes great financial strain to the injured party and their family. This is why, since its beginning, Zaparas Lawyers has fought cases on a ‘No win, No charge’ basis. In simple terms, this means that you do not pay anything unless you win your case.
We believe everyone deserves access to justice no matter their financial situation. Our fees cover the time required for your lawyer and legal team to work on your case and unlike other firms, we have also extended our ‘No Win, No Charge’ policy to cover other expenses like medical reports, court and barrister fees.
We know our clients rely on us to get the best outcome, so when we do win we make sure we cap our fees to ensure you get more of the money you’ve been rewarded.
English is my second language, are you able to provide an interpreter?
Our firm has a diverse and multicultural team comprising of lawyers and law clerks who speak different languages including: Greek, Cantonese, Mandarin, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Turkish and Singhalese. We also have a network of the very best interpreters who can attend interviews and appointments free of charge to our clients.