Published: 10 May 2016
Author: Stringer Clark

Families of road accident victims have rights restored

Changes to the Transport Accident Act will see fairer outcomes for road accident victims.

The Transport Accident Amendment Bill 2015 was introduced into Parliament in November 2015 and passed the Legislative Assembly on 26 November 2015.

The Bill passed the Legislative Council last month and effectively reverses the provisions enacted under the Transport Accident Amendment Act 2013 that limit the right of families of people who die or are severely injured in transport accidents to seek compensation for psychological injury.

The requirement that claimants with psychiatric injuries needed to seek treatment for three years before they can bring a serious injury claim has also been reversed. This was very onerous for many people. It did not recognise that many people suffering from mental illness find it difficult to reach out for assistance. Furthermore, it was especially difficult for claimants living in rural areas who may have limited access to mental health services.

Stringer Clark is pleased that these limiting provisions have been reversed. The changes made in 2013 were restrictive and contradictory to the needs of the community. They were not inline with community expectations as they were made at a time when the community was advocating for greater support of people suffering for mental illness.

Thankfully the Andrew’s government has kept their election promise made to retrospectively remove these provisions to allow a greater number of people with psychological injuries access to compensation.

Anyone suffering from mental illness due to motor vehicle accidents to seek both medical and legal advice should ensure they have access to the treatment and compensation they are entitled to.

If you are injured in an accident in Victoria you must inform the police of the accident and call the TAC and tell them you wish to make a claim.

You are entitled to reimbursement for medical expenses, therapy and counseling and, if you are unable to work, you can claim benefits for up to three years.

If the injury is serious, you may be entitled to a lump sum to cover any future loss of earnings and to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

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