Published: 20 November 2017
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas
A day to remember loved ones lost to road trauma and the importance of road safety
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is organised by the World Health Organisation each year on the third Sunday in November. It recognises individuals who have died, or been injured, in road accidents and the plight of their loved ones who must cope with the consequences of death or injury.
This day is not widely promoted in Australia. However, when it was drawn to my attention it did make me pause to reflect on the loved ones I have lost in road traffic accidents.
As a teenager, my family suffered a terrible loss when my 10-year-old brother, Leigh, was hit by a car and suffered what ended up being fatal injuries. He was playing ‘chasey’ with his mates, a car veered to miss another child on the road and hit my brother who had stopped on the curb side. After being flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital, he was in a coma for a week before we were told there was no hope and the machines keeping him alive were turned off. You can never truly get over such a tragedy and it’s timely to remember him on this globally recognised day.
I wish I could say that was the only road traffic victim I had to remember. However, when I was 18 years old my boyfriend at the time was a passenger in a car crash in which our good friend, the driver, was killed. My boyfriend escaped without serious physical injuries but the mental scars were obvious well into the future.
The impact of road trauma impacts many
Sadly, this is a common story and my experience of being effected by multiple road accidents is not unique and is heartbreakingly familiar to many people living in Victoria have had family members or friends suffer death or injury on our roads. According to the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, there were 1,294 road deaths in Australia in 2016.
The Transport Accident Commission reports:
- In Victoria in 2016, 252 Australians died on Victorian roads
- The road toll for 2017 reached 215 on 19 November
- There are 1,008 claims involving hospitalisation due to road trauma in regional Victoria in 2017 and 153 cases involved hospitalisation for more than 14 days.
At Ryan Carlisle Thomas and Stringer Clark, myself and the legal team understand the stress that victims of road trauma and their families and friends go through and the effect tragic accidents have on the entire community.
Please drive safely
Time does heal the pain suffered when losing someone you love, but the grief remains and this day is an opportunity to remember loved ones. Let’s remain hopeful it can also act as a reminder to others to drive safely, especially as we enter the busy festive season and Christmas holiday period.
Compensation can make a difference in recovery
It’s also important to promote to people injured in car accidents that the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) will provide more than just medical and rehabilitation expenses. Those who have suffered injury in transport accidents in Victoria can also obtain loss of earning benefits and lump sum compensation if they have suffered a permanent injury.
For dependant spouses and children of road accidents victims there is financial assistance available through TAC for funeral expenses, counselling, weekly payments of compensation and lump sum compensation.
It’s beneficial to contact a lawyer experienced in dealing with TAC claims in your local area. An experienced and professional lawyer can reduce the stress you suffer in dealing with your claim so you can concentrate on your health and the health of those around you at such a difficult time.