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Published: 10 December 2018
Author: Michael Burdess
I thought it may be useful to provide a real-life case example to help give people an understanding of how a Transport Accident Commission (TAC) claim may proceed. Of course, we have changed the name of the client and may have slightly changed some of the accident circumstances to ensure that the client is not identified.
Sarah attended our office in July 2017. She had been injured in late 2015 in a motor vehicle accident where she was a passenger in a single vehicle accident. The driver was a friend of hers and she took a corner too fast and lost control of the vehicle, hitting the side of a bridge.
The police and ambulance attended the scene and our client was in hospital for a number of days, ultimately being transferred to a hospital in Melbourne and undergoing spinal surgery. The client had to take a few months off work and have physiotherapy. After that, she was lucky to be able to return to her job as she ran her own business which involved reasonably light duties.
Sarah contacted the TAC herself and lodged a TAC claim to cover her medical and like expenses and some of her loss of wages. Eventually friends and family encouraged Sarah to come in and see me. By the time I saw her, it was 18 months since the accident occurred.
Sarah was fortunately not having any issues with the medical expenses being paid by the TAC and she was unable to claim weekly payments at the time I saw her as she had returned to her old job without restriction. We started investigating the case by obtaining all of the relevant medical notes from the various hospitals and doctors clinics that she had attended. We then requested reports from her treating doctors and once they were received, we were able to arrange medical assessments with medico-legal experts through a process known as the “joint medical examination” protocol with the TAC.
Sarah attended these medical appointments (her travel expenses being paid by the TAC) and by April 2018 she received a payment of more than $24,000 from the TAC for her "no fault" impairment benefit claim. At this time we also arranged for Sarah to see the barrister at her local Stringer Clark office. This occurred in May 2018 and the necessary documents to pursue a further lump sum claim against the TAC were drafted. Once that documentation came in, we also lodged her application for lump sum compensation with the TAC (known as a serious injury application) in May 2018.
The TAC accepted that Sarah was seriously injured, which is a requirement before lump sum damages can be claimed from the TAC. That acceptance by the TAC meant that we didn’t have to run a court case to prove that she was seriously injured.
Once we were notified of the acceptance, we arranged a conference with the TAC to see if we could reach an agreement with them to settle the claim. The conference occurred in late July 2018 in her local Stringer Clark office. Sarah was represented by me and her barrister. Ultimately, we were able to obtain an offer of $275,000 (plus she was able to keep the impairment benefit money mentioned above), which Sarah accepted. This settlement did not impact her entitlement to medical and like expenses. By mid-August 2018 Sarah had her settlement money transferred to her and was very pleased with the result we had obtained.
Needless to say, all parties involved were very happy to see Sarah have her claim entirely resolved and her settlement money paid to her within 12 months of visiting my office.
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