Road accident victims will benefit: lawyers welcome amendments to Transport Accident Act

7th Jun 2018

“Road accident victims in Victoria will have wider access to benefits to help them manage the huge financial, emotional and medical costs that can arise from a road accident,” said Geraldine Collins, spokesperson for the ALA.

The ALA congratulates the Victorian government on the introduction of the Treasury and Finance Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 into the Victorian Parliament, following genuine and meaningful consultation with key stakeholders. The ALA, together with the Law Institute of Victoria has worked with TAC to identify areas where benefits could be enhanced.

 “Of enormous benefit is the expansion of TAC to cover cyclists who collide with a stationary or parked vehicle,” said Ms Collins.

“Currently, the law only provides coverage to such cyclists when they are travelling to or from their place of work. With the increase in the levels of participation in cycling, this is an important amendment to protect cyclists.

“Importantly, the coverage will be backdated to 9 July 2014. This means any cyclist injured in such circumstances from that date will now be able to claim the benefits which flow from the TAA.”

Another significant change is that parents of an injured child can receive a payment towards loss of wages while their injured child is in hospital.

“Unfortunately, many children are injured in transport accidents,” said Ms Collins.  “In such cases, the child’s parents frequently stay by their bedside while they are in hospital. The Bill means that parents are now entitled to receive a payment towards their loss of wages during this period when their child needs them close by.”

The Bill also relaxes the requirement on the TAC to reassess an injured person’s level of impairment every five years, if the person is entitled to receive ongoing loss of earning capacity benefits.

“This is very important as the only people within this category are the severely injured. This saves the injured person the stress and indignity of facing a raft of medical examinations every five years, with the risk that their level of impairment will be reduced and wages payments consequently terminated,” said Ms Collins.

Further amendments to the Act include:

  • Expansion of various definitions; to include apprentices as a ‘dependent child’, to include apprentices as a ‘surviving partner’ and to include grandparents as a member of the ‘immediate family’. This will entitle apprentices to various benefits if a parent or spouse is killed as a result of a transport accident, and grandparents will be entitled to receive travelling and accommodation expenses when visiting an injured family member in hospital or attending the person’s funeral.  
  • Additional attendant care support to a person for a period of up to four weeks per year if they are travelling overseas for employment. This provides invaluable support to severely injured workers who have managed to maintain their dignity by being employed by not forcing them to draw on their attendant care support which would otherwise be available for them on a holiday.
  • Permission for a professional administrator to claim the expenses incurred in managing the funds paid to them by the TAC on behalf of an injured person who is under an order of administration. This measure benefits those particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians who receive payments from the TAC but are unable to manage their own finances and thus require the appointment of a professional guardian.