In good news for people injured on Victoria’s roads, the introduction and Royal Assent on 25 September 2018 of the Treasury and Finance Legislative Amendment Act 2018 provides some common sense changes that will more fairly apply the law and make access to entitlements clearer and easier. Unless otherwise stated, these changes come into effect for transport accidents occurring after 26 September 2018 and the sections referred to are the corresponding amendments in the Transport Accident Act 1986.
There are 7 changes of significance:
Expanding the definition of a transport accident
Potentially the most significant change is the “Rory Wilson” amendment. This change arose as a result of a case in 2017 where the Supreme Court found that, due to the way in which the TAC legislation then read, Mr Wilson, a cyclist injured when he collided with a stationary vehicle, was not entitled to compensation because he wasn’t injured whilst riding to or from his place of employment. The law then being that if a cyclist collided with a stationary vehicle they would only be entitled to access the TAC scheme if they were riding to or from their place of employment.
The unfairness of this exclusion has been addressed through this amendment; (sections 39 (1) (a) (i), 41 (a-c), s41 (1A) (1B) (a-b)) The amendment applies retrospectively to the extent that any person involved in an incident involving a pedal cyclist and a stationary vehicle on or after 9 July 2014 – the date of Mr Wilson’s accident – could now be eligible for benefits under the TAC scheme.
This means that if someone was involved in a transport accident like the one described above between 9 July 2014 and 25 September 2018, they can lodge a claim now within normal time limits (within 1 year from 26 September 2018 but up to 3 years with good reason for the delay).
Wages for parents of injured children
If a child is injured and in hospital as a result of a transport accident, it is only reasonable that their parents would want to visit them, necessarily stopping them from attending work and consequently, sustaining a loss of income at an already difficult time.
Loss of wages will now be paid (to a cap of $10,000 per child – to be shared between parents if needed) for parents in this situation;(sections 60(2) (c) (2CA-CD) and (3))
Reviewing loss of earnings capacity
Under the TAC system, regular reviews (every 5 years) for confirmation of continuing loss of earning capacity payments were mandatory. This didn’t make a whole lot of sense because only the most seriously injured are likely to be in receipt of loss of earning capacity. This is because generally weekly income benefits cease after 3 years and are only payable beyond 3 years to those suffering very significant injuries . The TAC is no longer required to review the loss of earnings capacity but rather can use their discretion to determine whether a review is really necessary; (s55 (2) (b)).
Travel and accommodation benefits
If immediate family need to visit someone who is an inpatient in Hospital as a result of a transport accident, and the injured person is receiving treatment more than 100km away from where their immediate family live, TAC may pay the reasonable travel and accommodation expenses incurred up to $20,000 per claim; (s60 (2) (E))
Grandparents are now considered immediate family members
Grandparents are now considered immediate family members of anyone involved in a transport accident and can access the travel and accommodation and counselling benefits not previously available to them; ( s3 (1) (b))
Overseas attendant care
If a person involved in a transport accident travels overseas, the TAC will now pay for attendant care for up to 12 weeks if the injured person has to travel due to their work; (s60(2) (2AAAA) a-b)
This is another encouraging amendment. If someone who has been injured nonetheless is able to return to work, attendant care can often be really important in maintaining their capacity to work.
Including apprentices as dependent children
Apprentices who are under 25 years of age and are financially dependent on a person who dies as a result of a transport accident will now be considered as a ‘dependent child’ enabling them to access dependency benefits from the TAC. Dependency benefits can include education expenses, weekly income and lump sum payments; (s3 (1) (b) and s58 (6) (b) (ii)).
If you or someone you know has been injured in a transport accident, at Rubicon Compensation Lawyers, we can help. We understand the compensation system and will give you expert advice about what your entitlements might be and how to access them quickly. Contact us on 8529 5985 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org