Published: 11 April 2018
Author: Ryan Carlisle Thomas
If you’re a cyclist injured in a transport accident, make a TAC claim
Debate has raged for quite some time as to whether cyclists ought to be paying registration and contributing to the State’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) fund for injured road users; but I’m not here to re-hash those arguments, nor advocate one way or the other.
However, if you’re a cyclist who is injured in a ‘transport accident’, you should be making a TAC claim and enjoying the benefits that flow from a claim now that the medical excess has been abolished by the TAC.
The Transport Accident Act 1986 (Vic) defines a ‘transport accident’ as meaning an incident directly caused by the driving of a motor car or motor vehicle, a railway train or a tram. So, if you are a cyclist who has been injured as a result of a collision with any of these forms of transport, you may make a claim to the TAC for benefits arising out of any injuries you suffer in that collision. These may include:
- Weekly benefits for loss of earnings;
- Weekly benefits for loss of earning capacity;
- Payment of medical and rehabilitation expenses;
- Payment of occupational rehabilitation services if your injuries prevent you from returning to your pre-injury job;
- Lump sum compensation for non-economic loss; and
- If your accident was caused by the negligence of the driver of the motor car/vehicle, train or tram (or some other party), potentially lump sum compensation for pain and suffering damages and economic loss damages.
Not all cycling accidents are eligible for a TAC claim
The situation would be totally different if you suffered injury in a collision with a pedestrian or another cyclist. Neither of those situations would be considered a ‘transport accident’ by the TAC (despite the obvious use of transport) and you may not be able to claim any benefits from the TAC. There are situations where a cyclist can suffer injury and not actually collide with a motor car/vehicle, train or tram so there is no ‘blanket rule’ in that sense. If you fall into this category, you should be making a claim to the TAC.
Car dooring incidents are a source of controversy for TAC eligibility. You (as the claimant) have to prove that your injuries were caused directly by the driving of a motor car/vehicle, train or tram. While car dooring incidents (when the car is parked and stationary) are caused by the driver of a vehicle, in many cases they may not necessarily be caused directly by the driving of a motor car/vehicle. There may be some cases where car dooring incidents give rise to eligibility under TAC, but (as we tell our clients) there are no two identical cases and we would suggest you contact one of our offices to discuss your particular situation if you find yourself in this position.
If your claim is rejected, you should seek early legal advice – if you do not dispute the notice by issuing VCAT proceedings within 12 months of the date of the decision (or receiving the decision) then you will be prevented from disputing the decision entirely. More information can be obtained via our earlier blog on Disputing a TAC Decision.