Can I claim lost wages from the TAC?
If you are earning an income and you suffer an injury due to a road accident, you may be eligible for the TAC to pay you loss of earning benefits, regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not.
Even if you were not working at the time of the accident or are a casual, part-time or seasonal worker, you may still be eligible for loss of earning benefits.
Loss of earning benefits may be paid for up to 18 months from the time of the accident. Payments will not be made for the first 5 days of loss, unless financial hardship can be proven.
The TAC will stop paying loss of earning benefits to you when there is no medical reason preventing you from returning to work.
What happens after 18 months?
If you are still injured after 18 months, what happens if you can’t return to your old job by then?
From 18 months up to 3 years after the accident, the TAC will continue to pay you what is called “loss of earning capacity payments”, if you have a loss of earning capacity as a consequence of your accident injuries.
If you have an total combined impairment of 50% or greater (this is a technical medical measure which is also important to address, but we will do so at another time), then you will usually be eligible to receive payments up until retirement age (usually 65).
An assessment at 50% or greater is not very common, and will involve a situation in which a person who has suffered very significant injuries, either physical or psychological, or a combination of the two.
What if you have a less than 50% impairment?
Once a claim has been lodged, the TAC will consider any claim for loss of earnings. Usually, for salary earners this will mean examining their earnings before the accident. If you’re a seasonal, casual or part-time worker, your average income will be determined by looking at your total earnings in the 12 month period before the accident. Superannuation contributions are not included by the TAC in their assessment. Once your income has been determined, the TAC will follow a formula detailed in the Transport Accident Act 1986, that sets out how much the TAC will be obligated to pay you. In general, the TAC will pay 80% of your income, to a maximum of $1,430.
If you have any queries about income benefits, you should call your lawyer for advice.