As of 1 January 2020 the Transport Accident Commission (“TAC”) have introduced new protocols in relation to Common Law claims (also known as Serious Injury claims) which are designed to supplement their prior protocols. These supplementary protocols are designed to help those injured in Victorian Motor Vehicle Accidents obtain compensation in a more timely manner.
There are 4 aspects to the new protocols which include:
- A serious injury fast track application;
- Proactive Common Law eligibility decisions;
- Partial Common Law settlements; and
- Interim Common Law payments.
Serious Injury Fast Track Applications
The TAC have now introduced a ‘Serious Injury Fast Track Application’ which allows the injured person’s legal representative to immediately lodge an application on the basis that the injured person has suffered a clearly demonstrable serious injury. These injuries could include amputations, joint replacements, significant spinal injuries or acquired brain injuries etc. To be eligible to submit this application, an injured person must meet the criteria for a ‘serious injury’ and have not yet received a lump sum in relation to their impairment. Accidents which occur during the course of employment are not eligible for this application.
Proactive Common Law Eligibility Decisions
This protocol involves the TAC proactively assessing applications and granting a Serious Injury Certificate when they have identified an injured person has suffered a serious injury or their level of impairment is 30% or more. This proactive assessment relates to all injured persons with an active claim, regardless of whether they have legal representation or not.
Partial Common Law Settlements
The TAC have allowed partial settlement of a Common Law claim where agreement has been reached in relation to an injured persons ‘pain and suffering’ but have not yet agreed on their ‘pecuniary loss’. The TAC would then arrange for a Release to be signed by the injured person to receive payment of their partial settlement, noting that they have further entitlements still to be resolved.
Interim Common Law Payment
Similar to the above, the TAC have allowed an interim payment to be made in relation to a client’s serious injury claim where the final settlement amount has not yet been reached. This payment is made at the discretion of the TAC including the amount to be paid and is limited to ‘pain and suffering’ damages only. The TAC will arrange for an agreement to be signed which notes the payment is to be offset against any final settlement amount reached.
These supplementary protocols are a positive step in assisting those who have been injured in a Victorian motor vehicle accident access appropriate compensation.
If you wish to obtain further advice in relation to a motor vehicle accident, please contact our office.