Anyone injured in a transport accident can lodge a claim for compensation by telephoning the TAC on 1300 654 329 or STD toll free – 1800 332 556. The Transport Accident Commission (“TAC”) has developed a telephone claims process to speed up the process of lodging a TAC claim.
The TAC operator will ask a barrage of questions that are contained in the TAC claim form and the operator will enter your answers on an online copy of the form. At the end of the telephone call this will be printed out and posted to you.
A claim number will be allocated at the time of the telephone call and this number will appear on the hard copy claim form that is posted to you. However, there is still another important step that has to be taken before the claim is regarded as lodged.
Once you have received your copy, you must carefully go through the claim form to satisfy yourself that the answers entered onto the form by the operator are correct. In addition, there may be a number of questions that you were unable to answer over the telephone. You must answer those questions in the claim form. Once this has been done, you have to sign the claim form before a witness and then return it by post to the TAC.
When the TAC receives the completed and signed claim form in the mail, it will make a decision to either accept or reject the claim. The decision will be conveyed to you in writing. Most claims are accepted, however, some claims are rejected. If the claim is rejected, the TAC will provide you with written reasons why it made that decision.
A number of claims are rejected because the accident was not reported to the police or to the operator of the train or tram. If a claim is rejected for these reasons, a new claim can be lodged after a report has been made to the police or to the operator of the train or tram.
A claim for compensation must be lodged within 12 months of the date of the accident or within 12 months of the accident related injury first manifesting itself.
There is a discretion that the TAC has to accept a claim for compensation outside the 12 month period. However, the accident victim must be able to satisfy the TAC that there was a good reason why the claim was not lodged within 12 months. In any event, the TAC’s discretion to accept a claim lodged outside the 12 month period ceases on the third anniversary of the accident or when the injury first manifests itself.
After three years, a claim simply cannot be accepted by the TAC. This can have extremely serious implications as an injured person in this position would then be totally locked out of the TAC compensation system and would also be unable to pursue a common law damages claim.
If you have lodged a TAC claim for compensation which has been rejected it is very important that you obtain high quality legal advice from a specialist TAC lawyer.