Fast Tracking Your TAC Serious Injury Application

filling an application

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) introduced its ‘Supplementary Common Law Protocols’last year, as part of its strategy to get individuals back on the road to recovery sooner.In certain cases, these Protocols have streamlined the common law damages claims process through the implementation of ‘Serious Injury Fast Track Applications’.

When can a Serious Injury Fast Track Application be made?

These fast track applications can only be made if:

  1. You have sustained catastrophic or clearly demonstrable serious injuries as a result of a transport accident. Examples of these cases include where the individual has undergone an amputation, joint replacement, suffered significant spinal injuries, an acquired brain injury or gross scarring;
  2. Your legal representatives participate in the Protocols;
  3. You have not lodged an Impairment Benefit claim;
  4. You were not involved in a transport accident arising out of or in the course of employment; and
  5. It is clear that negligence can be proven against another party.

What is the usual process for pursuing common law damages?

An individual who has sustained a “serious” injury can pursue common law damages for pain and suffering, and economic loss.

Step One – Lodge a Serious Injury Application to the TAC for the purposes of obtaining a Serious Injury Certificate. This certificate is required to pursue common law damages.

The TAC’s usual timeframe for assessing Serious Injury Applications is45 days from receiving the application.

Step Two – Once this certificate is granted, it must be established that another party caused your injuries and was negligent.

Step Three – Arrange a conference with the TAC to resolve your common law claim. If your matter does not resolve, Court proceedings must be initiated.

How have Fast Track Applications streamlined the damages process?

For Fast Track Applications, the TAC will advise within 14 days of receiving the application whether a Serious Injury Certificate is granted.  Within 28 days of the certificate being granted, a conference must be arranged for the purposes of negotiating a lump sum.

These expedited applications now mean that catastrophically injured individuals receive access to restorative justice in a timely manner.

Maxiom Injury Lawyers are proud to participate in the TAC protocols. We will do everything we can for you to receive your lump sum compensation without any unnecessary delay. If you have been involved in a transport accident, please contact us on 1800 853 085 for advice about your rights and entitlements.

What’s the Difference Between WorkSafe, WorkCover and a WorkCover Insurer?

You may be feeling confused about who is who when you suffer a work related injury. You may have heard the terms ‘WorkCover’ and seen ads on TV for ‘WorkSafe’, but who do you need to contact if you are unfortunately injured?

Victorians who are injured at work are eligible to make a claim under their employer’s WorkCover insurance.

The Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) is the State Government body that oversees the WorkCover scheme. This authority is commonly referred to as WorkSafe. It gains its powers from the same legislation that covers workers’ rights.

WorkCover is a term commonly used to refer to the scheme, the authority, the insurance and the entitlements.

WorkSafe is also the occupational health and safety enforcement arm of the Victorian WorkCover Authority. WorkSafe can conduct health and safety inspections, issue improvement notices and fine or prosecute employers who are found to have breached OH&S laws.

WorkCover laws require that employers take out Workcover insurance policy with one of WorkSafe’s agents. These ‘agents’ are insurance companies appointed by WorkSafe to manage employers’ WorkCover insurance and compensation claims made by injured workers. The following WorkCover insurers are currently WorkSafe agents so all claims will be managed by one of them:

  • Allianz Australia Workers’ Compensation (Victoria) Limited
  • EML VIC Pty Ltd
  • Gallagher Bassett Services Workers Compensation Vic Pty Ltd
  • Xchanging

It is also important to note that some employers are self insured and manage their own workers compensation claims.

If you do not know which insurer covers your workplace you can ask the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.

If you would like some free, no obligation advice about a work injury, please call one of our lawyers on 1800 853 085 for advice about your rights and entitlements.

Can I be Compensated for Work-Related Hearing Loss?

work compensation

In Australia, approximately one in seven people will develop hearing loss.[1] From this portion, studies suggest that 37% are a result of noise induced hearing loss, including exposure at work.[2]This is common for those who work in the construction, manufacturing and automotive industries.The effects of exposure to hazardous noise levels can range from constant ringing in the ears (also known as tinnitus) to permanent hearing loss.

Under the VictorianWorkCover scheme, you are entitled to compensation if your employment is causative of or is a significant contributing factor to your hearing loss. Generally speaking, if you were exposed to damaging noise in the course of your employment and you have suffered hearing loss, your claim should be accepted.

What should I do if I notice hearing loss?

1.Speak to your employer – Inform them of hearing loss symptoms. If you work in a noisy work environment, you should ask your employer to provide you with the appropriate hearing protection.

2. Consult your GP – Your doctor can advise you about the appropriate treatment requirements and whether a referral to an Audiologist is necessary.

3. Lodge a WorkCover claim – A WorkCover claim should be lodged with your last employer that has contributed to your hearing loss. There is no requirement for you to be working to lodge your claim.

What are my entitlements?

Once your claim is accepted, you are entitled to the following:

1.Weekly payments

a. For the first 13 weeks from the date of your incapacity, you are entitled to 95% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings if you cannot perform your pre-injury duties.

b. From 14 weeks to 130 weeks from the date of your incapacity, you are entitled to 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings if you cannot perform your pre-injury duties.

c. After 130 weeks from the date of your incapacity, you are entitled to 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings if you cannot perform any suitable employment on an indefinite basis.

2. Medical and like services – The WorkCover insurer will pay the reasonable cost of any medical and like expenses that are referable to your work-related hearing loss. These expenses can include hearing aids or devices.

3. A lump sum impairment benefit–You are entitled to a modest lump sum benefit, provided that your hearing loss impairment is permanent and assessed at a whole person impairment rating of 10% or more.Currently, the maximum amount that can be awarded for a total loss of hearing is $206,500.[3]

4. Common law damages – If the consequences of your hearing loss are considered ‘serious’ and negligence can be established against your employer, you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering and economic loss.

How is my hearing loss impairment assessed?

Once an impairment benefit claim is lodged, the WorkCover insurer will arrange for you to be examined by an Otolaryngologist (ENT specialist). The specialist will assess your National Acoustics Laboratory (NAL) hearing loss level, which is then converted to a whole person impairment percentage.

Is there a time limit on lodging a hearing loss claim?

You should lodge your Worker’s Injury Claim Form within 30 days of becoming aware of your hearing loss. Our team of lawyers can assist you with completing your claim form.

If you are not sure whether you have sustained work-related hearing loss, please contact us on 1800 853 085. We work on a complete ‘No Win No Fee’ basis and will ensure that you receive the entitlements that you deserve.

[1] Hearing Care Industry Association, Hearing for Life – The Value of Hearing Services for Vulnerable Australians (March 2020).

[2] Hearing Care Industry Association, The Social and Economic Cost of Hearing Loss in Australia(June 2017).

[3]https://www1.worksafe.vic.gov.au/vwa/claimsmanual/Claims_Manual/6-specialised-payments/6.2_Impairment_Benefits/PDFs/Indexation_2021/no-disadvantage-20-current.pdf.