A recent amendment to the Transport Accident Act 1986 (Vic.) has made access to medical expense benefits easier for road accident victims.
On 13 February 2018 the Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (Vic.) received royal assent. Section 4 of the Act repealed s.43(1)(b) of the Transport Accident Act 1986. This disposed of the medical expense excess (currently $651.00) which previously had to be paid before the Transport Accident Commission would take on medical expenses when a person was not made a hospital in-patient.
As a result of this amendment, sub-ss. 43(1A), (1B) and (1C) of the Transport Accident Act 1986 became redundant and were also repealed.
This change applies to people injured in accidents occurring on or after 14 February 2018.
In visual form the amendments were as follows –
43 Liability for losses in first five days etc.
(1) The Commission
(a)is not liable to pay compensation under this Part to an earner injured as a result of a transport accident in respect of loss of earnings during the first five days after the accident or after the injury first manifests itself, whichever last occurs, in respect of which, or any part of which, the earner suffers any loss of earnings as a result of, or materially contributed to by, the injury. ; and
(b) subject to subsections (1A), (1B) and (1C), is not liable to pay the first $389 (as varied from time to time in accordance with section 61) of the reasonable costs of medical services received because of an injury as a result of a transport accident.
(1A) The Commission is liable to pay the whole of the reasonable costs of medical services received by a person because of an injury as a result of a transport accident if the person dies as a result of that injury .
(1B) The Commission is liable to pay the whole of the reasonable costs of medical services received by a person after that person has been an in-patient for 1 day because of an injury as a result of a transport accident .
(1C) For the purposes of subsection (1), a claim by a person injured as a result of a transport accident and a claim by any member of the immediate family of that person who is also injured as a result of the same transport accident is to be treated as if it were one claim .
(2) If, by reason of subsection (1)
(a), the Commission is not liable to make a payment to an earner in respect of loss of earnings, the Commission may make such a payment if it is satisfied that the earner would suffer acute financial hardship if a payment were not made.
This is a significant improvement to a long standing issue with the Transport Accident Act which from time to time delayed claimants receiving necessary assistance.