Transport Accident Commission and Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal rights in car accidents causing death
Is an injury always necessary for someone to be paid compensation as a result of a transport accident in Victoria?
This question arose in a recent case handled by Arnold Dallas McPherson. Tragically, the case involved a car accident resulting in the death of a baby. She was the passenger in a car driven by a family member, and other family members were also in the vehicle. Another vehicle collided with the car, causing the infant’s death.
The people responsible for the other vehicle have been charged with culpable driving.
The TAC is liable to pay the funeral expenses in such circumstances, as well as providing family counselling. However, the young parents of the deceased infant did not wish to pursue such counselling. Nor did they suffer any “injury” as a result of their infant daughter’s death. Additionally, the deceased child had a young sibling.
To what might the family be entitled, if anything?
As it happens, the Victims of Crime Assistance Act makes it possible for “related victims” (that is, immediate family members of the deceased) of a crime resulting in the death of a person to be a compensation for their “grief and distress”, out of a compensation pool totalling $100,000, with no individual to be awarded more than $50,000.
In this case, the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal had no trouble in awarding the statutory maximum figure for compensation, split evenly between the parents and with a small amount payable to a sibling of the deceased child.