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Public Transport Accident Claims

Have you been injured in a public transport accident? This includes train, tram or bus accidents. This guide can help you navigate what to do after an accident and how to lodge a claim to get compensation for your injuries so you can focus on your recovery.

Public Transport Accident Claims in Victoria including Trams Trains and Buses by Arnold Dallas McPherson Injury Lawyers
Public Transport Accident involving a tram in Melbourne CBD

Thousands of Victorians use public transport every day. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents occur, and people can be injured whilst using a tram, train or bus. If you are injured in a public transport accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

In the aftermath of a public transport accident, the path to recovery can be arduous and overwhelming. At Arnold Dallas McPherson Injury Lawyers, we recognise the unique complexities that arise in public transport accidents. With our unwavering commitment to delivering justice and a proven history of successful outcomes, we stand prepared to be your steadfast allies during this challenging journey.

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In the moments immediately following an accident, shock can cloud your judgement, and may make it difficult to remember the essential steps to take. However, with a clear understanding of what to do and proper guidance, you can effectively manage the situation and ensure a smoother path towards resolution.

We hope this guide can help you navigate what to do after a car accident and how to lodge a claim to get compensation for your injuries so you can focus on your recovery.

Key Points

  • By law, all drivers in Australia involved in a transport accident must stop, assist the injured person(s), and exchange information.
  • The police must be called to road accidents where there are major collisions, serious injuries, vehicles need to be towed away, or compounding variables are involved, such as suspected drug and alcohol use, or parties failing to exchange information.
  • In Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) offers no-fault compensation to individuals injured in road accidents on Victorian roads or while travelling in a vehicle currently or previously registered in Victoria. In order to seek compensation for your injuries, you must be assessed by a medical professional before you make a TAC claim. You should lodge a claim within 12 months from the date of your accident. The TAC has a discretion whether to accept your claim if it is made between twelve months and three years after your accident.

What is a public transport accident?

A “transport accident” is defined as an incident directly caused by the driving of a motor vehicle, a railway train or a tram. 

For a TAC claim to be accepted, your injuries must have been caused by the driving of a motor vehicle. For example, you will be covered by the TAC if your injury was the result of a train driver’s sudden braking or quick acceleration or if the vehicle you are traveling on is hit by another motor vehicle. Common injuries sustained in public transport accidents include:

Common types of injuries seen in public transport Accidents

Common types of public transport accidents

Common injuries from public transport accidents

  • Tram accidents
  • Train accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Bus stop accidents 
  • Ferry transfer accidents 
  • Overgrowing accidents 
  • Sideswipe accidents
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Injuries to the head and face
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Bone fractures and orthopaedic injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Lacerations and scarring
  • Internal bleeding and haemorrhage
  • Nerve damage
  • Crush injuries
  • Impalement injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Amputation and loss of a limb
  • Psychological injuries

Steps to take following a public transport accident

1. Assist anyone injured if it is safe to do so

Call emergency services on 000 if urgent medical treatment is needed or if you require services at the accident scene. Apply first aid assistance if you can while help arrives. For urgent road hazards, you can report a road issue to the VicRoads Traffic Management Centre by calling the number 13 11 70 (press 1). 

We encourage you to seek medical treatment at your GP or nearest hospital, regardless of the severity of your injuries.

2. Record details of the accident and all vehicles involved

The information you need to gather includes:

  1. The destination of the bus, tram or train
  2. The number of the bus, tram or train
  3. The date and time of the accident
  4. The registration details of any vehicles involved in the incident
  5. The contact information of any witnesses

3. Take photographs of damage and crash scene

It’s often useful if you take photos of any damage caused by the accident, including the point of impact and vehicle position. This also includes taking photos of any surrounding property damage that occurred during the accident. Also take photos of the other vehicles damaged in the accident.

Take photographs of damage and crash scene
Take photographs of damage and crash scene

4. Report the accident to both the relevant public transport operator and the police

For accidents that involve public transport, you must report your accident to the relevant public transport operator. The incident report number and the date you reported the accident to the operator will be required for your TAC claim, should you make one.

Below we have gathered online and phone contact details for some of Victoria’s most common public transport operators.

Public transport operator

Phone assistance


Metro trains

1800 800 007

Press #1 then hold for main PT menu, then press #5

http://www.metrotrains.com.au/GPO Box 1880, Melbourne VIC 3001

Yarra Trams

1800 800 007

Press #1 then hold for main PT menu, then press #5

http://www.yarratrams.com.au/GPO Box 5231, Melbourne VIC 3001

1800 800 007

Press #1 then hold for main PT menu, then press #5

http://www.vline.com.au/Reply Paid 5343, Melbourne VIC 3001
Bus operators

1800 800 007

Press #1 then hold for main PT menu, then press #5

For a full list of contact details for all the bus operators in Victoria please visit

Operator contact details – Public Transport Victoria (ptv.vic.gov.au)

5. Seek medical treatment for your injuries

If you haven’t received any medical treatment from an ambulance on-site of the vehicle accident scene, we encourage you to seek medical treatment at your GP or nearest hospital, regardless of the severity of your injuries.  

Identifying any potential injuries is important if you want to lodge a  TAC Claim (following step) for your injuries and the loss of earnings you’ve sustained as a result of your vehicle accident. 

We also advise that you keep records of all receipts for any treatments you’re receiving, as they may be required at a later date during your TAC claims process.

Treating Provider

Information to collect

Ambulance Victoria Paramedic

You can be treated at the scene of the crash. 


You may have needed to be taken to hospital after an accident.


You may obtain a Hospital Discharge Summary.

GP (General Practitioner)

For minor injuries, you can see your local GP for diagnosis of your injuries. It is important to ask for a Certificate of Capacity from your local GP about your injuries, especially if you are unable to work or require light duties at work.
Allied Health ProfessionalYou may need to see a physiotherapist, chiropractor or a psychologist as a result of pain or trauma from your injuries. Keep records of receipts paid to any allied health professionals who treated you for your injuries.

6. Lodge a TAC Claim

Contact the TAC on 1300 654 329, online, or through the hospital providing urgent medical treatment to lodge your claim.

You should lodge a claim within 12 months of an accident. After 12 months, the Transport Accident Commission has the discretion whether to accept your claim. TAC claims cannot be accepted after three years have passed from the date of an accident.

Information you will need for you lodge a TAC Claim:

  • An incident report number you received when you reported the incident to the public transport operator, and the police report number (if applicable)
  • You will also need written details of your accident injury from a healthcare professional, such as a hospital discharge summary (if you were hospitalised), a medical certificate or a letter from a doctor or allied health professional 
  • Your information that you’ve gathered in Step 2 of the process of gathering evidence 
  • You will also need the contact details of the health professionals you saw for your treatment. 
  • If you’ve had more than 5 days of work (or you need more) due to your accident, you will need to provide your employment details in the lodgment form 

TAC Claim Lodgement Form for transport accidents

Key legal points you need to know about the TAC

  • In Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) provides no-fault compensation to anyone injured in car accidents on Victorian roads or while driving a vehicle currently or previously registered in Victoria. In limited circumstances, the TAC may provide compensation even when a registration has lapsed or if you are a passenger in an unregistered vehicle.
  • It is vital to highlight that adults should lodge a claim within 12 months from the date of the transport accident.
  • Minors have up to three years to lodge a claim after becoming 18 years old.
  • If you have a serious injury, you should seek legal advice as you may be entitled to lump sum compensation. You have a period of six years from the date of your accident to pursue a claim for an Impairment Benefit or common law damages for pain and suffering and economic loss.

7. Seek Legal Advice

If your public transport accident injury is serious enough, you may want to seek legal help of a TAC Lawyer who specialises in Public Transport Accident Claims. The legal field of public transport accidents is quite a complex area of law, and only after speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer in that field will you know whether or not you may have a potential lump sum compensation claim for your injuries and loss of earnings as a result of your accident.

no win no fee personal injury lawyers in melbourne victoria

Arnold Dallas McPherson offers a first free consultation to those involved in road accidents. We are experienced in all types of claims and can advise quickly whether further compensation may be claimed based on your circumstances and assist you to obtain the best outcome in your case.

Types of compensation you can claim from a public transport accident 

  • Medical and like services include hospital attendances, rehabilitation, and home help. 
  • Loss of earnings or earning capacity (including any potential future losses).
  • An Impairment Benefit if you suffered a permanent injury.
  • Damages for your pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.


You have 12 months post-accident or from the date you first discovered the injury to lodge a claim form with the TAC. However, the TAC has a discretionary period of up to 3 years from the date of the accident in which they may accept your claim.

  • The incident report number and the date you reported the accident to the operator. (A police report is not necessary for public transport accidents)
  • Accident details, including the location, circumstances, and other people/drivers involved.
  • Details of the vehicles involved, including registration numbers if known.
  • Details of anyone who saw the accident.
  • The name and contact details of the health professional you have seen or the hospital attended for your accident injuries.
  • Written details of your injuries from your treating health professional or from the hospital you attended. This could be a:
    • hospital discharge summary,
    • Certificate of Capacity,
    • medical certificate that states your injuries, or
    • letter from your doctor or allied health professional with your injuries listed.
  • Employment/income details if you have had, or will have, more than five days off work due to the accident.

Ref: https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/what-to-do-after-an-accident/how-to-claim/how-to-lodge-a-claim-with-the-tac

There are two types of claim you can make – a No Fault Claim and a Common Law (Fault based) claim – in order to receive benefits and compensation.

No fault claim
You do not need to prove that the public transport accident was the fault of another party to access the below listed benefits for a No Fault claim.

  1.  Medical and Like Expenses
    The TAC will cover the reasonable cost of medical and like expenses following your public transport accident injury. You must demonstrate a link between the required treatment and the public transport accident injury. Common services include:
    – Hospital and ambulance fees
    – Medication
    X-rays and scans

– Surgery
– Rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy and osteopathy
– Mental health treatment
Travel and accommodation for medical treatment

The TAC will pay for medical treatment, 90 days after your accident. However, you will need to seek approval for treatment once the 90 days have passed or if the TAC has not paid for services in more than 6 months.

2.  Loss of Earnings
The TAC can cover loss of earnings if you cannot fulfill your previous duties or return to work following a public transport accident. Similar to medical and like expenses, you must prove a connection between the accident and your decrease in wages.

The TAC will pay 80% of your pre-accident weekly earnings or the prescribed minimum weekly amount. If you return to work on a part time basis the TAC will pay 85% of the difference between your pre-accident earnings and your current reduced weekly earnings.

  1. Impairment Benefit Claim
    If you have suffered a permanent injury, you may be entitled to a lump sum payment known as an Impairment Benefit (IB). This involves an assessment of your permanent whole person impairment by independent medical practitioners in accordance with special guidelines once your injuries have stabilised. You will only be eligible for an IB if your impairment rating is 11% or greater.


Common Law (Fault Based) Claim
You may also be entitled to common law damages for pain and suffering and loss of earnings if you can prove that the public transport accident was the fault of another party and that you have sustained a “Serious Injury”. In this circumstance, you can file a Common Law (Fault Based) Claim.

Under s.93(17) of the Transport Accident Act a “Serious Injury” is defined as:
– Permanent impairment of 30% or more assessed by an independent medical   
              practitioner, or
– Serious long-term impairment of a body function, or
 Permanent serious disfigurement, or
 Severe long term mental or behavioural disturbance or disorder, or
 Loss of a foetus.

If your lifestyle has been impacted by the public transport accident, such as your ability to carry out pre-work duties and perform activities of daily living, you may also satisfy the requirements of a serious injury.

The TAC has a system to conference your case prior to having to issue a Court proceeding to pursue your common law rights.  Most common law claims are settled without the need to go to Court.


You have 6 years post-accident or from the date you first discovered the injury to initiate a common law claim by lodging a Serious Injury application in the County Court of Victoria. In limited circumstances, the Court may allow proceedings after the 6 year period has lapsed.

Common Types Of Bus Accidents

  • Public transport buses
  • School buses
  • Airport or hotel shuttle buses
  • Corporate shuttles
  • Campus shuttles
  • Party or private charter buses
  • Tour buses

Legal Costs

Legal costs can be expensive, but we will do all we can to help. What we can do includes:

  • Free first interview
  •  No charges until you win (in approved cases). Please discuss what this means at our first interview.
  • Paying for medical reports, Court fees, and other expenses (in approved cases).

We will discuss costs in detail with you at our first interview. We will always answer your questions about costs. We will clearly advise you of the total costs when you come to settle your claim, and pride ourselves on being able to be clear as to what you will receive in hand, after payment of costs, before you settle your case.

We're the legal firm that's there for you

Making a claim can be stressful and confusing. If you or a loved one has been involved in a slip and fall accident, do not hesitate to reach out to Arnold Dallas McPherson Injury Lawyers. Our dedicated team is ready to provide you with a free initial consultation to assess your case and discuss your legal options. Let us take the burden off your shoulders and champion your rights while you focus on your recovery.

We provide services on a No Win, No Fee basis and have helped injured Victorians obtain compensation for almost 30 years. If you have been injured in a public transport accident, our experienced lawyers at Arnold Dallas McPherson can guide you through this process, providing you with expert advice and assistance.

ADM TAC Information Guide

TAC Information Guide

Download a PDF copy of our full information guide to help you navigate what to do after an accident.

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