Have you witnessed a fatal motor vehicle accident or lost a loved one?

Witnessing the traumatic loss of life can take its toll on your mental health. Some of our clients have experienced symptoms such as nightmares and flashbacks, panic attacks, hypervigilance, difficulty sleeping, loss of interest and enjoyment of life, reduced appetite, concentration and mood, and depression and anxiety.

Have you witnessed a fatal motor vehicle accident or lost a loved one
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Symptoms can occur in relation to the death of a loved one even if you have not attended the accident scene, but have been exposed to road trauma and the ‘aftermath’ of accidents in other ways.

You may be eligible for compensation if you attended hospital to visit someone that was involved in an accident, were required to identify a loved one’s body, or attend their funeral. 

If your loved one has passed away as a result of a transport accident, there are multiple claims that you may be able to make.

These can include to the deceased’s superannuation fund, to the Transport Accident Commission and even in some circumstances to the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal. We are one of the few Victorian personal injury law firms that can provide you with specialist advice and representation in relation to all of these claims.

Types of compensation you could be eligible for

No-fault Dependency Claims

We recommend that firstly, a ‘Funeral and Dependency Benefits Claim’ is lodged to the Transport Accident Commission for your family member’s death.

This claim can pay compensation including:

  • Reasonable funeral expenses including travel and accommodation expenses for immediate family;
  • Up to $19,280* for family counselling support for the deceased’s spouse, partner, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild, sibling.

Dependent spouse or partner support

If your partner was contributing to your family income or household, you may be eligible for:

  • A lump sum dependency benefit of up to $216,130;
  • Ongoing payments equal to 80% of your deceased partner’s earnings up to $1,540 per week if your deceased partner was working for five years or until dependent children turn 16 or cease full time study or reach 25 years of age;
  • Financial support for childcare or household tasks if your deceased partner assisted with caring for children or home life for five years.

Dependent Children including full-time students up to age 25

These benefits do not apply if there is a dependent spouse or partner.

  • A lump sum dependency benefit up to $216,130;
  • Fortnightly payments of $217 to guardians of dependent children;
  • An annual education allowance payment of $3,44* to guardians of full time-students up to age 18.

Wrongs Act 1958

If another driver was at fault for the accident, you may also be able to sue for loss of the deceased’s income. Sometimes, these claims are worth more than what the TAC will pay as ‘no fault’ entitlements above. These claims can consider what the deceased’s potential future income might have been if they were to have received promotions, finished apprenticeships, or pursued different careers, but for their death. 

These claims are quite complex and require specialist advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer.

No-Fault Compensation Available from TAC for Individual Injuries

If you have suffered mental distress as a result of witnessing an accident, or the loss of a family or friend in an accident, you are able to lodge your own personal claim for the injuries you have suffered individually.

You can lodge a TAC Claim online or by phoning the TAC on 1300 654 329. You should lodge a claim within 12 months of an accident. After 12 months the Transport Accident Commission has a discretion whether to accept your claim. TAC claims cannot be accepted after 3 years has passed from the date of an accident. 

If you lodge your own personal TAC claim in relation to the death, you may be eligible for:

  1. Reasonable medical and like expenses;
  2. Loss of income payments if you are unable to work for up to three years;
  3. A lump sum impairment benefit payment if you suffer permanent injury. 

Discover more information about general TAC entitlements here.

Common Law Claims for Nervous Shock

After lodging an individual claim with the TAC, if another driver or third party was at fault for the accident and you have a serious injury, you may also be able to sue for damages for your pain and suffering, and loss of earnings. This is known as a ‘nervous shock claim’. The TAC will in almost all cases indemnify a driver that has caused a death. This means that TAC pay damages on behalf of that driver.

We understand that there is no amount of money that can ever compensate you for your loss of a loved one, however we strive to support you through each legal avenue and maximise compensation you may be eligible for.  

The Transport Accident Commission generally acknowledge that these accidents are some of the most severe accidents that can occur on roads and are sympathetic to families that have experienced such profound loss. 

Most claims resolve at a settlement conference without you ever needing to set foot in a courtroom. 

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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You Could be Eligible for Compensation

At Arnold Dallas McPherson, we have acted for plaintiffs that have lost loved ones or witnessed road trauma, and have assisted them to obtain damages from the Transport Accident Commission. We understand that each and every family and relationship is different and the grief and trauma that you may experience is significant. From our first interview, we support you with advice and guidance as your matter progresses.

no win no fee personal injury lawyers in melbourne victoria

Arnold Dallas McPherson offer a first free consultation to those that have witnessed fatal transport accidents or have lost a family member or friend in an accident.

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Kelsey Johnston

Kelsey Johnston assists our clients in a variety of matters including WorkCover, TAC claims, Crimes Compensation matters including Sentencing Act applications, and applications to the National Redress Scheme. She also assists clients who are unable to work in superannuation matters to obtain their Income Protection or Total and Permanent Disablement Benefits.

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