The TAC, Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) have developed an agreement for working together to make the legal process faster, simpler and more cost effective for TAC clients. This agreement is known as the ‘Transport Accident Act Protocols’ (the Protocols).
The Protocols are endorsed by the LIV and ALA and are promoted to their lawyer members as the preferred method for delivering benefits and compensation to TAC clients. Most lawyers who are members of the LIV or the ALA participate in the Protocols. You can find a lawyer who is a member of the LIV on their website. When contacting a law firm, you will need to confirm that they participate in the Protocol.
What are the Protocols?
The Protocols are four documents that provide guidelines and processes to help in the delivery of lump sum compensation and in the resolution of disputes regarding TAC decisions. They are made up of:
- Common Law Protocols for Common Law damages
- Impairment Protocols for Impairment benefits
- Dispute Resolution Protocols for disputes regarding TAC decisions
- Joint Medical Examination Protocols for joint examinations arranged by the TAC and a client’s lawyer
Briefly, the Protocols promote:
- Early exchange of relevant and reasonable information and documents, to allow quality decision making by the TAC, the client and their lawyer
- Processes and procedures that are fair, efficient and transparent
- The TAC’s responsibility to behave as a model litigant
- Early dispute resolution and where possible, without the need to resort to a contested court hearing
Benefits of the Protocols
For clients represented by lawyers who participate in the Protocols, there are a number of benefits, including:
- A client centred approach: The TAC and client’s lawyer work together to ensure a client’s legal rights are observed and matters are resolved as efficiently as possible through alternative dispute resolution. Court hearings are considered a last resort.
- A simplified process: The Protocols provide clear guidelines and processes on the management of a claim in order to simplify the process for the client, their lawyer and the TAC.
- Reduced timeframes: Participating in the Protocols results in reduced timeframes in benefit delivery, including payment of Impairment benefits and Common Law claims, and resolution of disputes.
- Reduced costs: Participating in the Protocols and avoiding Court hearings results in reduced costs to the client, their lawyer and the TAC.