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WorkCover - transport accidents and accidents arising out of the use of vehicle claims

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All Victorian WorkCover Authority claims are governed by the Workplace Injury, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (2013). The Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) acts as the governing body, it does not process workcover claims. The VWA allocates work to its authorised insurers.

Workcover claims within Victoria are handled by designated claims agents which cover most employers for work related injuries or an employer who has become a self insurer.

Two types of WorkSafe/TAC claims exist:

  • WorkSafe/TAC "course" accident
  • WorkSafe/TAC "recess" accident.

In these situations, the worker receives no-fault workers compensation benefits from the Victorian WorkCover Authority and is entitled to common law damages from the TAC when the injury or death results from a transport accident or incident that involves and arises out of the use of a registered Victorian vehicle during the course of employment or during a recess break.

Course accidents

What is a course accident?

This is an accident which occurs during the course of a worker's employment and is directly caused by the driving of a vehicle or arises out of the intended use of a motor vehicle or motor car, a railway train or a tram.

Examples

  1. directly caused by the driving (transport accidents) - The worker is in a driving occupation, eg. truck driver, courier, taxi driver etc. and is involved in a collision during working hours.  
    Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3(1) and s.3(1A) 
  2. arising out of the use of a vehicle, this usually involves loading/unloading situations - A worker sustains injuries as a result of being crushed by a fork-lift whilst unloading goods. In this case, the owner of the vehicle is also the employer of the worker, consequently two forms of insurance covering the same risk exist, i.e. Compulsory Third Party (transport accident) and employer liability (The Victorian WorkCover Authority). This creates a dual insurance situation which results in a sharing of the common law damages between the TAC and the VWA or its authorised insurer.  
    Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.94(1) 

Who is eligible for common law damages?

Should the accident qualify as a transport accident, the worker has to meet the requirements of having suffered a 30% impairment or having suffered a "serious injury" under the TAA 1986. If the accident arises out of the use of a vehicle and is not a transport accident, the worker is not subject to these requirements in order to start a common law action. 

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.47(7)(b), s.93(3) and s.93(17)

Recess accidents

What is a recess accident?

This is an accident which occurs during a recess break whilst the worker is travelling for the purpose of the worker's employment, and is directly caused by the driving of a vehicle or arises out of the intended use of a motor vehicle or motor car, a railway train or a tram. If there is a substantial interruption or deviation in travel which is not connected with employment, the incident is not covered.

Example

Directly caused by the driving (transport accidents) - A worker has been asked by his/her employer to go buy coffee at tea break and is injured by a vehicle whilst leaving the office. 

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.3(1A)

Who is eligible for common law damages?

Should the accident qualify as a transport accident, the worker has to meet the requirements of having suffered a 30% impairment or having suffered a "serious injury" under the TAA 1986. If the accident arises out of the use of a vehicle and is not a transport accident, the worker is not subject to these requirements in order to start a common law action. 

Transport Accident Act 1986 reference: s.47(7)(b), s.93(3) and s.93(17)