What compensation can I receive and how much can I claim?

Depending on your level of injury and how it has affected your life and work capacity, you can claim for loss of past and / or future earnings as well as pain and suffering. There are limits and caps to the amount of compensation you can claim. A personal injury lawyer can work with you to understand your unique situation and provide tailored legal advice.

The following is an indication of some common law compensation caps as at 1 July 2023.

Common Law


Threshold (minimum amount)


Maximum Pecuniary Loss (loss of past and / or future earnings)


Maximum Pain/Suffering


Does common law compensation affect my other benefits?

We will continue to pay treatment and support services for your accident related injuries.

Payments that may be affected include:

  • impairment lump sum
  • impairment annuity benefits
  • loss of earning capacity benefit
  • non-earners benefits
  • minor's additional benefits and/or
  • any other compensation received under another Compensation Scheme (WorkCover/Interstate) in respect of the transport accident as specified under the Transport Accident Act (1986).

If you receive Government entitlements or benefits (e.g.Centrelink payments) you should contact them to find out if compensation may affect these.

The TAC or your lawyer can advise you how common law compensation may affect your other payments.

When should I lodge a common law compensation claim?

In most cases you need to start your common law compensation claim within six years of the date of the accident.

If you are under 18 years of age at the time of the accident you have six years from when you turn 18.

In exceptional cases, the Court may grant an extension of time.

Due to the information that needs to be gathered and assessed, your claim process can take time. If you think you may be eligible, we recommend starting your claim as soon as possible.

How long does it take to receive compensation?

Once a common law claim is lodged, the average time frame to settle a claim is 12 months. A straightforward case can take a few months, where a more complex case can take two or more years to settle.

Why does an injury need to be stable?

To assess your injury as a ‘serious injury’ and to claim common law compensation, your injury needs to be reasonably stable. This means your injury is unlikely to improve or decline over time.

It may take time for your injuries to stabilise, especially if you will have further surgery or ongoing treatment.

A medical practitioner can determine if your injuries are stable.

What is an impairment rating?

An impairment rating is determined on the degree that your injury affects your function or movement.

An independent, specialist doctor will assess your injuries. They will check the function or movement of the injured area and provide a report about your injuries.

Who needs to be at-fault for me to make a compensation claim?

In order to pursue common law compensation from the TAC, the injury must be a serious injury and there must be an at-fault party who was negligent.

In most circumstances, the at-fault party must be owner or driver of the motor vehicle that they have negligently used in a manner which caused your injuries. However, the TAC also indemnifies operators, owners and drivers of railway trams and trains.

In the case of ‘car dooring’ accidents only, where an injury has been caused by the collision of a pedal cycle with an open or opening door, you are able to pursue compensation even if it was not the owner or driver of the vehicle who was at-fault. Compensation can be pursued from the TAC if a passenger or another person negligently caused your car dooring accident, following amendments to the TAC’s legislation that commenced on 6 July 2022.

What if I can’t identify the person, party or organisation who was at fault?

If you've been involved in an accident but can't find the at fault driver, you may still be eligible for a common law claim.

A personal injury lawyer can provide you with independent legal advice about your situation.

Why does the TAC pay and not the person, party or organisation who was at fault?

When you register your car in Victoria, you pay a transport accident charge. The TAC charge covers any liability of a person at fault in a transport accident.

What if the at fault person, party or organisation was not insured?

If the at fault person, party or organisation was uninsured (e.g. they have not paid the TAC charge as part of their registration), this will not affect your claim. We will still pay common law compensation to you if you are eligible, to help you get your life back on track.

Do I need a lawyer?

There is no legal requirement to engage a lawyer for the TAC to consider your eligibility for common law compensation, although most clients do. You will need a lawyer for the negotiation and settlement of the compensation.

We recommend choosing a law firm that specialises in TAC claims and operates within the Common Law Protocols. The Protocols were established to effectively deal with common law compensation.

Find out more in the How to find and choose a lawyer fact sheet

What if I can’t afford a lawyer?

You can access a free half hour consultation with the law firm you choose where you can discuss possible costs.

If you have a successful common law claim, we may pay some of your legal costs directly to your lawyer. This payment may not cover all costs so it is important discuss costs with your lawyer.

What if the person claiming compensation dies during the process?

If a person dies after receiving a Serious Injury Certificate or an impairment rating of 30% or more, their family or estate can seek common law compensation.

If a person dies before receiving a Serious Injury Certificate or an impairment rating of 30% or more, the family or estate cannot seek common law compensation.

If the death occurred as a result of the accident, the family or estate may still be able to access no-fault benefits. These could include costs such as funeral services, in addition to any common law compensation they are eligible for.