The TAC, the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) have established a dispute resolution process for all TAC decisions.
The process is designed to resolve disputes without needing to apply to court, in a way that is simpler and faster for all parties. It's important to understand that you still maintain your right to go to court if the issue can't be resolved using the dispute resolution process.
What you need to do
Contact your lawyer, who will be able to explain the dispute resolution steps to you and what you need to do. If you need assistance to choose a specialist lawyer, contact LIV on 9607 9311 or www.liv.asn.au.
An application to have a decision resolved using this process must be made within 12 months of becoming aware of a TAC decision.
The steps involved in the dispute resolution process are set out below.
Step 1: Lodging a dispute application
The first step is to lodge a dispute application. The dispute application must include the decision(s) you want reviewed and the reasons why you do not agree with them.
Your solicitor needs to provide supporting information and documents (such as medical reports, vocational assessments, etc.) with the dispute application to support your claim that the decision is incorrect. All material needs to sent to the TAC within 28 days of the dispute application being received. Your solicitor must provide the TAC with all the material they intend to rely on during the review process.
The TAC needs to provide your solicitor with all the supporting information relied on in making the disputed decision. This also needs to be completed within 28 days of the dispute application being received.
Dispute applications are sent to:
Manager, Dispute Resolution
Transport Accident Commission
60 Brougham Street
Geelong, VIC 3220
or DX 28, Melbourne.
Step 2: Dispute application review
Once the TAC has received your dispute application we will acknowledge this in writing within 14 days. This may be via a letter or email to your legal representative. This notification signifies the start of the review process and if the TAC does not commence this review within 14 days of receiving your application, you may apply for a review at VCAT.
Step 3: Dispute conference
As part of the review process, you must attend a dispute application conference to talk about the issue and see if an agreement can be reached. This generally occurs within 90 days of the application being received, but can take longer if there is a delay in exchanging supporting documents.
The conference can take place at the TAC, at your legal representative's office, at another venue convenient for all parties or via phone.
You must attend the dispute conference. The conference must also be attended by:
- Your guardian or administrator (where relevant)
- Your legal representative
- A professionally qualified interpreter if you require one
- A TAC representative who has the authority to resolve the issue(s) in dispute.
The TAC will pay the costs of:
- An independent mediator
- A facilitator
- A professionally qualified interpreter
- A joint expert where medical and like benefits or services are in dispute; or
- A joint expert or special referee with expertise in the Impairment AMA Guides.
- Your solicitor costs if the decision is varied, revoked or replaced (see information relating to the TAC protocols)
The TAC does not have to advise you of its review decision at the conference.
Step 4: Finalising the review
After the conference, the TAC has 14 days to make a decision and conclude the review. At the conclusion of a dispute application review, the TAC must either:
- Make no change to its decision, or
- Change its decision, or
- Make a new decision, or
- Confirm resolution of the dispute and the agreed terms of the resolution and prepare a document that details the agreed terms, to be signed by you.
This decision will be confirmed in writing to your legal representative within 14 days of the dispute conference or 14 days of resolving the dispute (if this occurs before the conference).
If the TAC does not provide written confirmation of its decision within 14 days of concluding the dispute conference, you may apply to have the decision reviewed at VCAT.