Workcover and the TAC are as good as identical , they are both maximally litigious unethical Government agencies who victimise those involved in road accidents or work injuries through various processes of bullying, incompetence, stalling, unnecessary administrative processes, bureaucracy and systemic corrupt practices.
Take for example, the following legal TAC case, whereby the insurer (Suncorp, aka GIO in the workers compensation world) tried to deny liability for a car accident victim by basically stating he self-inflicted his brain injury because he drove a “rust bucket” – nice one!
Outrageous defense tactic by Suncorp: suck up your brain injury for driving a rust bucket
According to Suncorp (aka GIO), an unfortunate German backpacker who stayed close to his broken down van after it rolled to a stop at night, in the middle of a busy Highway, should himself be responsible for serious head injuries that came when a freight truck smashed into it minutes later. Suncorp (GIO) basically told him to suck up his self-inflicted brain injury – self-inflicted because he drove a “rust bucket” – nice one!
Suncorp – the CTP insurer for the truck – claimed J (the injured German) had taken his life into his own hands by “knowingly travelling” in a Toyota Hiace van “which was in a dangerously unreliable condition”.
His fellow travellers E and C, also German tourists with little English language, had apparently paid $3,400 for the van in Sydney. J, the injured German, had joined them for the trip north.
The court heard that they called out a mechanic on 2 occasions to get moving. The first time, at Rainbow Beach where local auto-man pointed to the starter motor: “It needs a new one but I can try a fix if you don’t want the expense of the new part”.
However, taking the cheaper option set the tourists up for Suncorp’s contention that the trio recklessly defied the risk of a sudden mid-highway engine stall that could result in a catastrophic collision from following traffic, as actually occurred.
A but far-fetched and utterly disgusting and ultimately, flawed argument indeed. The known problem with the Hiace was that it was sometimes difficult to start – not that it conked out unpredictably – and mechanical investigation couldn’t pinpoint the defect that had stalled it.
Second, the insurer Suncorp (GIO) claimed J (the injured German) should have deserted the broken down van immediately after it stopped; or should have attempted to push it off the road. By not doing so, he bore the greatest share of responsibility for the collision and therefore, his injuries.
By the way, there was no evidence as to exactly where J was positioned at the time of the collision or what he was doing. He couldn’t remember, his companion E had left for home weeks earlier and C who was presumably uninjured in the smash, was never called/contacted. There were three eyewitnesses, but none could say where he was or even if he had been the driver.
The truck driver I was ultimately found responsible for not paying sufficient regard to potential hazards on the roadway ahead, mainly because he allowed himself to be distracted by a 4WD, stopped on the opposite side of the highway with headlights blazing.
And despite evidence from a 4WD driver P – a truck driver of 25 years’ experience – that he had pulled over to shout to the Germans a warning to push the van clear, the court accepted the prudent course for J would have been to quickly abandon the vehicle.
For his failure to do so, J was held 50% responsible for the resulting collision and his injuries.
His loss for the medical and economic consequences – agreed by the insurer at $800k – was therefore halved by the court, to $400k.
You can read the full text of this case here: Habig v McCrae & Ors  QSC 335 Brisbane Henry J 6/12/2013
Help motor accident victims get fair, timely compensation through the TAC
Sign the petition
To: The Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips MLC
We demand that the minister for TAC, Gordon Rich-Phillips MLC investigates thoroughly and fairly the compensation system for motor vehicle accident victims in Victoria and the impact the delayed payment of compensation is having on these victims of road accidents. We further demand that the TAC makes reforms to its legislation so that injured motorists are not having to wait unreasonable periods of time for compensation and that fair compensation is paid to injured motorists under the TAC insurance scheme in Victoria.
Currently, there is in excess of a 13 year wait for compensation for motor accident victims with severe injuries. The system is set up so that the at-fault party of accidents is indemnified by the TAC, meanwhile, the road victims are forced into poverty as many are unable to work or receive centrelink support, whilst they fight for their just entitlements to compensation through the TAC.
Many injured motorists have lost their life savings, their companies, their families, their homes, their dignity, their respect, and their self esteem through this process.
People who are in chronic pain, who have mental health issues as a direct result of the accidents are forced to fight for their entitlements, and the injustice doesn’t end there. The TAC appeal virtually all reasonable medical costs making injured victims have to fight even harder for what they are entitled to through the courts, or lengthy administrative processes. The out of pocket expenses endured by the motor accident victims during this process means that many give up the fight and accept a fraction of their entitlements due to be forced into extreme financial hardship.
These people are a vulnerable, voiceless segment of our society and nobody is assisting them in their plight.
Victims are further victimised by the TAC’s agressive legal approach to fighting and appealing all claims in court in order to save compensation paid to road victims. The legislation that the TAC operates on makes it impossible for motor accident victims to fight the system because every effort has been made by the TAC to protect its profits and minimise its liability to injured motorists. Many motor accident victims end up depressed, and worse, suicidal because of the treatment the TAC after a motor vehicle accident. The TAC does not publish suicide statistics of its injured motorists and they have thus far been unavailable through freedom of Information.
The complaints handling system is even worse, with frustrated, injured, and fed up motorists having no independent avenue to raise issues.
The system is NOT fair. The system needs to change. Injured motorists need to be better represented and fairly compensated through the TAC for their injuries.
Why is this important?
There are many thousands of injured motorists in Victoria suffering financially, socially, mentally and physically from the abuse the TAC inflicts upon its injured road users trying to get their entitlements to compensation. These people are already victims of road trauma, and the ongoing hardship in dealing with the TAC and its unreasonable processes means that the victims of road trauma are again victimised by this process.
The TAC claim to help injured motorists, but as a for profit corporation who is concerned with profit margins, they have a conflict of interest in doing so.
The TAC needs to be reformed so that injured motorists do not have to further suffer while trying to rebuild their lives post accident.
Sign the petition here: http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/help-motor-accident-victims-towards
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