The Transport Accident Act simply defines an injury as a physical or mental injury. If you have suffered from a pre-existing condition or injury that is made worse in car accident you can claim for the injury in certain circumstances.
The circumstances in which the TAC will continue to be liable for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition or injury was recently the subject of a decision made by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
In that case Mr Coppola had suffered a severe back injury at work about 11 years before he was involved in a 3 car accident in September 2013. After his work injury he underwent surgery and injections and was off work for about 4 years. He managed to return to work about 3 years before the motor accident, albeit with continuing pain requiring medication.
Mr Coppola’s back was made much worse by the motor accident and he was unable to continue work due to the increase in his symptoms since the accident. In January 2014 his doctor recommended he undergo medial branch blocks and bilateral sacroiliac joint injections.
In July 2014 the TAC refused to pay for this treatment on the basis that the motor vehicle accident only aggravated Mr Coppola’s back for a short period and was no longer responsible for his symptoms.
The VCAT Member found that Mr Coppola only had to show that motor vehicle accident remained a cause of his ongoing symptoms to be entitled to claim medical and like expenses and the weight of the medical evidence was found to do so.
This means that if you do not have to show that a motor vehicle accident is the only cause of an injury or ongoing symptoms to be able to claim. As long as the accident remains a cause of your symptoms you are entitled to claim medical and like expenses.
If you would like further information about your eligibility to claim for an injury suffered in a motor vehicle accident contact Wendy Kleyn on (03) 9670 5999 for advice.