A Nigerian-born mother of five who this month received a six-figure sum after being injured in a car accident fears others like her are missing out on compensation due to low awareness of Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission scheme.
The Narre Warren resident received more than $200,000 after settling her case with the TAC over an accident that threatened to derail her attempts to give her children a better start in life.
She was a passenger in a vehicle that was T-boned by another vehicle that had failed to give way at the intersection of Brewer Rd and Nepean Hwy, Brighton East, in October 2010.
Until the accident, the woman was working two jobs as she strived to provide for her family.
As a result of the accident, the 55-year-old required surgery for a serious injury to her right shoulder and she later suffered ligament damage to her left shoulder due to overcompensating when she returned to full-time work at an aged care facility.
Slater and Gordon lawyer Megan Caines said the settlement would help her client get her life back on track.
“We’re talking about an extremely hard-working person who was until the accident working two jobs, so there is no doubt that the accident has been a major setback,” Ms Caines said.
“To her enormous credit, she has now returned to full-time work, albeit on lighter duties, but this settlement recognises that the financial burden of the accident will carry into the future.”
Ms Caines said her client was like many other Victorians from migrant backgrounds in that she had very little awareness of her right to claim compensation until she was encouraged to seek legal advice.
Slater and Gordon initially negotiated a range of benefits under the TAC no-fault scheme, including loss of income and medical expenses and a $16,000 impairment benefit.
The firm also successfully obtained a Serious Injury Certificate for the woman, enabling her to seek common law damages for lost future earnings and pain and suffering. The TAC agreed to settle the common law claim for $182,000 during an informal settlement conference this month.
“If our client had not spoken to a lawyer, she would have missed out on significant compensation and her path to recovery would have been that much longer,” Ms Caines said.
The woman said, while she expected to live with the pain of the accident for many years to come, the compensation would help ensure she could continue to support her family.
“I have always worked very hard to give my children opportunities in life and until the accident this meant I was working two jobs. After the accident I can no longer do that so this compensation will hopefully make up for that,” she said.
“I worry that there are others like me who will miss out on the money they need because they do not know how the system works if you are injured in an accident.”