Guidelines for the settling of journey claims

This information bulletin has been produced to provide guidelines as to whether an injury from a motor vehicle accident is considered to have arisen out of or in the course of a workers employment. These guidelines for settling of journey claims are published on behalf of the Authority pursuant to section 61 of the Return to Work Act.

Injuries from motor vehicle accidents while on a normal journey travelling to or from work are not covered by workers compensation but may be claimed under the Motor Accidents Compensation scheme (MAC), which is administered by Allianz Insurance, trading as the Territory Insurance Office (TIO) on behalf of the NT Motor Accidents Compensation Commission.

Determining whether an injury or death sustained as a result of an accident involving a motor vehicle is a claim under the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act (MAC Act) or a workers’ compensation claim under the Return to Work Act (RTW Act) must take into account the meaning of ‘motor accident’ and ‘out of or in course of employment’.

The RTW Act provides that ‘motor accident’ has the same meaning as in the MAC Act.  This can be summarised as:

An occurrence caused by or arising out of the use of a motor vehicle (with the vehicle being driven or moving out of control or a collision or action to avoid a collision with the motor vehicle) that results in the death or injury to a person.

Some scenarios

The following scenarios are a guide only, as each case needs to be taken on its merits.

(a) These scenarios would most probably be workers’ compensation under the RTW Act, not MAC Act:

Out of or in the course of employment can include travelling for various work related purposes, for example:

  • between the residence and a business appointment, other than at the office/workplace to which the worker reports and/or attends. This could apply to sales representatives, estate agents, drivers, etc
  • travelling from home to work that is outside normal working hours, as a result of a call out by an employer whether paid for the call out travel or not
  • journeys between the residence and a destination other than the regular workplace where attendance is required by the employer
  • journeys between the residence and the regular workplace in company arranged/paid transport, e.g. company bus, taxi. This does not include company cars that are part of a salary package, or provided to a sales representative to carry out their duties, etc.
  • travel associated with a trip away and the ensuing travel included during the visit, e.g. between the residence and the airport for a trip; travel whilst intra or interstate
  • running an errand for your employer
  • making deliveries required by the employer
  • transporting another employee
  • if you drive for a living
  • if you travel for work and have no fixed office

(b) These scenarios would most probably be under the MAC Act, not RTW Act:

  • usual everyday commuting travel  between the residence and the regular workplace
  • to and from work or home and an educational facility as part of training, as expected by the employer
  • to or from the workplace or home to a place for the purposes of a workers compensation claim
  • travel to and from the residence by a construction worker to a building site at which they usually work or where the work is for a continuous extended period
  • travel between workplaces of different employers, where a worker has more than one employer
  • recess journeys unconnected with employment (e.g. lunch and smoko breaks)

Disputes

The welfare of the injured person, or dependents in the case of a fatality, is the prime concern of workers compensation insurers and the Motor Accidents Compensation scheme. Therefore a dispute will be resolved as quickly as possible to enable commencement of benefits under one or other scheme.

Where a claim has been rejected by the workers compensation insurers on the basis only that it is a MAC claim, and MAC disputes that it is a journey claim only on the basis that it is a workers’ compensation claim, then:

1.    MAC will inform the workers compensation insurer and request a meeting to resolve the issue, before rejecting the claim under the MAC Act.

2.    If the matter is not resolved at this meeting, the workers compensation insurers will inform the Work Health Authority.

3.    The Work Health Authority will convene a meeting of the parties to attempt to resolve the issue utilising these guidelines.

4.    Should the matter still not be resolved, compensation is payable under the MAC Act in accordance with section 61(2) of the Return to Work Act until it is determined that compensation is payable under RTW Act.

Review

The Work Health Authority will monitor the success of these guidelines by maintaining a record of all disputes which are referred to it.

If at any time an improvement to the guidelines can be made which further clarifies the intent and reduces disputes, the Authority will circulate the amended proposal to all work health insurers and MAC for comment prior to its adoption.

Contact us

For further information please contact us on 1800 250 713, via email at datantworksafe@nt.gov.au or go to the NT WorkSafe website at www.worksafe.nt.gov.au

Guidelines for settling of journey claims (V2 – 29 July 2020)