Series VPRS 7598
Sample of Common Law Accident Files
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series Circa 1941 - cont
  Series in Custody 1958 - 1981
  Contents 1959 - 1981
Public Access: Closed
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1941 - 1975 State Motor Car Insurance Office VA 2893
1975 - 1986 State Insurance Office VA 1033
1987 - cont Transport Accident Commission VA 2892
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1986 - cont Transport Accident Commission VA 2892
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Common Accident Law Files are used to accumulate documents for each motor car accident where one or more Common Law settlement claim is made under the Motor Car Act 1958 and previous legislation. A file cover relates to one accident and contains sub-files on the defendant (who the Compulsory Third Party Division of S.I.O., now the Common Law Branch of T.A.C., is acting on behalf) and plaintiffs. Each plaintiff has a separate sub-file.

    Each file documents the case history of the defendant and all plaintiffs, and the administrative process of Common Law settlement actions. Each file typically contains: proving/information sheet, summons, notice of intention to defend, correspondence and instructions to solicitors, correspondence and instructions to defendant, accident reports, witness statements, accounts from solicitors and copies of disbursements, medical reports, investigation reports, photographs, copy of M.A.B. expanded payment detail, assessment sheets, reports by claim officers, summary sheets, police statements, copy of defendant's costs and disbursements, copy of plaintiff's costs and disbursements, EDP advice check list, settlement agreement, drivers authority, arrangements for medical examinations, taxation reports/copies of taxation forms, notice of pre-trial conference, memorandum of advice and memo of action taken.

    Two or more different file covers are merged when:

    1. an individual is involved in more than one accident defence/claim - known as a "married" file.

    2. individuals counter-claim about the same accident - known as a "cross" file.

    In these cases a single file reference is selected for retrieval and all other subsumed numbers are referenced to it.

    The documents comprising the file can be classified into three distinct types.

    1. Category A documents provide the case history of a defendant and plaintiffs in terms of personal details, injury descriptions, medical evidence, accident information and the administrative process involved in settling.

    2. Category B documents relate to legal instruments and evidence and document the legal process.

    3. Category C documents provide the payment or accounting history of the claim relating to the costs, sum and disbursements of settlement and payments to outside agencies such as solicitors and investigators.

    Category A and B documents comprise the majority of documents. Category C documents make up less than 1% of total documents accumulated on the file.

    Library files are a collection of files containing precedent and policy decisions. Files are normally cross-indexed by type of decision, precedent and settlement.

    Accident files are controlled and summarised by a computer enquiry, processing and file movement system. The enquiry segment of this system summarises much of the information contained in the hardcopy file through 11 enquiry type/data bases:

    1. Name and address index
    2. CMV Policy/Reg details
    3. Cheque issued enquiry
    4. Claim Details for client key
    5. Claim Payment History - Details
    6. Claim Payment History - Summary
    7. Claim Motor Vehicle Claimants
    8. Claim Reg. Enquiry
    9. Claim Detail
    10. Claim Payment History - By expense code
    11. Payment Breakup

    There is no COM output of these systems. Non-current information is archived onto tape.

    The computer processing system was introduced in late 1979. Information about files settled prior to 1980 is not available through the computer system. The file movement system was introduced in 1986.

    Prior to the introduction of the computer system, files were controlled by a normal registration and indexing system and which comprised:

    File Number Allocation and Movement Registers c.1940's - c.1979

    Showed claim number, class, date insured, licence number and file movement. The file movement activity during the 1980's was superseded by computer printouts of file numbers against which movements were annotated. File number allocation was superceded by the computer system in 1979.

    File Movement Computer Printouts, c.1980 - 1986

    Computer printouts showing file numbers. File movement manually recorded against each file number.

    Index Cards, 1960 - 1979

    Index cards raised for each individual involved in an accident showing name, identity in accident (i.e. driver, owner, passenger, pedestrian, etc.), date of accident, registration number, claim number and suburb of address.

    Arranged alphabetically by surname in financial year of accident.

    An attempt to rearrange these cards into one alphabetical sequence commenced but was not completed.

    Index Books, c.1940's - 1959

    Previous indexing record series to above. Volumes raised for each year. Entries broken into alphabetical groups - "A", "B", "C", etc. Within each alphabetical group entries arranged randomly and not within strict alphabetical order.

    For each entry shows claim number, name, identity in accident, suburb of address, registration number and date of accident.

    Once a file is settled and all disbursements have been finalised, the majority of files will not be referenced again given that settlement precludes any further legal action. There are two exceptions to this. A minor retains the right to pursue Common Law action even though his parents may have settled on his behalf. Reinsurance files will be referenced during latter efforts to secure reinsurance on other files. Reinsurance files relate to individuals with major injuries where the settlement sum is expected to be high and T.A.C. insures itself with other insurance company.

    Settled files are retained at Wool Exchange House for six months after the date of settlement and are then moved to the Richmond Depot. At Richmond, files are arranged into two groups:

    1. Old system - files dated to 1981
    2. New system - post 1981.

    Within the two groups files are arranged in terminal digit number order on shelves.

    Under the provisions of PROS 87/2 files are periodically culled and a selection of 20 files from each year are retained permanently. Where more then 15,000 claims are lodged in a year the sample increased to 1:750 claims. However with the restrictions to Common Law settlement under the Transport Accident Act 1986 the growth rate of Common Law Accident files will be significantly reduced.

    After the sampling process all other files are destroyed except for those "library" files which indicate areas of policy or precedent which have been identified as the permanent core of this series. These "library" files are distinct from the random sample as they are those records identified from the series as a class to be retained permanently in their entirety and are therefore separate from the sample taken as an "example" of the administrative process.

  • Function / Content

  • Recordkeeping System

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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1959 - 1981 Closed 58
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