If you have been inured in the state of Victoria whilst at work or travelling on your way to work you may be able to make a claim under the Victorian Accident Compensation Act 1985. It is a legal requirement that employers in VIC hold a policy of insurance that indemnifies the employer and covers employees against personal injury whether or not the accident was wholly or partially the fault of the injured employee. To succeed in a Victoria workers compensation claim it is necessary for you and your personal injury compensation solicitor to comply with the legal requirements which are outlined below.
There are time limits in place for work cover claims in VIC and you must advise your employer of your intention to make a Victoria workers compensation claim within 30 days of sustaining the injury. In the event of failure to comply with the initial time limit it may be possible in exceptional circumstances to obtain an extension of time in which to submit a Victoria workers compensation claim. Failure to comply with the time limits may mean that the opportunity to claim compensation is lost forever.
The provisions of the Victorian Accident Compensation Act 1985 should be complied with in full. To make a work cover claim in VIC an injured worker should ensure that they :-
Financial awards under a Victoria workers compensation claim may include the following items :-
If you have suffered a permanent personal injury including psychiatric injury whilst at work or travelling on your way to work you may be able to claim a lump sum as part of a Victoria workers compensation application. It is necessary to show that there has been 'impairment' which is defined as derangement / alteration / change of a body part or function that may result after an injury. A worker who has suffered impairment may be able to claim a monetary lump sum entitlement called an 'impairment benefit' which is separate from any weekly payments a worker may receive. Assessments are carried out by doctors called 'Independent Impairment Assessors' following physical examination of the injured worker.
In addition to a claim for Victoria workers compensation in the case of serious injuries it may also be possible for your solicitor to claim additional damages under a common law legal action for negligence against the employer. This type of claim is usually dealt with by a personal injury solicitor acting on behalf of the injured worker and is based on negligence. Unlike a workers compensation claim under work cover where it is not necessary to prove negligence, in the case of an additional common law claim for extra cash, it is necessary to show that the employer was negligent. It should be noted that negligence by a co-worker will be attributed as negligence by the employer. There are numerous definitions of negligence used by solicitors which is commonly described as :-
"A failure to act as a reasonable person would be expected to act in similar circumstances."
In the case of a common law negligence claim in VIC, compensation can include the following items, plus interest on the award from the date of the accident to the date of payment :-
Special Damages in a negligence claim for personal injury represents items that can be calculated with accuracy including :-
General Damages in a negligence claim for personal injury represents items that must be assessed including :-
In the case of a common law personal injury claim for damages based on negligence there are time limits. In general terms a compensation claim must have been settled or a solicitors summons must have been issued in a court of law within three years of the incident causing the injury or within three years of the injury becoming apparent. There are exceptions to the three year rule for minors and the mentally impaired. In the case of minors, the three year period does not start to run until the eighteenth birthday and in the case of the mentally impaired time does not start to run until full mental capacity is regained. In addition the court does have a wide discretion to alter and extend time limits which is rarely exercised and should not under any circumstances be relied on.
In the case of a Victoria workers compensation claim it does not matter who was to blame for the accident however in a solicitors common law claim for compensation for personal injury, a worker who was entirely responsible for the accident, bearing in mind the employers responsibility for adequate supervision and training, would not be able to make a successful claim however if the victim is only partially responsible then a claim can be instigated on the basis of the doctrine of 'contributory negligence' but damages will be reduced by the percentage of blame attributed to the inured person.
Our specialist personal injury solicitors deal with Victoria workers compensation claims under work cover and also handle common law compensation claims for damages for personal injury. If you would like advice at no cost , without any further obligation from a specialist personal injury solicitor just complete the contact form, email our solicitors offices or call the helpline.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 339 958
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here