Work Accident Solicitors - Injury Compensation Claims

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 339 958

Work accident compensation is intended to put the injured person back into the position that they would have been in, had they not been injured, by the payment of a financial award. It is quite clear that money can never properly compensate for personal injury however it can make life easier for those who have suffered as a result of negligence. The award of damages in an accident compensation claim is not a precise science and depends in part on projections and assessments by an experienced judge. If you would like advice at no cost from work accident solicitors just call the lawyers helpline.

Our work accident solicitors use the no win no fee scheme and compensation is paid in full. If you would like advice on accidents in the workplace, with no further obligation from a specialist personal injury solicitor just contact us.

The legal duty of an employer is to take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of employees. An employer is required at law to provide a safe system of work. All employees must receive proper training and supervision. Employers must ensure that machinery and equipment isn't faulty and that premises are safe, from clutter and other potential dangers. If your employer does not do so and an accident happens causing personal injury then you will be entitled to instruct a work accident solicitor to claim and your employer will be liable to pay damages for injury and loss.

Most personal injury claims settle out of court, whether through negotiation or mediation. The length of time required by a work accident solicitor to settle a case will depend upon the length of time needed to fully assess the extent of the injuries and the defendants willingness to make a reasonable settlement offer. If a claim is made under any of the protective legislation and the insurers refuse to settle then proceeding are filed in a court of law for the issues to be considered by a judge.

There are many statutes and regulations that are industry specific which place particular safety requirements on that section of industry. If your health has suffered due to management's failure to abide by legal safety measures we can assist you to make a claim for compensation.

Workers Compensation

The law dealing with work injury claims in Australia is complex and confusing due to the interaction between statutory ‘Workers Compensation’ and common law damages relating to a ‘Workplace Accident’ that can in certain circumstances be claimed to top up the amount of statutory damages paid under the Workers Compensation rules. If the wrong decision is taken at an early stage it may preclude the opportunity to claim common law damages which often amount to tens of thousands of dollars. If you are an employee considering a compensation claim you would be well advised to seek professional advice from a specialist work injury solicitor as soon as possible and certainly prior to making a claim for Workers Compensation. Our solicitors offer free advice with no further obligation. Our work accident solicitors will review your case at no charge and advise you of our opinion on liability and the amount that we estimate that you will receive for a work injury claim. Our solicitors make no charge for this service and you will not be under any obligation to deal with our lawyers.

Work Accident Compensation

The assessment by a work accident compensation solicitor of an award for pain and suffering is a particularly difficult task in an accident compensation claim. Just where do you start and exactly how do you equate pain and suffering to a financial award? The judges who award damages in accident compensation claims usually consider previous cases involving similar injuries and make their awards based on the historical awards of damages made by other judges, adjusted for inflation and tempered by their own experience.

The aim of a work injury claim for compensation is to put the claimant back into the position that they would have been in had the accident not occurred. This is a very difficult proposition to satisfy as financial remuneration can never properly compensate for physical injury. Damages awards fall into two main categorise being items that can be calculated with a degree of mathematical accuracy and those items that must be assessed either by use of a tariff table or after consideration by a judge using skill and experience, coupled with consideration of previously decided legal cases. Items that can usually be included in a work injury claim include:-

  • loss of earnings/wages
  • hospital expenses
  • medical expenses
  • travelling expenses
  • rehabilitation expenses
  • lump sum payment for permanent injury
  • common law damages

The compensation component of a claim is also referred to as quantum or damages. It is generally comprised of two parts: General Damages (or compensation for your pain and suffering and loss of amenity) and Special Damages (or compensation for your loss of earnings and other direct financial losses):-

    General Damages consist of items that cannot be calculated accurately and require a degree of assessment principal among which is compensation for the pain and suffering of any injury. The assessment of general damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenity is based broadly on the assessments made by trial judges of previously decided similar accident claims and after consideration of the following.:-

    • the nature and severity of your personal injury
    • whether your symptoms are ongoing
    • your age
    • your leisure activities
    • loss of enjoyment of life
    • loss of life expectancy
    • compensation for handicap on the open labour market
    • your occupation
    • extent to which you are able to return to your pre-accident work

    General Damages in an accident compensation claim represents compensation for items that must be wholly or partially assessed by a judge and which cannot be calculated with any substantial degree of mathematical certainty including :-

    • pain & suffering
    • loss of lifestyle
    • loss of amenable employment

Special Damages consist of items that can be calculated accurately principal of which is usually wages loss or in cases of catastrophic injury is care.

If as a result of your accident you have had to take time off work to recover or to receive medical treatment, then the likelihood is that your work accident compensation solicitors will claim for your loss of earnings. If your injury is permanent preventing you from ever working again, then you will be compensated for future income loss which is the earnings that you would have achieved, but for your accident.

Another type of special damage is a gratuitous domestic assistance claim. If your injuries prevent you from undertaking household chores that you were able to do pre-accident, such as gardening, using a vacuum cleaner, painting and are no longer able to carry out and instead your family or friends are carrying out these tasks for you, then you will be compensated for their time.

Special Damages in an accident compensation claim represents compensation for items that can be calculated or projected with a degree of mathematical accuracy and include the following :-

  • wages lost both past & future
  • medical expenses both past & future
  • care cost both past & future
  • damage to personal property
  • general expenses

Employers Responsibiliy

An employer has a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of employees. This duty arises through common law (which is law made by judges over many years) and through occupational health and safety legislation. Health and Safety is now a very broad topic and requires advice from work accident compensation solicitors to ensure that cases that should succeed are not rejected as untenable.

Your employer must ensure that:

  • Premises in which you work are safe.

    • Not only does the physical fabric of the property need to be in a good state of repair and compliant with building regulations but also the environment within which work is carried out must also be safe which means that the interior of the property should be clean and clear of debris or waste products, that walkways and stairs are not obstructed and that floors are generally not wet or slippery.

  • Equipment used in performing your job is suitable and safe.

    • In addition to ensuring that the right equipment is provided and used for any particular task this requirement demands an ongoing inspection regime to identify risk in advance of an accident. Machinery and tools should be properly inspected and kept adequately maintained. Safety equipment should be used and any worker who refuses to use safety equipment for his own or others protection should be warned and if appropriate ultimately dismissed.

  • Co-workers are well trained and competent.

    • This is a strict requirement and is of particular importance in regards to new equipment or new members of staff. An employer has a duty of care to ensure that staff carry out their work in a safe manner, not putting other employees at risk. Employers should ensure that training is given to new, inexperienced employees and those from non-English speaking background, to ensure that they can carry out their duties safely. If an accident is the fault of a co-worker then the management or owner of the business is ultimately held responsible for any personal injury caused by that co-workers negligence.

Employers Negligence

If you are injured at work as an employee, your claim will be paid by insurers and not by your employer who will not suffer as a result of your claim and will not be able to blame you for costing them money. For a Workers Compensation claim you do not need to prove that your employer has been negligent. If you have suffered personal injury due to negligence you are also entitled to make a claim for workplace accident compensation.

Work accident compensation solicitors are not automatically entitled to make a personal injury claim just because you have had an accident. To be able to obtain compensation you must succeed in proving that the accident was the result of somebody else's fault (or in legal terms negligence).

In proving negligence, work accident solicitors must be able to answer yes to everyone of these questions:

  • Did the other party owe you a duty of care (in the legal sense)?

    • A duty of care is essentially that one should avoid acts or omissions that are likely to result in harm to another person. It is generally established for example, that an employer has a duty of care to an employee to minimise the risk of harm that may be caused by use of dangerous machinery or hazardous chemicals.
  • Did that party breach their duty of care?

    • Proving breach generally involves showing that your injury could have been avoided, had the person who owed you a duty of care taken the appropriate steps to prevent or minimise the risk of your injury occurring. The risk must be one that is real and foreseeable. Examples where a breach may be said to have occurred include :-

      • tripping and falling at work because the premises were kept untidy or were slippery and therefore unsafe.

      • an amputation, dislocation or fracture injury at work because the machinery was unsafe, lacked guards, or was not properly maintained.

      • chemical burns at work because proper protective clothing had not been provided.
  • Did you suffer damage (injuries, disabilities, loss) as a result of that breach?

    • Even if you were partly responsible for your injury at work, then you may still be able to make a work accident claim. Contributory negligence is the legal term used when the injured person was partly to blame for their injury. If a court finds, for example, that you were 30% to blame for your injury, then the value of your compensation claim will be reduced by 30%.

Health and Safety Risk Assessment

Health and safety law in Australia is highly fragmented with each state having its own legislation, the effect of which is that standards vary dependant on location. There is some law that operates on a National Standards basis including the Manual Handling Regulations but many situations are either not covered by legislation at all and depend on common law interpretation of employers’ negligence or only apply locally in a particular state or territory. There are however moves afoot to unify and codify all law relating to occupational health and safety. The Australian Government in the form of the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has announced a national review into model Health & Safety (OHS) Laws. The panel dealing with the review has been asked to report to the Workplace Relations Ministers' Council on the optimal structure and content of a model OHS Act that is capable of being adopted in all jurisdictions. If you have had an accident at work and need legal advice on injury compensation claims just call the helpline and speak with one of our work accident solicitors at no cost.

The current situation in most cases where a National Standard or Code or Guidance is not available indicates that an employer is responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of employees. Employers are expected to make risk assessments in all situations where there is the potential to put health and safety at risk and to take reasonable steps to reduce any assessed risk down to an acceptable level. If an employer fails to take these perfectly reasonable actions there will be a finding of negligence in any subsequent compensation claim resulting from injury caused to the employee due to the employers failures.

Undue Influence

You may find that after an accident you come under pressure from either your employer or their insurance company to sign paperwork however you should resist signing anything until such time as you have had the opportunity to take qualified legal advice. A work accident solicitor will be able to ensure that you do not sign away your legal rights to compensation and will ensure that you maximise your claim.

Work Accident Solicitors

Our work accident solicitors are completely independent of employers and insurers. If you have been inured at work or you are suffering from an industrial disease or illness you may be entitled to claim compensation. The compensation that you are entitled to depends on the state or territory where the injury or occupational disease occurred and the date upon which the damage was done. The rules and regulations relating to both eligibility and compensation can be complex and it is to your advantage to discuss the matter with a work injury solicitor. For advice at no cost just use the contact form or email or phone the helpline and a qualified solicitor will discuss your matter on the telephone with no charge and no further obligation.

  1. Our work accident solicitors will provide you with legal advice on your rights and entitlements to compensation with no further obligation.

  2. Our solicitors are specialists with extensive experience in negotiating, settling and litigating accident compensation claims.

  3. If you decide to instruct any of our specialists to obtain compensation for you, they will act on a no win no fee basis. Compensation is paid in full and win or lose there is no charge.

Work Injury

Common work injuries, illnesses and diseases which may lead to legal action for damages by a work accident compensation solicitor include:

  • broken bones (fractures of thumbs, toes, fingers, arms, legs)
  • amputation (loss of a limb)
  • dislocation (of shoulder, knee, elbow, hip)
  • spine Injury
  • brain Injury
  • fatality
  • loss of sight (partial or complete; temporary or permanent)
  • penetrating injures (sharp objects)
  • burns
  • electric shock
  • exposure to harmful, toxic substances or biological agents
  • poisoning
  • skin disease - occupational dermatitis, skin cancer, oil folliculitis
  • infections - hepatitis, tuberculosis, tetanus, anthrax.
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • sprains and strains
  • repetitive strain injury
  • stress, anxiety, mental illness
  • decompression illness
  • cancer
  • lung disease - occupational asthma, asbestosis, pneumoconiosis, mesothelioma, byssinossis.

Accident at Work

There are many types of accident that can give rise to a successful work injury compensation claim including?

  • explosion, collapse or bursting of a closed container
  • faulty equipment or machinery
  • collapse, falling or overturning of equipment
  • plant or equipment coming into contact with overhead power lines
  • electrical short circuit or overload causing fire or explosion
  • release of a biological agent likely to cause severe human illness
  • collapse or partial collapse of a scaffold, and many more.
  • collapse of a structure under construction in a place of work
  • using unsafe or defective equipment, machinery, vehicles
  • lifting, handling, carrying heavy objects
  • lack of proper clothing or equipment
  • careless co-workers who cause you injury
  • inadequate training and supervision
  • dangerous premises; slips, trips and falls
  • inadequate safety procedures
  • exposure to fire or explosion
  • electrocution, drowning, asphyxiation - unsafe system of work

Your employer's responsibilities also extend beyond your physical environment. They should also ensure that workloads and working hours are such that you do not become at risk of stress or stress-related illnesses. With increasing workloads, stress-related illnesses are becoming increasingly common. Stress-related illnesses include anxiety and depression.

Lack of regular breaks can also result in repetitive strain injuries. Repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are common amongst typists and other office workers. Employers should ensure that work stations do not present posture or related health risks.

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